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Dog Daze of Summer: Travel Tips

The Inside Scoop on Summer Travel With Your Dog

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Hot dog! It's summer! The kids are out of school and it's time for that well-earned vacation or weekend getaway. Hopefully, you'll have the good sense to board fido, or have the canine equivalent of a nanny stay behind with your beloved pet. But, if you can't bear to be parted, here are some timely tips for traveling the Sunshine State with your pooch.

RULES OF THE ROAD

Should you restrain your pet?
Various pet harnesses that connect to your car's seatbelts or travel kennels are the safest bet for your dog. These cut down on the distraction of your pet bouncing from window to window. They also offer the security of knowing he can't jump out of the window or bolt the minute a door opens. Pooches of course prefer to meet the open road with an open window and a clear view of the countryside. If you allow this, just know you should limit the amount of time your dog spends with his head hanging out the car window – it reportedly forces too much air into his lungs and can cause eye damage.

Summer Heat Kills
Florida isn't called the Sunshine State for nothing – the heat and humidity are relentless and should not be taken lightly. NEVER leave your pet (or child) in a parked car with the windows up any time of year. In the summer NEVER leave a dog in a parked car for ANY length of time. (Even running the air conditioner is not practical – police dogs have died when the engine stalls and the officer doesn't return soon enough.) ALWAYS park in the shade. The sun can transform your car easily into an oven with temperatures reaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within a few minutes. Even when traveling, the sun beating in the windows can quickly turn backseats into heating pads – this is a particular concern with hatchbacks.

Water Please!
Always take along plenty of water. Although a dog may drink any water when really thirsty, Fido's taste buds may prefer your municipal water to the well water along the highway. Take along as much water as is practical and offer it often.

How do you spell relief? F-R-E-Q-U-E-N-T S-T-O-P-S
Remember to be sensitive to your dog's usual schedule and know that it might be turned upside down by the routine-shattering world of travel. Stopping for frequent, brief walks not only stretches your legs, but allows fido relieve himself.

> Motel Manners

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