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Beacon Senior News

Advice for vacationing with your dogs

Dec 22, 2021 03:25PM ● By Marti Benson
Fuzzy white dog looks out car window

A few years ago, my husband discovered he had two extra weeks of vacation time to use. As we giddily discussed all the exotic places we could explore, three aging sets of brown eyes stared up at us.

We closed the website with overseas travel deals and opened a car rental page on our browser instead. We visited our vet to update vaccinations and get necessary (and hopefully unnecessary) prescriptions. And then the five of us—me, my husband and our three old dogs—were off.

“Me and you and a dog named Boo…” I found myself humming that song a lot during our trip to the Deep South, “traveling and living off the land.” But I’ll bet Boo never vomited from being car sick, had diarrhea from a change in diet, or couldn’t get comfortable on a hot southern night in a cramped van.

Fortunately, with advanced planning, we were prepared to handle all of these incidences. Our 10-day road trip through Dixie with our buddies was fun. Well, mostly fun. 

On day four, Ernie stopped eating his kibble. So we made trips to McDonald’s and to grocery stores for deli chicken.

Unfortunately, the Gulf of Mexico didn’t inspire joyful beach romps. Photos of moments in the warm water show Chip and Ernie frozen in terror, and little Yvette (their mom) in my arms clutching my neck for dear life. And then there was the flea.

I once won a cruise for answering this question: “What’s your best travel tip?” I wrote that if you had pets, be prepared well in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to find an available kennel or trusty sitter.

Ask your vet, groomer or neighbors for recommendations. Go visit the facility they suggest to see if you think your dogs would be comfortable there. Schedule an interview with a recommended sitter to determine if they’re a good fit. Pay close attention to your instincts if something feels off.

You know your dog best, and he or she is relying on you. If you’re planning a road trip with your best friend, schedule a vet appointment. Are vaccinations current? Ask about precautions you should take for the particular area you’re visiting, including heartworm, mosquitoes, ticks and parasites.

How about the weather? Because we traveled south during the summer, I bought cooling mats for our dogs to lay on during the warm days. They were inexpensive and our dogs loved them. Do your research and find out what’s necessary to keep your dog safe and comfortable.

Now’s the time to pre-plan your travels in 2022. Do what it takes to make sure your dog (and you) have an enjoyable vacation, whether you’re together or apart. Peace of mind is the most essential thing to take on your trip.