May I Pet Your Dog? – Preventing Dog Bites



dog getting pet image
Not every dog wants to be pet at any given time. Watch for the signals that say it’s okay to pet me.


“May I pet your dog”  – This simple phrase is important not only to teach children, but to remember yourself.  All too often people approach dogs, who look so innocent, and just reach out and pet them without asking.  As a pet parent, you might have had this happen as your heart stops as a stranger reaches out before you have a chance to say “wait”. You panic that all will be okay and your dog will not nip or bite.  If only people would give a moment of respect, and ask before approaching, so many bites and nips could be prevented.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of dogs who have always been so well behaved and then one day they bite someone. Preventing dog bites is easy with these simple steps:

  • Teach children to never run up to a dog and just start hugging him or reaching out. This is a recipe for disaster in many situations. Dogs get scared of people suddenly entering his territory and can respond in less than friendly ways.
  • Always ask “May I pet your dog?”. In response someone might say “he’s pretty shy, so no, I don’t think you should today”. Be sure to respect that.  They are telling you “no” for a reason.  If a dog is alone, it’s always best to not just reach out and pet him.
  • If the pet parent says, “yes, you may pet him”, approach slowly and calmly with your arm stretch out in a fist so the dog can first sniff the back of your hand. If you see any teeth, bulging of eyes or firming up of the dog’s body, just bring your hand back and don’t proceed to pet.

Signs a dog is okay to pet include:

  • Wagging tail
  • Tail turned up, not tucked in
  • Dog approaching you and wanting to lick or lean into you

Signs a dog does not want to be pet include:

  • Bulging eyes with the whites showing
  • Snarled up snout
  • Teeth showing
  • Tail tucked in

It’s also important to remember that a dog who is in his parent’s arms being carried, or perhaps sitting in a shopping cart going around at the store, is often in “protective mode”, so it’s especially important to ask before petting in these situations.

The Yellow Dog Project – If you see a dog wearing a yellow ribbon or bandana tied to his leash, this is to let you know that particular dog likes to have his space and should not be approached. It’s a trend that some pet parents have taken on, but not everyone knows about.  It definitely does not mean if the dog does not have a yellow ribbon or bandana on, it’s safe to approach, but if does definitely mean that if you see a dog wearing one, let him have his space and if you are walking another dog, do not take your dog up to sniff him.  The pet parent is letting you know this dog likes to protect his territory.

Service dogs should not be approached while they are working.  They have a job to do and as tempting as it may be to ask if you can pet one, you should respect that they have a job to do and leave them to do it.

There are a variety of reasons a dog might not want to be pet, so don’t take it personally or think he’s a bad dog.  It’s possible the dog is older and has aches and pains, he could be feeling protective or perhaps just not feeling all that great that day, or he might just not enjoy being pet by someone, whether he knows them or not.

Socializing your dog when he is a puppy, or going through a Canine Good Citizen Course, at any age, will help your dog be more approachable. Your dog will learn how to interact with a variety of humans and other dogs, which will set him up for success.  But remember, even with the best socialization and training, observing and respecting signals is the only true way to prevent a bite.



How much exercise does my dog need?

Dog Agility Jump Photo
Agility is a great activity where you and your dog work together.

We all know that exercise is vital to keeping our bodies fit and functioning as they should.  The same goes for your dog, but you might be wondering just how much exercise does my dog need? As a minimum, dogs need 30 minutes a day of physical exercise. The intensity of exercise varies depending on health, age and breed. Dogs who were bred for working activities, such as Labrador Retrievers and Border Collies, need up to 2 hours of exercise a day.

Exercise helps your dog keep unnecessary weight off, keeps his metabolism working as it should and keeps his muscles tones and his mind engaged.  Dogs that don’t get enough physical activity often turn to destructive behaviors. There is truth is the old adage, “a tired dog is a good dog”. Keep your dog engaged and pay attention to his signals.

If you have a smaller dog or a senior dog, a casual walk through the neighborhood might be enough activity, but don’t forget to switch it up a bit and occasionally go down a different street or go to the park.  Dogs get bored, just like you, so keep it fresh, but regular.

