Pet Travel: The Doggie Bag

posted: 05/15/12
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Credit: Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images

Traveling with your best four-legged friend can be a bust or a blast, depending on how you pack your doggie bag. As you fill your suitcase with human must-haves, don't forget to throw in some basic canine essentials.

Certain things are must-haves for a doggie bag, such as flea/tick prevention treatments and whatever other medications your pet might be taking. Depending on your dog's demeanor and his past experiences with planes, trains and automobiles, you may want to ask your veterinarian for sedating and/or anti-nausea medications.

Sleeping arrangements are also an important part of a road trip with your dog. Does he sleep wherever you sleep? If so, you need only bring yourself. But if he needs a special bed or bedding, make space for these items in the doggie bag.

For dogs, the most important part of the daily routine is feeding time. Be sure to bring a zip-lock bag filled with as much of his favorite food as you can carry. However, if you know his food will be available at your destination, just bring a couple of meal-sized portions in smaller bags for quick bites on the go. And rather than bring your pet's food and water bowls from home, try collapsible bowls, which are typically light, leak-proof and long-lasting.

Water is heavy and can take up a lot of space in your doggie bag, so you can usually skip the jug and pick up water anywhere. However, if your hound has a delicate digestive system, you might want to bring some water from home. Minerals and microorganisms in tap water vary from place to place, and some dogs may need to adjust to those changes gradually.

Still have space in your doggie bag? Consider bringing a canine first-aid kit, especially if you are planning to spend time in the woods. If space permits, pack something from home such as a blanket or one of your old sweatshirts. The scent will be comforting to him.

In addition to all the things you pack for your dog, remember that he needs updated I.D. tags for traveling. These should have information on how to reach you while you are on your trip. You should also bring a photo of your dog in case he gets lost as well as his updated health certificates.

Most importantly, do not -- under any circumstances -- forget to put clean-up bags and/or poop scoopers in your doggie bag. Nothing says "pet travel rookie" more than being caught next to a pile of poop with nothing to clean it up. Finally, bring a tennis ball for tossing at rest stops and perhaps a favorite toy. These things make all the difference when traveling with your best four-legged friend. After all, the journey is often more memorable than the destination.

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