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Traveling With Your Dog

So what's better than going on vacation? Going on vacation and taking your dog with you! In order to have the most fun when traveling with your dog, there are a few things you should take care of ahead of time.

One of the most important things to do before traveling with your dog is to make sure he is up to date on all his vaccinations. If you're traveling internationally, you may have to obtain a certificate of health from your veterinarian, but for trips that are closer to home, it's still a great idea to make sure your dog is protected from any diseases you may encounter along the way.

Decide in advance what items your dog will need for the trip. Some basic things you should have with you when traveling with your dog include food, water, a collar, his leash, some Nylabone treats, a pooper scooper, and a small first-aid kit. It's also a great idea to bring a picture of your pup, in case he gets lost.
During your trip, it's very important that your dog gets the opportunity to relieve himself whenever possible. He shouldn't be deprived of water or food. Be respectful of other people and places by cleaning up after your dog and keeping him leashed. If you're traveling in a car in the summertime, never leave your dog in the car.

By preparing yourself and your dog ahead of time, taking a vacation together can go off without a hitch. And don't forget to have fun with your dog and enjoy the time together!

Dog-Friendly Establishments

If you’ve ever considered taking your dog on vacation or even just out for a day trip near home, you are certainly aware that not all establishments welcome dogs. The following websites can help you determine which places you can take your dog to, so maybe next time you won’t have to leave your canine companion at home.

This site lists, by state, establishments that allow “ALL well-behaved, leashed dogs.” The types of establishments listed include hotels, restaurants, parks, beaches, and recreation areas.

Traveling Without Your Dog

Even if you wouldn’t think of vacationing without your dog, there may be times when you simply can’t take him with you. A responsible dog owner considers this situation before it happens and makes alternative dog-care arrangements.

At-Home Pet Sitting
Apace with an increasingly pet-friendly society, professional pet sitting services are becoming prevalent. Today, you can find bonded, insured professionals who will walk (or run!) your dog several times a day, feed him, and administer necessary medications. Some offer live-in services, giving you the bonus of house sitting while you’re away.
Your pet sitter should be someone you know or referred by someone you know. Have the prospective sitter pay a get-acquainted visit to you and your dog. Observe how she treats your dog and how the dog responds. Clearly explain your expectations, and clarify the sitter’s obligations. If she will be living in your home, outline the boundaries (e.g., no parties or visitors). If sitter and dog take to each other, you can feel good about the companionship your dog will have while you’re away and his safety in the event of a household emergency.

What to Look for in a Pet Sitter
•    Is she experienced with your breed of dog?
•    Does she have a back-up plan in the event she cannot get to your home?
•    Is she comfortable interacting with your dog?
•    Is your dog comfortable interacting with the sitter?
•    Is she bonded and insured?
•    Is her fee comparable to other pet-sitting services?

Boarding Kennels
By far the most common source of vacation pet care, a good boarding facility is a perfectly acceptable option while you’re away from your dog. Many animal hospitals offer boarding services, providing your dog with a familiar environment and staff that can handle any health problem that may arise. Some boarding kennels resemble luxurious spas, complete with private rooms and massages.

Before you leave your dog for the first time at any boarding facility, pay a visit and observe the condition of the facilities and the manners of the caregivers. Find out how much personal attention your dog can anticipate every day. Will he be interacting with other boarders? Will fresh water always be available? Will they feed the diet your dog is used to? These are all important issues that should be addressed before making reservations.

Conversely, there are issues that reputable kennels will take up with you. Is your dog up to date on all shots? Kennels usually require all boarders to be inoculated against kennel cough, a highly contagious illness that can quickly spread to epidemic proportions in a kennel. Is your dog trained and socialized? Does he have any special behavior or health needs? This exchange of vital information is an important step in finding the best care for your best friend.

Excerpted from Terra-Nova The Staffordshire Bull Terrier © T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.

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