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Consider bringing your dog along for family vacation this summer

Helen Palmer

Contributing Writer

It’s June! Individuals and families are eagerly looking forward to vacationing, either by the weekend or by the week.

But what happens to the family dog when these vacation plans are made? Most pet owners decide that Fido is too much trouble and, therefore, will have to be left with another family member or with a pet sitter or boarded.

Have you thought about taking Fido with you, especially if you are taking the car on your trip? If you have taken the time to train and socialize your pet, this may be an inexpensive and enjoyable alternative.

Now that you have decided to take Fido, what will the dog need on the trip? Here is a list that I gave the last day of my obedience classes (back in the 1990s).

If you are going out of state, it is wise to have a health certificate or at least a vaccination print-out from your veterinarian. Then, of course, you will need a collar with the dog license and an identification plate that gives your name, address and phone number and a friend’s phone number. I never put my dog’s name on the plate because if someone wants to steal the dog, calling his name would reassure my pet that the dognapper is OK. Pictures will help identify your pet in case it does get lost.

For walking the dog, bring two collars just in case your dog breaks one. I like a six-foot lead and plastic bags for cleaning up. Various sized old towels will help on rainy days to dry your dog off and protect your car.

If you are staying in a motel, a dog crate is a must and a crate rug will make it more comfortable.

Dogs have delicate digestive systems, so be sure to take as many gallons of water as is needed to get to your destination. Then dilute the home water with increasing amounts of local water. When driving home, reverse the process. Take local water and dilute it with increasing amounts of home water. This prevents the possibility of diarrhea from a sudden change in mineral content. In case of emergency, you can purchase distilled water which will not upset the dog’s system.

Take enough food to get you to your destination if you are using a commercial food. Take as much as you calculate the dog will eat during a whole trip if it is on a special food or a special diet. In emergency, a veterinarian in the town you are visiting will probably carry the special diet food. Food and water bowls are obvious, as well as a mixing spoon and a manual can-opener.

It doesn’t hurt to take a First Aid kit, part for the family and part for your pet. Heartworm medication should be taken on a long trip. Hydrogen peroxide, gauze sponges and anti-diarrhea medications are probably part of your kit. Combs and brushes will help keep the animal presentable.

Finally, remember; never leave your pet (or children) inside a parked car in the sun. In some places you can be arrested for wanton endangerment.