Here are some activities, beyond just a walk in the park, that you might want to try with your dog. Check in your area to see what groups exist so you and your dog can learn one of these sports.

  • Agility – This is a wonderful way to build your relationship and communication with your dog.It keeps you talking to each other and keeps your dog’s mind and body engaged.
  • Fly Ball – For dogs that are “ball motivated”, this is a great way of getting intense exercise that is fun and builds confidence.
  • Lure Coursing – This is a very intense exercise for dogs with loads of energy that are “prey driven”.
  • Nose Work -Sometimes mellow, sometimes intense, but for dogs who have a good nose, it keeps their minds engaged and keeps their bodies moving.
  • Rally – This a great way for you and your dog to work together on obedience and keep moving at the same time.
  • Swimming – If you are lucky enough to have a canine aquatic center near you, this is an unbeatable way for your dog to stay fit without any impact on his joints.It’s great exercise for any dog and a wonderful way to rehabilitee a dog with injuries or compromised joints.
  • Freestyle Dancing – Yes, you can take up dancing with your dog! It’s a fun way to build your relationship, keep both of you moving and work on obedience at the same time.

Every dog is different so it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about how much and how intense the exercise should be, but don’t bypass this important and boding activity with your dog.

OH No, Not the Cough!!! Kennel Cough and Your Dog

Oh no, your dog is suddenly coughing and sneezing!  The infamous kennel cough or canine cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that your dog can get from a virus or bacteria.  It can cause inflammation and irritation in your dog’s throat and lungs.

Similar to how we catch a cold when we are in an environment where someone has been sneezing and coughing, your dog can catch kennel cough the same way.  He can also catch it from direct contact with something another dog was touching or mouthing at another dog in play.

While it’s extremely rare for kennel cough to be life threating, you will want to do all you can to guard against it.  Your dog is especially at risk if he frequents places where other dogs go, such as doggie daycare, boarding, training classes, or dog parks.

The vaccine your vet will give your dog as a preventative for kennel cough is Bordetella.  It’s given either through the nose or an injection. The vaccine lasts a year, but the parainfluenza part takes about 3 weeks to be effective.  You’ll want to make sure you plan accordingly if your dog is going to be visiting boarding or daycare.  Many facilities require the Bordetella vaccine every 6 months, so be sure to check with your particular facility.  The frequency of how often Bordetella is given is really based on your dog’s lifestyle.  If he goes to boarding or daycare regularly, every 6 months is recommended.

The incubation period for kennel cough is anywhere from 3-10 days after exposure.  Someone else’s dog might have the virus and not yet be showing symptoms and then that dog passes it to your dog.  That’s why vaccinating is so important.

It’s also important to understand there are many different strands of the virus which means your dog might receive a vaccine and still get sick, just like how we can have a flu shot and still get the flu.

When choosing a doggy daycare or boarding facility it’s important to understand how important the ventilation system plays into your dog’s health.  Choose a facility with a good HVAC system, which greatly enhances the circulation of the building, keeping the air moving helps with preventing kennel cough and other viral infections.

Changing cleaning products on a regular rotation basis also helps to combat the virus so the environment does not grow to accustomed to one product.  Make sure the  facility is cleaned twice a day and the yards are power washed to help insure your dog gets a fresh environment, free from anything that could harm him.

If despite taking all the preventative measures, your dog still comes down with the cough, don’t despair. It’s easily treated with antibiotics from your vet and your dog will be better and back to his social lifestyle soon. To soothe his throat, you might also want to consider essential oils used in a cold air diffuser.  Eucalyptus Radiata is very gentle and could be helpful to your dog. Be sure to keep your dog at home and away from other dogs so the virus does not spread and also advise your doggy daycare if your dog has been a recent guest.  That way they can make sure to do a deep clean of the environment to help insure the safety of other guests and stop the spread.


Gentle Leaders May Not Be So Gentle – A Better Way to Stop the Pulling

 loose leash walking image

Loose leash walking makes going for walks an enjoyable and bonding experience.

