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Traveling With Pets | PetsWeekly

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Summer fun is just around the corner—and a big part of that fun is summer vacation, a chance to get out and explore the world with your two-legged and four-legged family members. Whether your summer vacation plans call for a series of staycations in your own hometown, weekend getaways to the lake or beach, or a multi-day dream vacation, safety is always a top priority. You can help make sure the memories you bring home from your travels are good ones with these easy tips for summer dog travel:

1. Buckle Up.

Just as you buckle your children in the car, dogs need to be safely restrained in the car as well. A safe dog travel study by Kurgo and AAA revealed that only 16 percent of dog lovers are restraining their dogs in the car, but it’s very easy to secure your dog with a car safety harness that utilizes your car’s seat belt system. Along with buckle systems, other safe options include crates and carriers as well as booster seats for small dogs.

2. Talk with your vet.

If you’ll be venturing beyond your home area, have a talk with your veterinarian before the trip. Does she recommend any immunizations or preventatives based on current outbreaks?

3. Keep your dog's head in the car.

Yes, summer weather can get toasty, and no one doubts that dogs love to hang their heads outside the car. However, driving with your dog’s head out the window puts his eyes in danger of injury from a flying insect or rock. Unsecured dogs also risk falling or jumping out of the moving vehicle.

4. Never leave your dog in the car

Even with cracked windows, temperatures in a closed car will soar to dangerous and even deadly levels within minutes. And if you think you can leave the engine running while you run in a store, consider what will happen if your engine stops running. Make your dog part of your plans at every stop or plan for a travel companion to care for your dog while you run into the store.

5. Get reflective

Whether you’re out for a late night dinner at a patio restaurant with your dog or enjoying a backwoods camping trip, reflective products can help keep both your dog and you safer.

6. Watch for hot pavement.

You wouldn’t walk barefoot on hot asphalt or concrete in the summer—and neither should your dog. If the pavement is too hot for your feet, it’s also too warm for your dog and he runs the risk of blistering his paw pads. Invest in dog booties if your dog will be out on pavement or hot sand during the heat of the day. If you’ll be hiking or camping, look for shady spots for your breaks. Even better, lightly wet down a special area for your dog to lie.

7. Walk early and late in the day.

To avoid that hot pavement, plan your longest walks and hikes for morning and evening hours.

8. Always have an ID on your dog.

It’s all too easy for you and your dog to become separated on an outing and a sudden firecracker or clap of thunder can make the best-trained dog bolt. Make sure your dog has a current tag with your cell number. Even better: check out the new high-tech GPS units that allow you to track your dog on your smartphone.

9. Carry fresh, cool water.

Dogs need to drink plenty of water during warm weather; on hikes and outings, that means carrying a bottle of water for both you and your dog.

10. Keep an eye out for heatstroke.

Just as in humans, heat stroke means a medical emergency. Look for heavy panting as if your dog is having a difficult time breathing. More signs of Heat Stroke in Pets include thick saliva, bright red gums (that then turn gray), unsteadiness, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you see these signs, get your dog to a cool place immediately, lower his temperature by applying cool (not icy) water, and seek immediate veterinary assistance. With some careful planning, you can take advantage of the warm weather for an excursion with your cool canine for some summer fun you’ll always remember!

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