Planning Ahead So You Can Enjoy the Dog Days of Summer Carefree

More often, dog owners want to take their furry friends on vacation, and during the dog days of summer, why shouldn’t you want to spend every second with your four-legged family member? It’s Family Fun Month, and for us, making sure your dog is ready for a safe and fun summer trip is the perfect way to celebrate.

There are lots of ways to enjoy time with your pup, but if you’re someone who craves summer travel – and you want to plan ahead to help protect the health and emotional needs of your best friend – we’ve put together a list of tips that can make travels with your fur buddy as safe and enjoyable as possible!

Taking the time to prepare properly for your vacation can make traveling with your best friend easier and more enjoyable for you both.

 Planning and enjoying your trip.

  1. Schedule a health check with your veterinarian. You’ll want to be sure your dog is in tip-top shape before taking off, and that all vaccinations are up to date. If you plan to travel by plane, make sure you take the vaccination records with you.
  2. Investigate pet-friendly hotels. Call ahead to be sure the place you plan to stay is pet-friendly before arriving. When staying in pet-friendly abodes, be courteous and clean up after your pooch on the grounds and in your room. Also, try not to get your dog overly excited by playing in the room – this could cause barking which can be a concern of other guests.
  3. Bring along your dog’s regular food, like Bil-Jac, and some bottled water or water from home. Keeping your dog on the food he is used to eating can help you skip digestive issues that can occur while traveling.
  4. Don’t forget your dog’s ID tags. Also be sure to have a recent photo of your dog, either printed or on your cell phone, in the event he gets lost.
  5. Plan ahead for emergencies. Your veterinarian may be able to refer you to a veterinarian that practices in the area to which you’re traveling. If not, try the American Animal Association Hospital locator online or call 1-800-883-6301.
  6. Make sure you take along:
    • A leash
    • Dog car seat, seat belt and/or crate/kennel
    • Water and food, as well as bowls for each
    • Treats
    • Favorite toys (only a couple are necessary)
    • Dog bed or blanket
    • Waste bags
    • Your dog’s medical records
    • Any medication your dog is taking

On the road (or in the air).

The best advice is to crate your dog or use an approved dog safety belt during a car trip. It’s safer for both him and for you, as you’ll be less distracted while driving.

Be sure to take plenty of driving breaks at rest stops or other areas where you can walk your pooch safely. If you need to stop for your own restroom break, never leave your dog in the car, particularly if it’s hot outside. The interior of your car can heat up quickly and place your dog’s health and well-being at risk.

Bring along some items that can comfort your dog on a long trip. A blanket or toy that he likes to cozy up with will help him to calm him. Feeding your dog in the car is not usually recommended, as some dogs can have motion sickness.  However, reward him for being a good boy along the way with some treats, like Bil-Jac Little Jacs or Gooberlicious.

If you’re traveling by plane, be sure you’ve checked ahead with the airline about their policies and rules on pet travel. You will probably need to crate your pet and should do so prior to arriving at the airport. Talk to your veterinarian in advance about whether or not a sedating medication is a good idea for your dog. Some dogs don’t mind air travel, but some can be very stressed by the trip.

Now that you’re all set for a fun family trip, have a dog-gone good time!

For more information to keep your four-legged family safe, healthy and happy, sign up for the Best Friends Club!

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