Much like Vin Diesel in all Fast and Furious movies, your dog is always ready for that “one last ride”. However, senior dogs need more care and taking a trip with them demands a fair bit of planning. While a young dog may enjoy hours of trekking with their human pals, seniors would prefer a comfortable trip. The following are 7 things you need to do for that perfect trip with your senior dog.
Consider Carrying Along a Portable Ramp
Ramps are perfect for senior dogs as they help your pet to comfortably get in and out of the car. The ramp may also come in handy if the hotel has steep stairs. Ramps are probably optional for senior dogs with excellent mobility, but they are essential for arthritic pets.
Create a Comfortable Space
If you are traveling by car it’s important to give your dog enough space. If you are a parent to a large dog, it’s best to recline the back seat flat (if your car has that option) and create a bed for the dog. If you own a 5-seater car, ensure you have no more than three humans and one dog in a single vehicle.
Choose Driving Over Flying
If it’s a pleasure trip, then you can always pick destinations that are at driving distances. No matter where you live you can almost always find a nice pet-friendly hotel with a view within a couple of hours of driving distance. The problem with air travel is that it’s not up to you whether your dog is going to get allowed inside the cabin or not. Most airlines don’t allow large dogs inside the cabin unless they are registered as support dogs. Even if they are allowed, most elderly dogs are extremely discomforted by the change in air pressure and the constant engine noise.
Take Multiple Breaks Along the Way
Your dog may need frequent pee breaks and time to stretch those sore muscles. Plan your route carefully so that you can make multiple pit stops along the way. Taking a break every couple of hours is important when traveling with an elderly dog.
Keep Hydration in Mind
The excitement of traveling in a car can encourage your dog to pant more than usual. This means they would get dehydrated fairly quickly. To tackle the problem, you not only need to carry ample supply of water but you also have to invest in an easy-pour bowl or bottle for quick dispensing.
Go to the Vet’s Office to Get Your Dog Checked Up
Doesn’t really matter, if your dog gets routine vet checkups, take your pet to the vet a week before the trip. This will help you get the latest picture of how your dog is doing. Many dogs are genetically predisposed to develop heart problems. If yours is too, speak to the vet about tests like chest X-ray and ECG to zero in on any problem. Vets often prescribe Vetmedin for dogs with cardiac problems and if it’s in its early stages you may get a greenlight for traveling short distances with your pet. Elderly dogs are also at risk of being affected by arthritis and hip dysplasia. Vets may recommend joint support supplements and medications to keep these problems at bay.
Get Your Dog Familiarized with the Car
This only applies if your dog is not used to car rides. Take short drives with your dog so that your pet understands that this is a regular affair. This will help your dog to keep calm and settle down when on the trip. If your pet gets easily anxious then speak to the vet about calming pheromone sprays or anti-anxiety dog medications.