One of the first things pet parents do when they find their dog is taking them for a walk (or maybe a run is the more appropriate word as the pet parent is being pulled down the street) is to go to the store and buy head collar such as the Gentle Leader or Halti.  A head collar fits over the dog’s muzzle, very much the same idea as a horse halter. The head collar is attached to a leash underneath the muzzle.  As the dog moves forward, once he has reached the end of his leash, pressure is applied and as a result the dog stops pulling.

Some people really like the head collar as an alternative to prong collars, Martingales or choke chains, but it is potentially very harmful to your dog. Worn as suggested, the collar fits pretty snug, holding the muzzle shut and there is a lot of pressure at the top of the muzzle just under the dog’s eyes.  A Halti works much the same way as the Gentle Leader but has an extra strap that is supposed to help keep the strap from pulling into the eyes.  With either product, when a dog is running forward and reaches the end of the leash, his head is snapped to the side which discourages the pulling. Between the pressure and snapping his head to the side, the pain gets the dog to stop the behavior, but in the meantime some serious neck injury could occur.

When you see the muzzle of a dog that has been wearing a head collar for years, you can often see where the bone has become concave from the wear of pressure applied.  Also, it’s not uncommon to see dogs who wear a Gentle Leader or Halti with fur that is worn all the way off at the top of their muzzle at the pressure point.  Can you tell we are not fans of the head collar?

So what is the best way to control pulling?  Work with your dog and teach him to not pull.  With a little training your dog can learn loose leash walking and heeling.   With both, your dog should stay next to you (or at least not too far ahead),  matching the your direction and speed.  These methods are the only reliable way of stopping a dog from pulling.  With positive reinforcement, patience and regular practice, he will walk calmly beside you, not taking you for a walk, but walking together.

What’s Causing my Dog’s Diarrhea? A Look at Coccidia and Giardia in Dogs

giardia and coccidia image
Standing bodies of water can harbor giardia.

There are many different things that could cause your dog’s loose stool, from eating too many liver treats or too much dairy, to just not quite feeling right, but before if the issue goes on more than a day or two, make sure you are able to rule out Coccidia and Giardia.

Coccidia and Giardia are both single celled organisms (not worms) that live in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats.  Puppies and dogs that are ill or stressed are more susceptible to the parasites. They can cause diarrhea that can lead to possible dehydration if not treated.  Thankfully both are easy to treat but do require a visit to the veterinarian and a prescription.

How does my dog contract the parasites?

The most common way of contracting the parasites is by ingesting feces that is infected with either the mature parasite or the cysts, which are the eggs of the parasite.  The cysts can survive in a cool and humid environment, like what we get on cool spring days.  Giardia can also be contracted through drinking from water that is exposed to feces (puddles, streams) or that another dog with Giardia has been drinking from.  The parasites can also be ingested when your dog groom himself to get dirt that could be infected off his paws.

Coccidia is often passed from mother to puppy if the mother is shedding infected feces.  Young puppies don’t have immunity to fight off Coccidia, so the organisms can reproduce in great numbers.  Most puppies that get Coccidia are between 4- 12 weeks old.  If your puppy is in this age group and gets diarrhea be sure to talk to your vet. Coccidiosis is very contagious especially among young puppies, so be sure to take precautions.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom is diarrhea.  In Giardia, the stool can range from mildly soft to quite runny and watery or even bloody.  Coccidia can be asymptomatic in mature dogs but can cause very watery diarrhea with or without blood in puppies.  For dogs that are experiencing diarrhea, they can also appear weak from the dehydration.  Remember dehydration is serious issue.  Be sure to take your dog to the vet if you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s stool.

How is it diagnosed?

Your vet will need a stool sample and will conduct an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test.  The stool is examined under a microscope to see if any parasites are visible.  The diagnosis is simple and treatment takes 1-3 weeks.  During treatment, but sure to keep your dog clean, especially and his hind quarters to prevent re-infection.

How do I prevent my dog from contracting it?

