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A Packing List For Your Dog's Vacation

Aug 17, 2007
Is Fido acting sad rather than happy and excited, even after arriving at your vacation destination? Maybe he's really homesick!

His humans packed familiar, favorite things for their vacation fun, but did they give any thought to what their family pet wants and needs for a good time, too?

This suggested packing list for Fido is just the ticket.

1. Bedding such as towels or blankets for the car or crate that Fido has curled up on for a few days - Familiar smells are comforting.

2. Favorite food and water bowls - This will encourage a normal eating routine. Just as people often have problems with a foreign diet, the same thing can happen to your pet. This isn't the time to try the free sample from the pet store.

3. A few bottles of water from your home faucet - This makes the transition to a new taste more gradual and acceptable.

4. Toys that Fido plays with most - But, it's okay to introduce your canine companion to a new sport, like chasing a frisbee on the beach.

5. A doggie life jacket - If you're going to be around water, even in a boat, this one item could literally be a life saver.

6. A travel bed or crate mat - This may be easier to transport and may fit in your vehicle better than your dog's regular bed. Have Fido nap on this rather than his regular bed for several days before the trip, and don't forget to put a favorite blanket or towel on top that is packed in your vehicle along with the choice of travel bed.

Travel Safety Tips for Fido:

When making a stop, always put a leash or harness on Fido before you open the car door. Strange surroundings and sounds could cause him to panic and possibly run away - or worse run into traffic.

Dogs love to hang their head out of a car window. Wonder why they do this? Maybe they like the breeze blowing through their fur or just enjoy the scenery. Bottom line - this can be hazardous to your dog's health. Bugs and other road debris can cause eye damage. There are special glasses and goggles for dogs that can help prevent this, assuming Fido is willing to take on the life of a movie star. There's also the possibility that Fido will see a cute doggie or other attraction that will cause him to jump from a moving vehicle.

There are pet seats with harnesses available that not only secure your best friend, but elevate him so he can easily see out of the window. This may help diminish the urge to have his head hanging out the window and can help if Fido tends to get car sick. It's a toss up whether to have the barf inside the car or covering the outside with an undesirable new paint job. Not feeding Fido before the trip and giving him ice chips rather than water can help to calm that queasy feeling.

Dramamine can help, but be sure to check with your Vet for the proper dosage for your dog. They may recommend something that would be more effective.

No matter what the outside temperature is, never leave your pet in the car - or your kids either. Plan stops where Fido will be a welcome visitor.

Don't put Fido in the back of a pick up truck. He's subject to the elements, and it's even easier for him to make a break for it or be injured in a fall.

Many more hotels and vacation locations, such as campgrounds and rental houses, are now accepting pets. Be sure to check with them well ahead of time with regard to deposits and damage fees. Also, be sure your dog's vaccinations are up to date and be sure to take proof with you.

If traveling by air, the best airlines generally have written rules for pet travel. These guidelines are evidence that the airline has given a good deal of thought to the safe transport of animals. Small pets often can be crated and taken on board the plane with you. Larger animals must stay in the cargo area. No matter what airline carrier you use, there are important guidelines to consider.

Try to book a non-stop flight and take temperatures into consideration. During the summer, fly at night when it's often cooler. In the winter, fly during the day when it's warmer. Certain short-nosed dogs, such as pugs, cannot breathe well in airplane cargo areas, so avoid flying with these particular breeds.

Sometimes you just have to use common sense to make sure Fido arrives at his vacation spot as relaxed and ready to play as you are.

Fido will thank you for taking him on vacation with you as opposed to boarding him at a kennel. You'll feel better, too, knowing that he's in your loving care.

Plus, he'll be so excited to have all of the items on his very own packing list!
About the Author
Janet Winter is a web designer, owner of three e-commerce sites, and writer on many topics including the Internet and travel. Her e-commerce sites are: WildBirdGoodies.com , WelcomeBabyGifts.com and APamperedDog.com .
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