Karen B. London
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Road Trips with Dogs
Was a good time had by all?

Typical advice for happy travels by car with dogs includes some basics such as having your dog up to date on vaccinations and in good health. It also makes sense to have your dog microchipped and to check on any parasites or diseases that may be common at your destination and take the proper preventive measures. For travel safety, it’s wise to have your dog restrained in the car, perhaps riding in a crate in the back of the car.

These simple suggestions belie the true nature of traveling by car with dogs. It’s a lot more exciting with many more unexpected events. In simple terms, taking your dog on a road trip is one of those experiences that never looks quite like it did in the brochure. Everything from fitting the crate into the car to walking your dog at rest stops to cleaning up 20 pounds of kibble from the back seat can lead to tears, laughter, or even tears of laughter.

What experiences—good or bad—have you have on the road with your dog?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Amy | July 26 2011 |

I was bringing my dog home from the beach after a long day of swimming, when a stream of liquid came rushing under my seat from the back of the car. My dog was peeing! I was on the interstate in heavy traffic, there was nothing I could do. In his defense, this is not normal behavior for my dog; he just couldn't hold his bladder any longer. I simply had to laugh at our predicament and clean up the mess when we got home.

Submitted by Dan Hagen | July 27 2011 |

We have an older motor home which we load up with our four dogs and go. The dogs somehow seem to treat the motor home as their "den," and have a great time. The only issue indirectly relates to the dogs: all four are Pit Bull mixes. As a result, we are automatically banned from every single private campground. No exceptions. Even one Pit Bull is enough to do this these days of apparent PB paranoia.

The ever-changing list of dangerous dogs has included Rottweilers, Akitas, Dobermans and German Shepherds. The fact that public perception changes so rapidly on which is the most dangerous breed is testament to the inaccuracy. I wish everyone would be forced to read The Pit Bull Placebo to better understand how the media plays a large role shaping and perpetuating this incorrect perception. For now, we have no options but to stay on state campgrounds, the last bastion for us "dangerous dog" owners. sigh.

Submitted by Jen Brighton | July 28 2011 |

I can empathize Dan. We have two pit-mixes, one of which is a Delta Society therapy dog. They are very good canine citizens and it frustrates me how many areas ban them. Sure doesn't seem like the good old USA when you have to worry about your dogs being seized and impounded just because you love and want them to travel with you.

I own the Pit Bull Placebo. What a great book. It should be mandatory reading for ignorant people! Happy travels.

Submitted by Ales Q | August 16 2011 |

Riding in a car with your favorite pets is something that most of us enjoyed to do. Animals are an element of our families. This means keeping them protected should be just as essential. Some pet owners, however, do not concentrate on security. There are some fundamental things that every dog owner should bear in mind, be it a five-minute or five-week car trip. Here is the proof: Keeping your dog safe in a vehicle.

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