With Summer vacation season upon us, we would like to share with you some valuable tips for you and your pet family to stay safe on the road this year.
Whether you are planning an extensive road-trip with your pooch or just an extended day trip this summer, these tips can help save you some time and stress on your vacation this year.
Keep Records On Hand
- We recommend vaccinations be up-to-date completely before traveling.
- You should discuss with your veterinarian your dog's risk factors before travel. For example if you are planning to travel in an area where ticks and tick-bourne disease is prominent, such as the East coast you may consider vaccinating your dog for Lyme Disease. If you are taking your dog to an area where he will be exposed to many other dogs you may consider vaccinating for Bordetella (or Kennel Cough) and Canine Influenza.
- Once you and your vet have determined what risks pose a threat to your four-legged family member, its time to get organized! Be sure to keep a record of your pet's current vaccinations and medical history. It's important to have these records on hand in case of an emergency visit to another vet clinic, especially if your dog has a pre-existing medical condition. The more information the emergency vet has, the better they can treat your dog.
- The importance of identification is strongly recommended while traveling. If anything should happen to your dog while traveling it's important to know who to contact. You should have your dog's current license and Rabies tag on his collar at all times.
- To further ensure your dog's safe return if lost, we recommend having your dog microchipped.
Safety While Driving
- Distractions while driving pose a risk to not only you and your dog, but to others sharing the road with you.
- It is important to have your dog properly restrained while driving. Keeping them safe with a dog seat belt harness will greatly reduce the risk of them becoming a distraction while driving.
- It is not safe to have your pet loose in the car, especially on your lap.
- If a seat belt is not an option for your canine, we suggest a properly sized crate or travel carrier to keep them in while driving.
- Another tip while driving with your dog is to keep their leash attached. You can remove the leash while the car is stopped, but while driving it's important to leave the leash on them. This would help emergency personnel catch and control your dog should an accident occur.
Keep Calm and Travel On
- If your dog experiences mild anxiety or boredom during car rides, a good idea is to bring along some of his favorite chew toys or healthy snacks.
- A Kong filled with frozen peanut butter serves as a good distraction for long car rides. Ideally you want your dog to feel relaxed enough to sleep or rest during travel. But if this is not an option, your vet can prescribe a mild sedative for some extended distances of travel.
Stop Often For Breaks
- Your dog needs travel breaks just as often as you do. In general, stopping every 3 hours for a potty break is sufficient.
- Always offer water to your dog at every stop.
- Be sure to plan ahead and pack your meals or use drive-thrus only to avoid leaving your dog in the car alone.
- When traveling in the summer with your pet it's important to never leave your dog unattended in the car. If you must use the restroom at a rest-stop on a hot day, make it quick (5 minutes or less), always leave a window cracked and park in the shade. Use common-sense practices and never leave your dog in a car on a hot day.
- First aid kit
- Extra leash/ collar
- Bottled Water and Bowls
- Food/ Treats/ Toys
- Towels/ Potty pads/ Bed
- Potty bags
- Doggy seat belt harness
- Your dog's medical/ vaccination records.
Article written by Samantha Wenger, RVT for use by Orrville Veterinary Clinic, Inc.
Edited and Published by Jeff Fink, DVM