Dogs On The Road: Ten Tips For Traveling With Your Dog
Dogs are members of the family. Therefore, bringing them along on family vacations can turn the holidays into a perfect and unforgettable time for everyone as long as you take the following suggestions into consideration. Every year, more and more families decide to include their furry member in their Holiday season and family trips. To make the experience of  traveling with your fido more enjoyable, new pet travel accessories and pet friendly accommodations were developed to fit the needs of any pooch. If you are planning on taking your dog on your next outing, you should really consider these tips.

Health: Even if your dog visits the veterinarian regularly, a call or a medical consultation before the trip can provide you not only with information about the legal requirements of the place you are traveling to, but also about all the vaccines that could be required by boarding kennels, border authorities, transportation companies, or travel companies.  Your dog's health certificate extended by a veterinarian with the information about his health condition and current vaccines might be required for certain interstate and international travels. Sometimes, sedatives or Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) are prescribed to maintain pooches relaxed during the trip or to prevent motion sickness respectively. Also, some dogs get car sick. To minimize this problem, maintain the car well ventilated and the pooch well hydrated, limit the food intake prior to departure and give your dog only small portions of food and water before and during the trip. Some ice made of safe water could help him remain hydrated as well as busy. You can also consider buying pet travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses during the trip.
Policies & Regulations: Inform yourself about policies for traveling with pets, especially international policies for when you go abroad, as well as Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) at your destination, such as the Pit Bull ban, which has been adopted in numerous cities worldwide. Most countries ask for a certification of updated rabies vaccination. To get this information, contact your country's embassy in your destination country. Also, you should ask about transportation policies. For example, certain airlines ban or have special policies for traveling with particular breeds such as Pit Bulls and brachycephalic breeds.

Identification: Traveling could be a reason of stress and fear for your dog that could lead to unusual behavior. Therefore, you should always keep him on a leash and make sure that he is easy to identify if he were to get lost. Microchips are becoming popular as a way to track down lost pets. Microchips are devices implanted in your dog containing an identification number that matches your contact information and his records in the agency where he is registered. If he doesn't have a microchip implanted as a permanent ID, it might be useful for him to have any kind of identification with your contact information that could help get in touch with you easily. For instance, this can be an ID tag on his collar. Bringing a picture of your furry friend can also be very useful if he ever gets lost.

Pet Passport: This is a document that includes all information regarding your dog, especially health and vaccination certificates. It allows animals to travel internationally and easily between countries that are members of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). Initially created by the United Kingdom to protect themselves against rabies, several countries of the European Union added to the PETS scheme together with the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Safety: When traveling by car, safety restraints are a means of ensuring both your pet's and your own safety. There are numerous and varied types of gear that allow you to keep your pooch safe. Pet barriers used to restrict the dog's area of movement inside the car are a good way of avoiding your four-legged friend causing any kind of distractions to the driver and consequent accidents. However, this doesn't guarantee enough protection for your fido.
A pet carrier is a multi-use gear, especially for smaller breeds as it can be used in different traveling situations as well as a means of transportation for your pooch. Some airlines allow smaller dogs to travel with you in the cabin as long as the size of the kennel fits and remains stowed in the space under your seat. This counts as a personal article, i.e. a hand bag or briefcase. Larger dog breeds can travel on the same flight as you, but in the checked baggage compartment. The dog carrier wether it be hard-sided or soft-sided must allow the furry traveler to stand and move inside and must have good ventilation. Any air carrier has different policies regarding pet allowance, so contact the reservation sector of your airline to obtain more specific information. Dog carriers are also a good resource when traveling by car because they can be secured to the latter. This plays a vital role in your pooch's safety during an accident. Some carriers are cushioned for better comfort. If this is not the case, you can simply lay some pillows inside it.
Restraining harnesses are the latest gear focused on dogs' safety as well as comfort while traveling. They can be connected to the car's seatbelt, allowing them more freedom than carriers.
Pet car seats are also a way to keep your friend safe while on the road. These are booster seats that include a restraint gear, usually a harness, that allows dogs to sit down, stand up and have a better view.
It is important to notice that the safer place to put your fido is always the back seat. A seat cover and a training pad can be lifesavers in case of bathroom accidents.
If you are traveling by boat, your pooch will need a canine flotation device that fits him perfectly. There are many dog safe jacket or vests to choose from according to their size.

Packing: When packing, it is important to consider that dogs, like children, love their beds, toys and any other object that could remind them of the scents from home. A small container with the food that your dog is used to eating and his water bowl will make your pooch at home. This is particularly important for those traveling with senior dogs more prone to having dietary restrictions. A bottle of water and a training pad can help avoid emergency stops. Other things that should be inside your suitcase are: a copy of your dog's medical records, veterinarian contact number or e-mail, grooming and care products, leashes, and one coat/rain coat (sweater), even when you are traveling to a warmer weather place.

Breaks: Stop regularly to give your four-legged friend time to exercise, get tired and go to the bathroom. During trips, dogs have excessive energy from being confined to a small space. So, whatever your way of transportation may be, they need time to release their stress and boredom. If you are flying remember that some airports have a pet relief area with services for traveling pets.
Accommodations: Check for pet friendly accommodations and facilities before departure. Currently, several hotel chains offer dog friendly accommodations, but this does not mean that you will always find a place to stay, since some of them only have a limited number of pet friendly rooms. Most dog friendly hotels and rentals accept up to two pooches per room and charge a fee on a per day or per stay basis as well as a refundable deposit to cover eventual damages. There are only few hotels where bringing your fido doesn't mean incurring additional costs. When making your reservation online, always remember to check for "pets allowed" in the hotel preferences menu and read the pet policy. Even if you book a dog friendly stay, contact the hotel in advance to check that everything is as you expect it to be and ask for dog friendly facilities nearby. Unfortunately, there are never as many of these facilities as there should be and sometimes, despite staying in a pet friendly hotel, you cannot enjoy beaches, promenades, malls, or parks near your hotel in your furry friend's company.

Clothing: Always take into account the temperature both inside and outside the vehicle. Dogs are susceptible to warm weather, therefore it is important to keep them away from the sun to prevent overheating. If the temperature inside the vehicle makes your fido comfortable, but it is cold outside, remember to dress him accordingly.
No & Never: Always avoid dangerous practices. For examplenever allow your dog to stick his head out of the window. He could not only get hurt by objects or insects, but also trap himself by accidentally actioning the power window button. Never put your pet in the back of a pickup truck. Many accidents causing serious injuries result from this practice, which is banned in certain states. Do not put your dog in a crate or pet carrier where he can't move comfortably. Never leave pets alone in the car. If you want to stop to eat during your trip, you can use a non rigid pet carrier to go inside stores with him. You must always double check that you can do this, as in some places you can get fined for it. Never send as cargo brachycephalic breeds such as Pekinese, Chow Chows, Pugs, or Bulldogs because they are susceptible to heat and low ventilation areas and this could lead to them having breathing difficulties. Also, always monitor the food and objects that your dog takes or plays with. Stick to the regular diet and avoid dangerous food. Also, prevent your fido from chewing on any object that could be harmful for him.

Family vacations are not the best moment to have problems, but a time to enjoy the beautiful sites and the lovely, and furry, company.

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