When people vacation, they typically like to take family and friends along. Most research suggests that you remember your vacation significantly better when you go with a mixed group (like family and friends), too. Fortunately for all of you animal lovers out there, that can include dogs.
If you’re thinking about traveling with your furry friend, that’s great! You and your four-legged companion will have a blast making memories together. While it all seems like fun and games, you need to make sure that you take the extra steps to keep your pet happy, healthy, and safe on vacation.
Work to prevent fleas and ticks
Fleas and ticks are a problem at your own home, and that doesn’t change when you leave for vacation. In fact, the risk of your pet developing fleas and ticks can actually increase depending on where you travel to. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside on vacation, make sure you avoid pests the best you can. They are typically most active at dawn and dusk, so avoid walking your dog during these hours.
If you plan to use pest repellent on yourself to keep the bugs away, don’t use it on your dog. DEET can cause seizures, vomiting, and irritation in pets. Do make sure that you’re giving your dog the proper flea and tick preventative medication. The female flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs in her lifetime, and it’s easier to prevent fleas than it is to get rid of them.
Don’t forget to keep them cool
If you’re going somewhere where it’s going to be warm, don’t forget to take the extra steps to keep your pet cool. The average person has two to four million sweat glands working as a coolant system to protect it from overheating. Dog’s don’t have such an extensive system, so they need a little more protection from the high temperatures than humans do.
For starters, don’t ever leave them in the car. Even if it’s not that hot outside, the temperature in the car can soar when the doors and windows are closed. On an 85-degree day, it can get up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes in your car. If you have to stop somewhere, make sure you can take your dog in with you. Additionally, check the pavement to see if it’s cool enough for your dog’s paws, and always have water with you so your pup can have a refreshing drink.
Watch them in the water
Speaking of keeping your dog cool, you might want to let them take a swim if you’re somewhere near the water on vacation. For example, the Alaska State Park System is the largest in the United States with more than 3.2 million acres of land and water; a large percentage of Alaska’s visitors go to enjoy the state parks, and many of them bring their furry friends. If you have a similar plan and want to let your dog go swimming on vacation, take some precautions.
First, make sure your dog has the ability to swim well. Believe it or not, not all dogs are great swimmers. Always keep your eye on them when they’re getting in and out of the water to make sure they can get around okay. Finally, remember to rinse off your dog after they get out of the water, especially if it’s a chemically-treated pool. Chlorine and other pool chemicals can hurt your dog’s skin and fur. Saltwater can also be irritating to their skin. Lakes and rivers can be dirty and have contaminants like algae that aren’t good for dogs. Especially focus on the ears during the rinse to avoid infection.
Keep them calm
Finally, your dog will probably be really excitable while you’re on vacation together. While it’s fun to take adventures with your pet, you want to make sure it’s safe fun. If your pet becomes anxious in new places, consider getting a thunder shirt. Veterinarians and dog trainers recommend thunder shirts for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, and have travel anxiety. You can get thunder shirts for a wide range of dog breeds and sizes.
The snug-fitting shirts target various pressure points to create the sensation that’s similar to swaddling a baby. Consumers spend an annual average of $1,700 on apparel and related services, and there’s nothing wrong with spending a little extra on your dog to help them enjoy vacation a little more.
Going on vacation is great, and doing with your best fur friend is even better. If you plan to take your dog on vacation with you, just make sure you take the precautions listed above to keep them happy, healthy, and safe.