Travels With Charley

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Traveling with a dog can be tricky. You know that your dog is a full-time job and it must be included in all of your plans. If you’re going on a long trip, your best option might be to leave your dog with someone who can take care of it and focus on it. But if you can’t stand to be away from your best friend, here are some questions to ask yourself while planning your trip, and a few suggestions aimed at making the answers something you can both live with.

Is your dog up to taking a trip? Get a checkup. Make sure your dog is healthy and its vaccinations are up to date. Take a record of your dog’s shots and registration with you.

Is your dog’s ID current? It’s particularly important for your dog to be easily identifiable when far from home. A tag with your cellphone number can also help get your dog back to you quickly if lost.

Has your dog ever been in a car? Most dogs are nervous their first time in a car. Get your dog used to the experience by going on short rides before your trip.

Is your car safe and comfortable? Make sure the car will be cool enough for your dog. The safest way for your dog to travel is in a crate. A crate is also useful for keeping your dog out of the way anywhere you’re staying. Make the crate comfy by lining the bottom with padding or, better yet, your dog’s bed.

Do you have the right supplies? Collect any medications, leashes, or favorite toys your dog may need. Bring enough food and plenty of water for the amount of time you are traveling. Bring or buy portable bowls for food and water. If your dog’s stomach is upset, the best feeding time is after you’re done traveling for the day. Bring along plenty of treats to keep it happy until dinner time.

Where will you stop? You should make frequent stops to allow your dog to exercise and use the bathroom. Make note of parks or rest stops along your route. Be warned: some rest stops allow dogs and some do not. Take those pooper-scooper bags!

Who’s with the dog? You should never leave your dog alone in the car, especially in summer when the heat can become dangerous. If you are traveling alone, do not plan any stops where you will have to leave your dog in the car. If you are traveling with someone and need to stop and leave the car, make sure someone always remains with the dog.

Where will you stay? If your trip lasts more than a day, you may need to look for a pet-friendly hotel. Look into where you will stay and review their pet policy beforehand. Additional prices and rules for your dog vary from place to place. Calling beforehand to reserve a room and asking about your pet is a good idea.

Now that you’ve come up with answers to all of these questions, you and your dog should have a smooth journey. Pick up some Carrot Oatmeal Ginger cookies for your pal (ginger is good for digestion), and you’ll be ready to hit the road. Happy travels!

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