Dog's Life: Travel
On-the-road advice for a safe Memorial Day weekend.
May 22 2014
Memorial Day means warm weather, a weekend getaway and, of course, plenty of driving. If you plan on making the weekend trek with your dog, here are a few important tips to ensure everyone has a safe and happy vacation:
Keep your dog secure. You wouldn’t let a person ride unrestrained in your car, and you shouldn’t let your dog, either. Dogs should ride in the backseat, away from the dashboard and safe from airbags, and there are a few options for keeping them secure: Use a full-body safety harness that attaches to your car’s seatbelt to keep your dog buckled into the backseat. (Do not use a restraint that attaches only to your dog’s collar.) Keep your dog in a well-ventilated crate or carrier—one that’s large enough for your dog to stand up, sit and lie down in. Or use a secured barrier to keep your dog safe in the cargo area—provided that cargo area isn’t an enclosed trunk. Also, if your dog has to ride in the bed of your truck, a crate securely fastened to the bed is your safest option.
Keep heads and ears inside the vehicle. Your pup may love the sensation of wind whipping through her ears. What she won’t love is a piece of gravel hitting her face at 40 mph. Those little bits of road debris can turn into dangerous projectiles at high speeds. Make sure your dog can’t poke her head out the window, and keep those rear windows locked so she can’t lower them by accident.
Bring her ID. Make sure that your dog wears her collar and tags at all times. In addition to a tag with your home contact information, make her a travel tag with your cell phone number, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information, and keep a recent photo of your dog on hand. Also, if you are planning to have your dog microchipped, now would be a good time to do it.
Pack a first aid kit. Cuts and scrapes can happen as easily on vacation as they can in the home. Pack a first aid kit—some companies sell pre-made kits, or you can make your own based on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s checklist—and be sure to keep it somewhere readily accessible (not at the bottom of your suitcase!). Also include any medications that your dog might need on the road, and remember that human medications like ibuprofen can be toxic to dogs. Don’t give your dog any medication without first consulting a veterinarian.
Don’t leave your dog in the car. Never, ever leave your dog unattended in the car. Even with the windows cracked, a car can quickly turn into a furnace on warm days or an icebox on cool days.
Remember to hydrate. Keep water with you on those long car trips (as well as on any hikes or long walks) and make sure your dog takes regular drink breaks. Unfamiliar water may upset your pup’s stomach; bring water from home—or fill up on filtered water at a restaurant—to help prevent tummy troubles.
Bring her vet records. Hotel and campground managers—and even the authorities—may want to see proof of your pup’s vaccinations. Plus, if your dog is injured or falls ill far from home, it will be easier on you and an unfamiliar veterinarian if you have all her records on hand.
Stay leashed. When she’s not in the car, the leash goes on. Remember, your dog is in a strange place with lots of scary and exciting sounds and smells. Even the most well behaved dog can run off and become lost. Staying leashed is a small precaution that ensures you and your dog will be able to enjoy your vacation together.
May 9 2014
Perfect for the summertime, we have oodles of good reading in store for you. From first-time book author Matthew Gilbert, a charming look at his Boston dog park scene and a good reminder that snap judgments can snap back in a positive way, and that letting go of assumptions can lead the way to a new attitude. Gail Caldwell is back with another memorable memoir, this time including a jumpstart to her life with a new pup. David Koff supplies a classic “how I found my dog” story, and Joshunda Sanders offers insights on how becoming a dog person helped her revise her own perceptions about the black community’s relationship with dogs. Jill Smolowe shows us that having a daily routine to look forward to is valuable to those on both ends of the leash. Finally, be sure to check out our editors’ top-pick summertime reading roundup. Also on deck: Veterinarian Ilana Strubel has tips on how to get—or keep—the pounds off your pup, and we have an excerpt from an excellent new book by Linda Case, who explains what to look for (and ask for) when reading pet food labels. Then, imagine paddling a canoe down the Mississippi with a canine co-pilot and find out how Lucas Will and Tischer fared on their more than 2,000-mile adventure. For more outdoor inspiration, Suzanne Roberts recounts a backpacking expedition with her husband and their dog, Ely, along a challenging section of the Pacific Crest Trail. On the “news you can use” front, Sheila Pell investigates the proliferation of ticks (climate change strikes again!) and what we can do to ward them off us and our dogs. We also check out stem cell and hyperbaric oxygen therapies and backyard barbecue do’s and don’ts, and serve up an easy recipe for delicious and nutritious whole-grain peanut butter dog cookies. Mardi Richmond reports on what happened when a top guide dog–training organization transitioned to clickers, and Donna Jackel looks at worthy, locally based humane groups that are making remarkable impacts on their communities. We have important safety tips about summertime activities, and many reader-supplied ideas on where to find the best off-the-beaten-track adventures this season.