Always provide clean drinking water for your dog.  Keep your yard clean and keep an eye on your dog when you are out for walks.  Don’t let him drink from any suspect water sources and make sure he’s not ingesting things he finds on the roadside.  If your dog contracts the parasite and has diarrhea inside the house, clean the soiled area with boiling water or a 10% ammonia solution.

Can I get either parasite from my dog?

It’s very rare for a human to get Giardia or Coccidia from a dog.  Humans can get Giardia, but the type the infects humans is different from the type that infects dogs and cats.  Same goes for Coccidia. The type of Coccidia your dog is most likely to get is not transferable to humans.



Does your dog show signs of separation anxiety?

Does your dog go a little too crazy when you are away?  It could be a sign of separation anxiety.  We all want our dogs to be jumping with joy whenever they see us because it makes us feel loved and important.  But if the stress of you being away is causing problems, it’s time to address what is really going on inside your dog’s head.

Dogs are pack animals and they want the pack to stay together.  If you notice your dog gets carried away whenever someone enters or leaves the pack, there’s a good chance your dog experiences separation anxiety while you are away. Dogs have very extreme emotions around the importance of the pack.  Togetherness is how they sense security and the ways things should be.

Here are of the things your dog might do if he’s experiencing separation anxiety:

  • Chewing on the furniture
  • Crying or barking excessively
  • Digging or trying to escape
  • Marking the house excessively with urine or poop
  • Pacing the floor

To help your dog adapt to the fact that you need to leave the house, the first thing you will want to do is eliminate the drama around you leaving.  No long goodbyes and a million kisses before you depart.  Try to make your coming and going nonchalant without any emotion of sadness or overjoy.  Your goal is to desensitize your departures and arrivals so your dog sees them as neutral.  Try ignoring your dog for about 15 minutes before you leave the house as well as after you get home. No high voiced “hello” when you walk through the door.  Just be neutral and calm.  Pretty soon your dog will see that your absences are nothing to get worried about.

Try offering a distraction for your dog to think about when you leave.  Treat dispensing balls are a great way to get your dog to associate your leaving with something positive.

Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise during the day.  Most dogs require at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.  If it’s too hard for you to fit that into your routine, consider taking your dog to a doggie daycare at least a few days a week.   Doggie daycare also offers your dog a way to be a part of a secondary pack, which eliminates anxiety of being alone.

Some dogs respond well to having watching DogTV, a cable TV channel available by subscription.  The channel was designed to help dogs overcome loneliness, anxiety and depression. They play calming music and show images of puppies and nature and things your dog loves.

You can also try music that was designed specifically for dogs.  iCalm Pet offers a music player for you to leave on while you are away.  You can also find plenty of albums on iTunes and Spotify. There is also an All Dog Radio available at  You could also just try playing some calming classical music or spa/meditation music.

Keeping your dog happy when you are home is also an important part of overcoming separation anxiety.  Take a class together, keep your dog’s mind engaged and keep him active.  A tired dog is a happy dog.

There are various calming herbs, collars, dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) plug-ins and medications that some dogs might need, but try behavior related solutions first.  If they don’t work, Adaptil plug-in diffusers are a good thing to try next, then the collars, then perhaps an herb or calming treat your vet recommends.  Use a medication only as a last resort.

Doggie Daycare could very well be a solution that works best for your dog.  It’s a great way to keep your dog engaged, allow him to feel part of another pack while you are gone, your house stays clean and unharmed and your dog gets his daily dose of exercise.  It’s not the only solution, but it is one that works for many.


My Furry Valentine

doggie valentine image
Do you have a Furry Valentine?

Does your Valentine have four legs, fur and cute little black nose?  For many of us, our dogs are our Valentines.  Who else loves us so unconditionally and is always there, no matter what?  While your dog needs to stay far away from the V-day chocolates, there are many other ways to show your furry Valentine you care.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Go for a special walk together and allow your dog to take his time, smelling deep and as often as he wants.  Smells are absolute delights to your dog, so don’t rush his joy.
  • Knit matching pink and red scarves.
  • Bake heart-shaped liver treats.  Pan fry some chicken or beef liver, allow it to cool then place in a food processor with a tablespoon plain yogurt and blend until smooth.  Fill a silicone heart tray up with the treats, cover and place in the freezer.  After a day, pop the heart shaped treats out and put them in a ziplock bag.  Take one out as a special treat a few times a week.  Your dog will love them!
  • Write a poem for your dog and read it to him by candlelight.

