Dr. Isabelle Vieira, behaviorist veterinarian and lecturer in behavioral medicine in national veterinary schools, provides advice to prepare your trip with your dog.
When you have decided to take your dog on a trip with you, whether in France or abroad, for a long or short period, you must have your pharmacy kit with you. You can find here the list of products to incorporate. However, this list can be completed, as Dr. Vieira points out: “If your dog is epileptic, consider having a vial of valium to apply intrarectally, if a seizure occurs. For those who know how to give injections, also take with you a bottle of injectable steroids, in case of snake or insect stings”.
When you go far – or change hemisphere – the temperature difference between your starting point and your destination can be very important; so it’s important to equip yourself so that your hairball doesn’t suffer too much. As Dr. Vieira explains, “dogs are rarely cold except for small dogs”. So that they do not shiver too much to the mountain, you can equip them with a coat and even shoes if they support them. What you must beware of is warmth. “You must have fresh water constantly on you, take sprays to water the dog’s head, shower it whenever possible and sleep on a wet bath towel stored for one hour in the fridge.” All these tips will help you avoid heat stroke.
During the trip
It’s important to prepare your dog in advance for the mode of transportation you’ll use. If you’re flying, he must have had time to get acquainted with his transport cage, a few weeks before departure. If you opt for the train, take it upstream to a train station to get familiar with the sounds of trains and have a short commute to get started. Finally, if you go by car, he must also get used to it gradually. “Do frequent poses for the needs, relax the paws and drink. Provide light meals during the trip to avoid intestinal disturbances and take his toys and comforters. Dr. Vieira also advises “keep your dog on a leash on highways because of the danger and waste often left by motorists. Prevent your pet from eating what’s left behind, he could get sick”.
In a new place
Arrive in an unknown place – a vacation rental, a campsite, etc. – can be very destabilizing for your doggie. Fortunately, you can set up a few simple steps to make the situation more comfortable. Dr. Vieira recommends “to observe the dog to see if he is comfortable and curious about novelty. We must also let it evolve freely, with a lanyard if necessary, not to frustrate it and keep control. You also have the option to give him a treat once you get there, to put it in good shape. Do not hesitate to “let him relax in a large space, such as in the forest or at the beach, before going to town. If your four-legged companion does not have the habit of rubbing shoulders with other dogs, keep him away from other dogs you may encounter. If he is sociable on the contrary, let him play with them, it will allow him to adapt to this new place more quickly.
All these tips, put end to end, will allow you to spend a good stay with your dog and will help him, if he is fearful, to relax and adapt as best as possible to a new environment. If you’d like to know more about why and how your dog’s behavior is, you’ll find your answers in Dr. Vieira‘s books.