So, settle yourself and your dog in a cool, shady spot and dig into the summer issue. We think you’ll find lots to ponder and put to use.Features Tick Talk Is climate change behind the rise in the numbers of ticks and the diseases they bring? By Sheila Pell Dog Paddling the Mighty Mississippi Down the river with a dog. By Lucas Will Backcountry Trek A dog with a job makes a perfect hiking partner. By Suzanne Roberts Label Smarts Ways to improve your dog-food-selection skills. By Linda Case On View In the Company of Cats and Dogs. By Cameron Woo Tula The challenges and rewards of a new pup. By Gail Caldwell Cell Phone Lady Dog parks are full of pleasant interludes. By Matthew Gilbert Walking Misty Daily routines provide welcome relief at both ends of the leash. By Jill Smolowe Finding Carson A stray meets her match. By David Koff Color-blind Love Opening our eyes to stereotypes and dispelling racial myths. By Joshunda Sanders DogPatch Guest Editorial: Go Walk Shelter Dogs Bark’s Summer Tips Travel—ideas from our readers. Dogfroyo; Instant harness; Tails to Trails Last Chance IPA; Keeping it clean; Beware Compost SMILING DOGS: Simply irresistible Healing oxygen by Susan Tasaki Recipe: Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies Grooming: Summer Shedding Secrets Pop Art: Vintage Labels It’s A Dog’s Life THEATRE: Of Mice and Men + dog by Amy Kantor, DVM HEALTH: Pounds be Gone Help your pup shed excess weight. By Ilana Strubel, DVM HEALTH: Self Healing Stem Cells. By Megan Cassels-Conway, DVM SECOND OPINION: The Barbecue Blues Tips. By Nick Trout, DVM BEHAVIOR: Lessons learned from aggression cases. By Karen B. London, PhD WORKING DOGS: Clicker training conversion. By Mardi Richmond WELFARE: Grassroots Animal Welfare: Helping dogs, one community at a time. By Donna Jackel REVIEWS: Off the Leash by Matthew Gilbert; New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell; A Dog’s History of the World by Laura Hobgood-Oster; From Birdbrained to Brilliant by Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell; Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn; The Mountaintop School for Dogs by Ellen Cooney; Citizen Canine by David Grimm; Puppy Savvy by Barbara Shumannfang ENDPIECE: Murphy: A most unusual adoption arrangement. By Lisa Leshaw
News: Guest Posts
Volunteer photographer shares dogs in need of a forever home
May 8 2014
These are some totally wonderful, eminently adoptable dogs available now at the Coshocton county shelter in Coshocton, Ohio. Phil Samuell, a retiree extraordinaire who generously volunteers his talents to take these great photos, tells us that they only have a 3-day “hold” period there, so gotta act quickly. It’s too heartbreaking to think of what might happen to these lovely dogs!
The Little Miracles of Social Media
April 18 2014
At its best, social media can spark connections one only dreams about. Such was the case involving a series of photographs we posted recently on Facebook. Last week we blogged a new series of photos by Bark contributor Grace Chon, showing her 10-month-old son Jasper and 7-year-old dog Zoey in matching apparel. The photos are adorable and our followers agreed, “liking” and sharing the pix with tens, then hundreds of thousands of people. Zoey and Jasper had gone viral—appearing on HuffingtonPost, Mashable, BuzzFeed and Good Morning America to name but a few. As the images brought smiles to viewers around the world, one woman far away in China thought Zoey looked familiar. It was a woman named Joy who had fostered little Zoey in the first months of the pup’s life in Taiwan. She had been waiting 7 years to hear news of the little puppy she nursed back to health before sending her halfway around the world to a new home in California. All she knew was that a Korean girl in Los Angeles had adopted her. Following her intuition, Joy reached out to Grace, and piecing the puzzle together, they concluded that Zoey was indeed the little pup she had fostered. The two women shared photos of Zoey— of her early life in Taiwan, including her first night with Joy—and Grace’s photos of life in Southern California. Each had wondered about the portions of Zoey’s life they had missed, and are grateful for this serendipitous reunion. Deep down inside, they both knew that this little black dog was loved and well cared for—in both Taiwan and in Los Angeles. Now they have the stories and pictures to prove it. Read more about their reunion.