    Register your dog on one of the many lost pet registries.  All you need is your dog’s microchip number and you can tie your contact info to your pet.  If you’ve already done this, Valentine’s Day is a great time to make sure all of your contact info is up to date. In the scary case of your dog getting lost, you want to do everything you possibly can to get him back to you as quickly as possible.  Here are a few of the pet registries:

  • Find a Professional Animal Bodyworker in your area and schedule a 30-minute massage for your dog.  Their muscles get sore too!
  • If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a canine aquatic center, schedule a time for a swim.
  • Sign up for a refresher obedience class.  Taking a class together is a great way to renew the bond you share with your dog.
  • If your dog doesn’t go to doggie daycare on a regular basis, treat him to a few days!  He will love the attention and play time while you are at work or running errands. You might even find you want to incorporate it into your regular routine.

Celebrate your love shared!  Valentine’s Day isn’t just for humans.  Love comes in all shapes and sizes and nothing beats that happy dance and tail wags when the two of you are together.  Happy Valentine’s Day!






Finding a Doggie Daycare or Boarder You Can Trust

doggie daycare image
Finding a great doggie daycare is an important part of being a dog parent.

For most of us pet parents, sooner or later we need the services of a doggie daycare or boarding facility.  Even for those of us who try to include our dogs in everything we do, situations come up where are in need of having someone we trust take care of our dog.  Whether it’s for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks, it’s important to know what to look for in a facility so your dog is safe and comfortable.



For a lot of people, the cost is the bottom line.  Be sure you understand what is included in the cost.  Some places charge extra for things like belly rubs or individual attention.  When you compare total services, you might be surprised at what some places consider extras and other places consider a staple of good service.



Around the Clock Supervision

Problems occur at every hour of the day and night, not just during business hours.  It’s important that someone be on site 24/7 in case of an emergency of any kind.  Many places have someone on site only during business hours.  Too much can go wrong after 6pm to have your dog left alone waiting for someone to show up at 7am.  Find a place that has someone on site at every hour and who is trained to handle emergencies of all types.



What kind of play will your dog engage in during the day?  Will someone interact with your dog if he isn’t so interested playing with the other dogs?  What if your dog is shy and just in need of some cuddle time.  How much time will your dog have during the day to exercise? What is the staff to dog ratio?


Air Quality

Does the kennel have a good air filtration system?  When you visit the kennel, does it smell doggy?  Is there a smell of cleaning chemicals?  What about a fragrance?  Chemical smells and perfumes can be harmful to your dog.  Look for a place that has a good filtration system.  You shouldn’t smell anything when you walk in.



What type of security and fencing is in place?  You want to see at least two gates or doors between the dogs and the street. Do they use cameras to monitor the dogs and that you can log into and watch your dog?

Quality Staff

What type of people work at the facility? What is the average employee tenure?  Do they seem happy and like they are treated well?  Are they trained in dog behavior? Do they know how to respond if something goes wrong?  Is the facility licensed and bonded?


Parking Lot Observation

You might want to consider pulling into the parking lot and watching how dogs respond during drop off and pick up.  Do they seem happy and excited to arrive?


Trial Run

Before leaving your dog for a week while you go on vacation, do a trial run.  Drop your dog off for a few hours while you do some errands and see how your dog responds.  If that goes well, try leaving him for a day.  It’s a good idea to get your dog used to the environment so it’s easier for him to adapt to being there for a longer time.


