Are you getting ready for your summer vacation? Dreaming of the ideal cross-country road trip or week at the lake in the mountains? Visiting Grandma back East? If you’re planning on taking Sparky the dog or even Mildred the cat along with you — Brave soul! We salute your dedication to the family, furred and non-furred alike! — we encourage you to consider the following issues and be prepared!
Your pet’s photo bombing your vacation pics can be a treasured heirloom, passed down with pride, or a sad reminder of the bill you had to pay at an emergency vet two states away. It’s best to take a mini-vacay trip around town (if you can drive for an hour, do so) and while you cruise around, consider how a little planning can make an okay, no-big-disasters-trip a great trip. And sometimes avert disaster altogether.
If listening to your puppy Precious drool, hurl, and dry-heave for 8 hours is your idea of family fun, then skip this and hit the open highway with a barf bag and a shower cap, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your trip. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and learn ahead of time if your dog gets motion-sick (excessive drooling is a dead giveaway that it’s on its way). Even if you aren’t sure you’re headed for Upchuck City, it’s probably a good idea to still consider having the D’Toxifier stashed somewhere handy. They may be fine on familiar roads, but in a strange land riding up a mountain road modeled after a Topsy-turvy, things can be very different.
They’re great! You don’t have to make the bed and you get to enjoy room service! When it comes to pets however, some hotels love ‘em and some hotels hate ‘em, but even those that love ‘em will still make you pay extra. And that’s just for pets 60lbs and under. Many hotels are discriminatory: “It’s all fur, he’s really only 60lbs” doesn’t seem to fly with most front desks, so know before you go. What so often appears to be a dog-friendly chain may not actually be so at the particular one you want to stay. Once you find a pet-friendly hotel, it’s not all gravy just yet. Do you really know your dog won’t woof loudly every time the bed next door hits the wall or at the inevitable inebriated high note someone always reaches in the hallway between the elevator and their room?
If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity, try staying overnight at a friend or family member’s house in their guest room. Or, if you have the appropriate hazmat gear and bedbug deterrent, you could try staying overnight at a cheap motel in town. If things seem like they aren’t working out, you can leave and be home shortly and know you are most certainly going to be one of our customers packing the R&R Essence, CS Drops, and maybe even the Herbal Calm on your trip. If your dog is fully crate-trained, staying at a hotel can be a breeze since not much changes, but at the bare minimum, a hotel stay calls for the R&R Essence and whatever your dog’s favorite entertaining toy / chew / Snuggie is.
Leashes & Collars
You keep up with the darned thing on a daily basis, but vacations are special like that. Things you wouldn’t ordinarily lose, like glasses, credit cards, and leashes / collars, go missing and potentially ruin a trip. Not to mention the fact that there’s always the rare chance that you will literally lose your pet. Regardless of if you just “temporarily misplace” one under the lid of the suitcase — when you’ve looked everywhere else, look there or under the chair in the corner of the room no one has used, they’re magical places — or if you realize with a sinking feeling you set the leash down on top of the car at that rest stop 200 miles ago, you won’t have to panic if you pack an extra. However, if your pet is still in the leash & collar please, feel free to panic until you find your pet. It’s an acceptable response, really, and clearly expressed panic has in my experience been the only thing my 9 month-old headstrong husky mix heard when making a dash for the busy road while pretending to be Houdini (obviously slipping out of a collar that hadn’t previously been a problem was the show stopper) in the middle of Sweetwater, Texas.
It was a clear demonstration that we had major work to do on the “Come Here” command while distracted and how valuable having a second collar I could snap on him until I figured out what went wrong with the first was. If you know your dog is a destructive leash eater, bring two spares (and save yourself an expensive hotel damage charge / rental car damage charge by using Obsessiveness, L-Tryptopet and Herbal Calm before and during the vacation). If you know Murphy’s Law and find yourself repeating it often, consider bringing three spares. This may seem excessive, but you know how good ol’ Murphy works — if you over prepare for the worst it usually doesn’t happen! Make sure you have at least one spare ID information as well. Whatever takes the collar generally takes the tags with it.
Food & the Traveler’s Belly
Food: Don’t forget to bring it with you, otherwise you will regret finding yourself in the position to have to change food brands on the road, or worse, expecting your dog to survive on Value Menu burgers sans the onions and condiments. Speaking of suffering the effects from the combination of weird food, schedules, and places, your digestive system takes a vacation right along with you, so the upset that naturally comes with the disrupted schedule, the strange food, and the anxiety of traveling causes normal stomach and digestive functions to just flip the heck out. Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can all be present on the same trip like their own unhappy family. Obviously, if Max normally gets so upset at the dishwasher repairman invading his personal space that he vomits or gets the runs, you will need to prepare a little more than others.
Start him on NaturFiber up to 3 weeks ahead of departure to ensure a healthy and consistent digestive system. Consider bringing it with you even if you feel Max is the most emotionally stable dog you’ve ever known. A week-long visit in a hotel, no matter how grand the lobby or how fabulous the beach, it’s no fun having to model your sleeping attire for the construction workers at the resort being built next door at 6am because you had to trot your dog out as fast as possible to the nearest patch of anything appropriate for pooping. When is the last time you picked up liquid poop with a proper poop bag? Any fun? Didn’t think so. Save yourself the trouble and use the NaturFiber. Keep that bottle of D’Toxifier handy too — it can be a secret weapon in your keep-this-trip-great arsenal when Max checks out the leftover fish bait someone carelessly dumped in the one grassy area near the back of the hotel or whatever random sea creature he found at that fabulous beach.
The Basket Case And/or Flying
Some pets just really aren’t cut out for travel by land, but travel by land they must. Or, maybe they have to fly. In both cases, it is best to be on the offensive rather than the defensive. Use the NaturFiber and the Calm & Relax in the weeks leading up to travel, if at all possible. If it is a healthy adult dog /cat, consider skipping the before-travel-time-meal as being in the belly of a plane can be incredibly frightening for some and this may reduce the stress of having to potty in an unfamiliar place or in their crate, which is distressing in its own right. Obviously, very young, weak, or extremely obese or diabetic pets run greater risk of low blood sugar, so a small meal is better for them. Additionally, use the Herbal Calm on the day before and the day of travel and the CS Drops orally the day of and at the very last possible moment that you can. If water is available during the travel (as in a car) put 2-3 drops of the CS Drops in the water whenever you change the water. If you already know that your pet is going to be terrified, add the Fear Flower Essence Remedy. It’s also a good idea to keep that D’Toxifier available for any digestive upset that might still occur.
Just about the time you pull in the driveway from your trial run, you may be starting to panic at the thought of all the things that can go wrong. Stop! It’s going to be okay; with just a few modifications and thoughtful packing, you can enjoy a vacation with all of the family. And, trust me, sitting on the beach knowing your pet is with you and not at home alone or in a kennel feeling abandoned, it’s a great feeling. You’ll be glad you put in the extra effort to make this vacation one the entire family enjoys. Safe Travels!
P.S. Bring Wipes! Lots of wipes! They’re good for so much in a pinch.