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TRAVELING WITH YOUR DOG (BY AUTOMOBILE)

By Deborah Burton

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I travel all over the country doing dog shows, and I take two of our girls with me every trip. They have been cross country and on far less extensive trips with me or my husband and I many times. All three of my dogs travel extremely well, but they have all been going "bye-bye" since the day we got them! It is one of their very favorite things to do!

Hanna, btw, threw up the first time we had in her in the car when she was 3 months old. We took her to the vet's for her next shot series, pulled into the parking lot, and Hanna started making those awful urping noises. Thank goodness she was riding in my lap, because I got her head out the car door just in time! The vet said to just keep taking her for rides, and she would get over it. Well, she never threw up again.

One word of warning, before you read any further. Do *not* leave your dog unattended in a car in the heat whether you are driving down the block or across the country. Temperature inside a vehicle can quickly reach 150o, the temperature at which a dog's brain will fry, resulting in death. If you must leave your vehicle, make sure it's for a very short time. Park in shade if you possibly can and make sure the windows are down on both sides of the vehicle (far enough down to allow plenty of cross-ventilation but not far enough down for the dog to get out of the vehicle). Carry a water dish and water with you no matter what time of year it is so that your dog has access to it at all times.

Extra care must be taken for the short-nosed breeds (Pugs, English Bulldogs, etc.). They should never be exposed to the kind of heat that occurs outside in the summer for any period of time. They get into great difficulty more quickly than other breeds.

Here are some travel tips:
1. Bring enough water with you from home to last the entire trip, if possible. Use clean gallon jugs and fill them with tap water from your house right before you leave. If you should run out during the trip, go to a store and buy gallons of distilled water (not spring water or any other kind) for your dog. You will probably have to find a large supermarket to get distilled water; mini marts generally don't carry it. Dogs can get diarrhea and have other ill effects from drinking from the local water supply (like throwing up) when you are traveling. There wouldn't be too much worse than having a sick dog on your trip.
2. If you don't have any at your house, go to a pet store and purchase a *really good* deodorizer. Spend the money and make sure you buy the kind that really does kill all odors. Fill a good sized spray bottle with it and bring it and a roll of paper towels with you on your trip. This is just in case something awful happens. If your dog does throw up or has diarrhea, you are now prepared to deal with it instantly. I had my Sasha walk into a motel room with me one time (She was 5, I think, and hadn't had an "accident" since she was potty trained at around 3-4 months of age.), and she sniffed a fresh urine spot in the carpeting and peed away! They can behave unexpectedly when they're out of their element away from home. Be prepared.
3. Take frequent breaks during the day. Stop at rest areas at least every 2-3 hours and walk the dog. This is good for you and your dog!
4. Bring plenty of food for the dog. I actually have an extra cooler that I keep dry (no ice) that I load up with dog food and other things that I don't want the dogs to get into. Dog food may be difficult to find on the road, and if you switch brands while you're gone, the dog could have some digestive problems and, you guessed it, possibly get diarrhea.
5. If you're looking for places to stay each night that allow dogs, Auto Club (AAA) publishes tour books for every part of the United States. Each hotel/motel listing they have tells if the place allows dogs or not. However, their hotel/motel base has been shrinking over the years, and in October of 1996, when I was doing a dog show just west of Baltimore, I couldn't find a reasonable motel with 30 minutes of the show site in their tour book for Maryland.

In a lot of states, an annual membership at Auto Club is only $29 for one person, but it varies from state to state. This is good coverage to have on a trip anyway, because you get a certain number of miles of free towing and roadside service if you run out of gas or have any minor mechanical problems with your vehicle.

A book has been published listing all the hotels/motels in the United States which allow dogs--Vacationing With Your Pet by Eileen Barish, $19.95 USD, ISBN: 1-884465-07-2, Pet Friendly Publications. (My thanks to Linda Shipman of Juneau, Alaska for providing me with the title and info on this book.) I would suggest going to a bookstore and see if they have it in stock or have them order it for you if they don't.

Holiday Inns all allow dogs, I think, but they are quite expensive to stay at. Most of the Knights Inns allow dogs, but they charge extra for each dog, and the dollar amount varies. They are, however, mostly an eastern chain. I believe that Motel 6's allow one small dog under 30 pounds, but I don't know if they require a deposit or charge extra for the dog. Policy on that will vary from place to place, but most hotels/motels that take dogs seem to either charge a deposit which is refundable after someone checks your room, or they charge a flat rate per dog per night.
Take a few simple precautions, do a little extra planning, and you and your dog(s) will enjoy your trip--whether you're going cross country or not too far from home.

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Deborah Burton
FUZZY FACES
130 Castle Rock Road
Unit #107
Sedona, AZ 86351
Email: fuzzy@fuzzyfaces.com

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