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Vacationing with dogs: surf and turf

When the sun begins to filter through the office windows, it is almost unavoidable for the mind to begin gracefully...

When the sun begins to filter through the office windows, it is almost unavoidable for the mind to begin gracefully floating into thoughts of a vacation. For those of us who have a four pawed family member, we must plan the journey to even accomodate his/her needs.

However, before focusing on the details, let’s step back for a moment, to revisit something that can’t be emphasized enough. Abandoning an animal is a crime, and now there is an obligation by law to rescue those who have been. Traveling with your dog is simple, requiring only a few safeguards and preparations.

First it is important to make a distinction in regards to the final goal, which implies a different deliberation. Case and point, beach or mountains, but actually the ladder is a place suitable for both summer and winter, so the doggy travel tips will also vary according to climate, cold or warm, winter or summer.

If your vacation is in winter and you find yourself facing the snow-capped mountains, it is at first necessary to specify how some dogs suffer from the cold more than others. Those larger size, thanks to their body mass, are able to endure it better, whereas if your furry friend is relatively small and maybe has short hair, he may require special attention.

In any case, with the lowering of the dogs’ temperature they burn more calories and therefore need a nutrient rich diet, which satisfies the raising of their caloric and energy requirements. The change of season, however, may cause some problems, especially with skin and the intestines. Therefore foods aimed at ensuring the well-being in these areas of the body, can be a good alternative.

In addition to food, there are some precautions to be taken, often dictated by common sense. Do not leave dogs out in the open, instead make sure that they have a safe and dry place to sleep. Ensure that their bed or kennel is, or is not in the direction of a direct air current, and know that they certainly won’t mind a blanket or an old T-shirt to curl up with. In case of extreme cold, some eco-friendly materials can be used to insulate the doghouse, protecting it from frost.

Brush him frequently to stimulate the circulation and the renewal of the undercoat, make sure it doesn’t dry out and pay attention especially to his legs, which are particularly sensitive. Do not leave dogs in the car to suffer the cold, and when walking them, if there is a lot of snow, keep them close to you, so that they don’t lose sight of your tracks, particularly the young and curious ones.

Let's change seasons. Summer and heat are often associated with the beach, so most advice is intended for this sort of vacation and high temperatures.

Just like during winter, it’s not a good idea to leave a dog in a car. Even we notice how the temperature inside a vehicle can become quite high; being locked inside it, would be like being trapped in an oven and can become very dangerous.

In this case, nutrition has no special requirements with respect to all other days in the year. While on vacation, bring along food that they normally eat at home. The important thing however is to always have on hand a bowl — plastic folding ones are easily found — and water, so that they can drink when they feel the need to soothe the effects of the heat. The only important advice is to feed them both a wet and dry diet, which will enable them to absorb a greater amount of water and food containing phytotherapeutics, to protect them and deter unwelcome pests.

Also make sure that they get a chance to rest in the shade. Dogs can get sunburned too, so the short-haired ones, especially those with a white coat and pink skin, can easily be exposed to dermatitis. As in our case, there are special sunblock creams for dogs as well.

Sand and sea may cause skin irritations. This does not mean you have to tie dogs up to your umbrella and immobilize them, but it is however a good idea to wash/rinse them once back home and take special care of their paw pads.

Never forget the necessary vaccinations, those recommended, in addition to the mandatory ones. Use an anti-parasite medication suitable for your dog so that he is protected from insects, whose bites can lead to inflammatory reactions and diseases such as leishmaniasis.

Before you depart on your vacation, also do a bit of research on the beaches which allow dogs, where their lodging is appreciated.

Also within the preparations: inform yourself about the laws and regulations in effect in the place you will be visiting, and the means of transportation you choose, such as an airplane. Carefully prepare their luggage and remember their documents, from medical records to the possible need of a passport.

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