Dog's Life: Travel
Bark Readers’ Travel Tips 2014
April 15 2014
Our call went out … and you’ve responded! Each year, The Bark asks our readers to share their travel expertise—naming their favorite destinations, canine-friendly accommodations and tips for sharing the road, trail or skies with their dogs. And who better to guide us in our summer adventures than Bark readers? Our trusted readers are road-tested and trail-proven, and once again have offered up a trove of off-beaten-paths, can’t miss favorites and invaluable tips to make your next trip one to remember.
We kick things off with a few suggestions from The Bark staff …
As tempting as it is to order that gourmet dog meal from room service—New Zealand venison, garden vegetables over quinoa—may prove a tad exotic for your dog’s stomach. Stick to your regular feeding plan … the last thing you want at a four-paw hotel is an upset stomach.
Be sure to check with the hotel, campsite, even a city on the restrictions imposed on dog size or breed. Many hotels refuse dogs over a certain weight, limiting their “dog-friendly” policy to very small dogs. Other accommodations, including some campgrounds, ban selected breeds—Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Pit Bulls (and their mixes) are the most common targets. Do your homework!
We check local dog activities on meetup.com and other social media groups to find play groups or hikes when we arrive at a new destination. If we’re staying in an area for a few days, it gives us an opportunity to meet local dog lovers and see sights we’d probably miss otherwise.
Summer is our big hiking and camping time, unfortunately it’s tick season too. There’s a good selection of repellents available, but if you find a tick on your dog (or yourself), know that a tick has to be embedded for 24 to 48 hours to spread infection—still, the sooner removed, the better!
And now from The Bark readers …
Our favorite hang out is the sand dunes on Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay! The dunes also stretch for many miles, from North Bend to Florence, about 45 miles, so choose your 'off-beaten' path and head out. We LOVE it here!
Bigfork, Montana has it all—rivers, lakes, miles of hiking trails, plus a great Western village setting. Spectacular views too. Plus in Idaho, the gorgeous Lake Pend Oreille near Coeur d’Alene, lots of good day hikes nearby too.
Getting out of the heat of the Arizona Desert by camping all summer long in our vintage Airstream trailer. But, especially on the coast of Baja, Mexico, where the waves lap softly and the water is cool but not frigid.
The Adirondacks’ Saranac Lake, New York. We made a 4½ hour drive just so our dog could swim in the lake. It was a very safe place for all of us to swim together. When we wanted to swim as a family, we went there.
Hunt Country Vineyards on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes (New York) does a day in June where you can bring your dog and hike around their vineyards. Afterwards there is a wine tasting.
We found the panhandle of Florida, Cape San Blas, Port Saint Joe, to be extremely dog friendly and great beaches to walk, and run on. Local restaurants were also very accommodating too.
Bandit, travels with me everywhere, but one of the most interesting places I've taken him is Fantastic Caverns, Missouri. It was actually discovered by a farmer’s dog who had crawled through its hidden entrance and now its caves have jeep-drawn tram tours. It’s very pet friendly—with a special fondness for dogs because of the significance a dog played in the discovery.
On the edge of Alaska’s The Gates of the Arctic National Park … The huge blue sky watched over us while the surrounding mountains wrapped us in their loose embrace and Cedar got to roll joyfully in fox urine, carry around a mummified squirrel and sniff wolf scat! We were all ecstatic!
The French Trail loop at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. Gorgeous, peaceful, a great off-leash hike and a wonderful, little-known side of Oakland, CA. One of our favorites!
Buena Vista Colorado: the countless hikes in the Colligate Peaks, lovely small mountain town, perfect summer weather. All make for beautiful vacations with my dogs .
Every year my family, including our two dogs, enjoys going to Brevard, North Carolina and hiking in Pisgah National Forest with hundreds of miles of trails and waterfalls too. A stay in a private cabin at DogWoods Retreat is a must, close to dog-friendly Asheville.
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