Finding a daycare/kennel that you trust is worth the extra effort.  Asking for referrals is always a good place to start.  Read online reviews and pay attention to how the management responds to criticism.  Visit a few different places in person and compare how they look, smell and feel.  Talk to the staff and watch how they interact with your dog.  It can take a little work to find a good boarder, but the peace of mind of knowing your dog is safe is very much worth it. Start early and establish a relationship so when you are truly in need, you have a go-to place that you and your dog are comfortable with.

Keeping your dog safe this Halloween

Keeping your dog safe at Halloween image
Halloween Safety Tips for Your Dog

Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year.  There are so many cute costumes to dress your dog up in, fun events to attend and scary yard decorations.  But Halloween can be downright frightful for your dog.  Here are some tips to keep your dog comfortable and safe this Halloween.

Candy is for the kids with two legs, never for those with four.

Most people know chocolate can be deadly for dogs, but other candy is also very dangerous. Be aware that half-eaten candy bars can end up on your lawn on Halloween night. Keep your eyes open and do a good look over in areas where something might have been dropped.  Also, be sure to keep the candy bowl out of your dog’s reach.

Door bell ringing and knocking can be stressful for your dog and pose a risk for your dog running out when you answer the door.

Consider sitting on your front porch or at the end of your driveway to hand out candy to lessen the chaos and eliminate the risk of your dog getting out of the door when you answer it. In any case, be sure your dog is wearing an ID tag, just in case an accident happens and he gets out of the door.

Dressing your dog up this Halloween

Be sure the costume does not restrict your dog’s movement or make it hard for him to breathe.  Not all dogs enjoy playing dress, but others love it.  Know what makes your dog happy.

Jack-O-Lanterns are a great festive decoration, but use caution.

If you are using a real candle, make sure your dog cannot tip the pumpkin over or get his nose burnt while sniffing.  Dry ice inside of jack-o-lanterns can also pose a danger to dogs.

Out and about with your dog on Halloween night

Use a collar that lights up or a put a reflective vest on your dog to make sure your dog can be seen. Never take your dog out without a leash.  Even dogs who are used to being off-leash and under voice command can get spooked on Halloween night and run off or into danger.  Dogs are best left and home on Halloween night, but for those who insist on taking their dogs out, please do not go out without a leash.

Participating in Halloween festivities with your dog

Remember your dog might not enjoy being dressed up and having all of the attention.  Respect what your dog enjoys and is comfortable with.  Never put your dog in a situation that is unfair to him and causes stress that could result in him nipping or biting someone.  Use common sense and keenly observe what your dog is comfortable with.  Keeping your dog and others safe means respecting boundaries.

Dog Travel Tips and What to Bring Along on Your Next Pet Friendly Vacation

Dog Travel Tips image
My dog and I love to travel together and are always looking for ways to make it easier and have more fun!

I’m a big fan on traveling with my dog, and know first hand that a few dog travel tips can help you make it a great experience.  In my opinion, it’s all in the planning and making sure you do your research ahead of time. You will have a much more successful and fun trip if you know in advance what activities you can participate in together, and what your dog will do if there are things you want to do, but that are not pet friendly.

Doggie daycare at your Travel Destination


An important dog travel tip to remember is that most hotels do not want your dog to be left in the room alone if you are not there. This is for your dogs safety as well as the cleaning staff, not to mention to help reduce the risk of any damage to the room while you are away.

Think about alternatives to leaving your dog alone if the day doesn’t include something he can do with you. First of all, staying in the car is not an option, even if the weather is cool. There are too many things that can go wrong and it’s simply not safe and should not be considered an option.

Another dog travel tip to consider is a day or afternoon at doggie daycare.  Research the area and see what is available that you are comfortable with.  Remember that many daycare facilities require a short test visit to make sure your dog plays well with others. Plan for this visit in your trip and make sure you’ve called ahead of time to learn their policies and see if they have room for your dog.

What to Take with You


You probably have your own checklist (or at least a mental checklist) of things to include in your own suitcase.  Have one for your dog too. Bringing the right items with you on your trip can help reduce stress.

