Canine Corner: Ensure a safe journey with your dog this holiday season

Whether traveling by car, truck, plane or train, more and more pet owners are taking their dogs along, too. Holidays are a great time for traveling to share the season with family and friends and bringing your dog can only add to the fun. By following a few safety precautions, you can be sure your whole family enjoys a safe and pleasant journey.

General travel tips:

• No matter what mode of travel you choose, the best practice you can do to keep your dog safe during the journey is to keep him restrained.

• Affix current identification to your dog. Even better, have him microchipped; this provides a permanent form of I.D. and helps to ensure your dog is returned to you if he gets lost during the trip.

• Carry a recent photograph of your dog to make it easier for others to help you look for him if he gets lost.

• If your dog is prone to travel-related anxiety or motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about what medications they might recommend. Be sure to tell your vet about the particular mode of travel you will take.

• Feed your dog his usual meal one to two hours before travel. If he tends to experience motion sickness, feed him two to four hours before travel.

• Do not give your dog food or water during travel as it may spill, forcing him to lie in a mess during the trip. Dogs can go 8 to 12 hours without food or water.

Cars and trucks:

• No matter how long or short the journey, your dog should be restrained. An unrestrained dog is dangerous—he can become a flying projectile that can injure you, your passengers or the dog himself.

• Secure your dog in the back seat in a pet travel safety harness or car seat, or in a pet carrier fastened to a seatbelt. Dogs riding in the front seat can be seriously hurt if the airbags deploy. If you drive an SUV or wagon, install a pet barrier to keep the dog in the back area of the vehicle. Secure him in his harness and attach it to the hooks in the floor.

• Do not allow your dog to ride with his head out the window. Road debris and other flying objects can injure his eyes.

• When stopping for a break and before you open the car door, attach a leash to your dog's collar so he can't escape; even the most obedient pet can become disoriented when traveling. Always use a leash to walk your dog.

• On a long car ride, stop every four hours or so to allow your dog to relieve himself (be sure to clean up after him), stretch his legs and refresh himself with a small drink of water.• Before setting out on your journey and after arriving at your destination, give your dog plenty of exercise. This will help him be more relaxed and able to acclimate to his new surroundings.• Be wary of temperature extremes. Your car is like an oven under the blazing sun and a freezer in the bitter cold.

Airline or train travel:• Whether he will go in the cabin with you or in the cargo hold, your dog will need to travel in an airline- or train-approved carrier.Check the travel line website for requirements.• If your pet will travel as cargo, check for restrictions on any health/immunization and other requirements.• Use direct flights to avoid mix-ups during transfers or the possibility of delays in getting your pet off the plane.

A happy, well-socialized dog that knows you will always be there to keep him safe and secure will enjoy traveling to new places with you.

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Colin Glass is a master trainer covering Collier County for Bark Busters, the world's largest dog training company. To fetch a trainer in your area, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit www.BarkBusters.com, where you can complete a Dog Behavioral Quiz to rate your dogs' behavior.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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