Summer Vacation With Your Arthritic Dog

Taking a late summer vacation with your arthritic dog can be much more fun than going during the peak of summer when it seems as if everyone is traveling to wherever you’re headed. It still requires some advance preparation to ensure your trip will be a pleasant one for both you and your dog, especially if your dog suffers from mobility problems like hip dysplasia or arthritis.

Here are the most important things you need to do before heading off for that fun summer trip:

Pack a first aid kit. You can buy a doggie first aid kit at your local pet store or pharmacy, or if you have the time you can put together your own. You’ll need to include a pair of tweezers to remove ticks, a pair of scissors, adhesive tape, eyewash or drops, gauze bandage, and antiseptic lotion or cream.
Pack a copy of your dog’s vaccination records. In case there’s an emergency while you’re on the road you’ll have the important information a new vet would need.

Be sure to take your dog’s collar and leash for the times when he’ll be out of your vehicle. Whenever you take him out of the car for potty breaks he’ll need to have his collar on and be on a leash. If your dog does suffer from arthritis or hip dysplasia and needs help in supporting himself sometimes, try the Easy Lift harness to assist him in getting around more easily. This harness is the perfect companion for your best friend in his time of need. With Easy Lift you can easily give your dog a helping hand while walking or climbing.

Being in a strange environment with new, unique smells, will make it difficult for your dog to resist checking out everything. He could easily run off and be hit by a car or get lost if not on a leash. And be sure your phone number is on his current dog tag attached to his collar or harness. Since most people travel with cell phones, this is the perfect number to have engraved on your dog’s tag.

Be sure to bring along your dog’s favorite foods to prevent him from getting an upset stomach from eating foods he’s not used to. If your dog is used to eating only the meals you prepare for him at home, then fix enough meals to last him through your trip and pack them along with your own food. Also, if your dog is only used to drinking water from home, it would be a good idea to take along as much of his drinking water as you can and use bottled water whenever possible.

If you need to protect the seats in your car, cover them with blankets, towels, or old sheets. You can use the sheets to cover furniture if your dog is used to sleeping or lying on your bed or couch. The towels can also be used to clean your dog’s paws after he’s run around in the mud or dirt. And don’t forget his toys. You can help ease any discomfort of traveling by bringing as many toys from home as you can fit in your car. The familiar smells of a favorite blanket and a supply of chew toys will help calm even the most sensitive dog.

If you know you’re going to be staying in a hotel, be sure to call the hotel before leaving home to confirm that it’s okay to bring your dog along. Not doing so can have unpleasant results. This happened to me once on an overnight trip to a small town in northern California and it was a real bummer arriving at my hotel and finding out they had a new “No Pets Allowed” policy. The worst part about it was trying to find another pet-friendly hotel at 9 o’clock at night. Luckily my dog is such a sweet, loving and gentle animal, the clerk at a major chain hotel took pity on us and offered us a corner room on the first floor.
When making your hotel reservations, choose appropriate accommodations if your pet has behavior issues. Ask for a ground-floor room, preferably at a corner if unfamiliar noises easily disturb your pet. Remember, the goal is for you, your pet, and all the other guests to enjoy their stay.

The biggest concern non-dog owners have about pet friendly accommodations is the belief they will be disturbed by a barking dog during their stay. If the hotel’s rules permit you to leave your pet unattended in the room be sure you place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, notify the front desk and leave your cell phone number with them in case there is an emergency. It’s also a good idea to turn on the television or radio to cover any outside noises that might disturb your pet. If your pet is prone to barking or has separation issues, do not leave him alone in the room, even if the rules permit it. Search the yellow pages or ask the front desk to recommend a local pet sitter.

If you allow your pet on your furniture at home he will likely want to be on the furniture in your hotel room. Bring a couple of old sheets that you can use to cover any furniture your pet will be using. Additionally, the housekeeping staff will be especially grateful if you take a minute to clean up any pet messes in the room before you depart.

Always take responsibility your pet’s doo-doo. Be sure you always pick up after your pet and dispose of the waste appropriately.
Taking these few simple steps is part of being a responsible pet owner.

What good or bad experiences have you had traveling with your dog? Have you ever gotten irritated with irresponsible dog owners who allow their pets to run rampant? Have you had any unusual or heartwarming experiences on vacation with your arthritic dog?