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When traveling by air, an airline approved carrier is essential.
Dog Travel Tips List:  things to pack along


  • Sturdy carrier – A good carrier is helpful even when you are going on a road trip.
  • Carrier ID – Make sure that you have an ID tag on the carrier with your dog’s name and your phone number. This dog travel tip is very helpful in the case of an emergency.  You might also want to include your vet’s name and number on the ID tag and list any medications that your dog is currently on.  In the case of an auto accident, it is also helpful to have the name and number of someone who is not traveling with you, who could care for your dog in an emergency situation.  If the tag does not have enough room, clearly mark “in case of emergency, see back of card” and write the info on the backside.
  • Current vaccine records
  • Health certificate, if it is required at your destination (these must be issued within 10 days of departure).
  • Food/water dishes – Soft sided or pop-up dishes are great for travel.
  • Food – Be sure to pack enough for the whole trip. I always enough for take two days extra.  If you feed a raw diet, think about what you want to use as an alternative. Consider dehydrated or freeze-dried dog food.
  • Treats – these can be very helpful when you are trying to encourage good behavior in a new environment.
  • Medications/Vitamins– If your dog is currently taking any medication or supplements, be sure to bring them along.
  • Chew toy or bone – Something to keep your dog busy and distracted can be very helpful.
  • Harness or Collar with ID tag – Make sure it has your cell phone number on it. You can also create a temporary ID, in addition to the permanent one, by looping some masking tape around the collar with the hotel name and phone number on it.
  • Leash + 1.  It’s always a good idea to bring an extra leash.  You never know when you might need it.
  • Favorite toy or ball – Bring a few!  Consider bringing one that already has the squeaker pulled out.  Your hotel neighbors will appreciate it.
  • Favorite blanket –  Don’t wash it before you leave home. The familiar smell will help your dog feel more secure and comfortable.
  • Bachs Rescue Remedy or homemade lavender mist  – This dog travel tip helps calm your dog in the car, the plane or the hotel room. Fill an 8 ounce mister bottle with water. Add 20-30 drops of essential lavender oil. Shake well before misting.
  • Cooling jacket and or mat – Especially helpful if you are going to the beach or any hot location where your dog is going to be exposed to the elements. Remember that even with a cooling jacket/mat, never leave your dog in a hot car. Even in the shade with the window cracked open, a car can heat up to 160 degrees in just a few minutes, potentially causing your pet heat stroke, brain damage and even death.
  • Doggie Life jacket – If your trip involves boating, be sure to pack your dog’s own life jacket.
  • Travel seatbelt – A harness attached to your car’s seatbelt is essential for doggie safety. If you are traveling by air, make sure you take one to use in the rental car. If you are taking a road trip, consider a special seat for your dog that allows him to lookout. The Lookout Car Seat is great for small dogs and works well with a VestHarness.
  • Dog Toothbrush/toothpaste – Even on vacation, your dog’s teeth should be brushed daily.
  • Housebreaking/training pads – Helpful for hotel rooms that your dog is not familiar with. Just in case…
  • Flea/Tick comb
  • Flea/Tick herbal remedy
  • Grooming Brush
  • Poop bags – you can never pack too many.  This is an important dog travel tip – when you take your dog out to potty, the chance you’ll only need one bag is slim. Have three on you at all times. You’ll be happy you did.
  • Dog First aid kit
  • Day bag to carry essential items on an outing.
  • Music to calm your dog in the car.
  • Clear and up-to-date photo of your dog  – This is a very important dog travel tip.  If your dog gets lost, you will want to have quick access to a current photo to create flyers and show people. Hopefully you won’t need this, but it’s always best to be prepared.  You might even want to go the extra step and make up flyers in advance with your cell phone number on it.  You don’t want to waste time going to the copy store in an emergency situation.
  • List of a few doggie daycare facilities and vets where you are visiting. It’s helpful to have planned in advance should the occasion arise that you need it.
  • List of pet-friendly establishments at your destination. You don’t want  to want to wait until you get to your destination to search your phone app for places you might want to visit. Know ahead of time where you want to go that are pet friendly.

It’s great that you are planning a trip with your dog!  Have fun together and get out there and explore.  The memories you create are ones you will cherish forever.