Beth E. Widdows
Owned by Miss Molly Marie (Briarcliff Golly Miss Molly CGC, OAP, NJP, JE) and Glennie (Glendennin's Pride GCG, NAP, NJP)
February 23., 2000
We are a very mobile society. And often, when we travel, so do our pets. This document is intended to help you plan your travels with your Westie so that they will be safe and trouble free. Information provided is intended to educate you and to help you to think about the safety and well being of your pets as you (and they) move into new situations. There may be some advice with which you disagree. You might have choices to make. We hope this will allow you to make those choices based on facts and information.
OVERALL TRAVEL NEEDS
Nothing can be more important than proper identification. If you are separated from your dog, this may be your only hope of getting it back.
MICROCHIPPING / TATOOING
This is something that you should do whether you travel or not. So many things can happen to separate your dog from it's identification tags. Microchips and Tattoos ARE ALWAYS THERE. The cost is relatively low, especially if you watch for a microchipping fair.
Your basic dog tag should allow a finder to contact you by phone. But what if you are not at home? You might be vacationing in another state. If they call your home number, who will answer the phone?
ADD ANOTHER TAG!! You can buy, for a small price, a barrel-type tag which opens up and allows you to insert a piece of paper. On this paper, write the name and number of your final destination (or intermediate destinations if you are making long stops. It is easy to open and insert a new paper.) If this is not possible, then enter the name and number of someone(s) at home who agrees to be a contact for you. If your dog is missing, the finder can call this person. You can call that person regularly while your dog is gone. If they get a call, you will be able to go straight to the person who has the dog.
INFORMATION: Suppose your dog is injured in an accident or while lost. What kind of care will be given. On your dog tag somewhere, provide a statement such as: "In case of loss or injury, expenses will be guaranteed by one of the following contacts" Then provide at least 2 alternate telephone numbers of friends who have agreed up front to guarantee these costs, if you are unable to (due to illness or injury). If possible, put a statement such as follows on your dog's ID:
If not injured, please board @ nearest reputable kennel until arrangements can be made to get him home. In every case, his welfare is my primary concern. If injured, take to nearest reputable vet. Contact Dr. XXXX @ XXX-XXX-XXXX re: decisions on his care/treatment. My dog's welfare is my primary concern. ALL EXPENSES WILL BE COVERED.
Indicate ALL medical conditions and Medicines
NOTE: A good tag which can handle this amount of information is the PETSCOPE which is available in most pet and grocery stores. (888-777-1213) Or a metal plate which attaches to a collar with rivets can be purchased from some pet catalogues. Some allow 4 lines of 25 characters. (You can also write on the back with permanent ink) (Source: Foster and Smith 1-800-826-7206 or www.drsfostersmith.com)
The same information should be attached to any crate in which your dog may be riding.
LEAVING THE DOG ALONE IN THE CAR
This is certainly a controversial issue. Many, many people will say "NEVER leave your dog alone in the car". Others disagree. IF YOU DO leave your dog alone, please consider the following:
Even if you are not leaving the country, it is a good idea to travel with your dog's medical records, esp. proof of an up-to-date Rabies vaccination. In case of an illness this may allow for faster care. If your dog were to bite, it might allow you to avoid quarantine. Records will help if you suddenly find you must board the dog. When leaving the country or traveling by airlines, your vet must provide a very current "health certificate". Because rules can be different from state to state and even more so between countries, check with the airlines or customs before you travel. (Some states require this certificate to be as recent as 7 days!) Hawaii and some countries require the dog be quarantined upon arrival. Be sure you determine the rules before you leave! Also see a booklet from the USDA called "State-Federal Health Requirements and Regulations Governing the Interstate and International Movement of Livestock and Poultry". Your vet probably has a copy.
You will need some basic items for your dog's comfort
GENERAL CAR TRAVEL INFORMATION
DOGS SHOULD NEVER BE IN THE FRONT SEAT!!
Remember, most cars have front seat air bags. These can be lethal to small adults, children and pets. Even if your car does not have an air bag, your next car almost certainly will. If you let the dog ride in front now, you will have a big retraining job when you replace your car. PUT YOUR DOG IN THE BACK SEAT!!
DOGS SHOULD ALWAYS BE RESTRAINED.
Do you remember when seat belt laws requiring children to be "belted up" came in and all kinds of reasons were given. All of the same reasons apply to dogs; e.g., They behave much better when belted. They are less likely to be the cause of an accident. They are less likely to be injured or killed in an accident. They are less likely to become a flying missile and kill someone else in an accident. Also, in a bad accident, rescue of the humans involved has been known to be delayed due to a loose and very protective dog in the car. If the dog is restrained, the rescuers can get to the humans more quickly. And the dogs are likely to be more gently handled if the handler is not fearful of being bitten.
Never let your dog hang its head out of the window. While they love to do it, it is very unsafe. Just as you would not let your child hang their arms or head out of the window, give your dog the same protection. Not only could a close moving vehicle strike them, the force of the wind could cause particles to lodge in their eyes. If they are restrained and inside the vehicle, you can leave their window down. (If you never let them do this, they will never know to miss it!!)
Give the dog a rest/stretch break at least every 4 hours. Always keep the dog on leash.
CREATING A CAR-HAPPY DOG!
Note: If your dog is on a restricted diet and cannot have treats, use his regular dog food as the treat. Then subtract the amount given from his normal dinner. If it is canned, roll up many pea sized balls for treats. If kibble, give him one kibble at a time for treats. You may need to wait until he is hungry to get him to consider it a "treat" and take it happily.
When you get your puppy, you will want to start quite early to get him/her to like the car. This can be done quite easily with most puppies.
DOG WHO IS RESISTANT TO CAR RIDING
DOG WHO IS CARSICK
This can be caused by insecurity as well as being an actual physical ailment. If the dog is scared, the steps for the resistant dog may work. But you can also try some remedies
Also see Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine "Dog Watch" Vol. 3, #7 July 1999
AIRLINE TRAVEL INFORMATION
CABIN - At the Airport/In the Air
CARGO - Preparation
Please try to avoid flying a dog cargo. If it does become necessary, check with others to find the airline in your area with the best reputation among pet owners and breeders. Join an email list and ask there. Talk to the various airlines and find out their regulations. Dogs have been know to die in cargo so this is an important decision, not to be taken lightly. If your dog is not in good health, don't even consider it. Talk to your vet to be sure your pet can handle it.
You will be surprised by how many motels offer accommodations to people traveling with small pets. A great resource is a book called "On The Road Again with Man's Best Friend" by Dawn and Robert Habgood. They list 16,000 accommodations that welcome pets. Of course, this is a constantly changing base so you may prefer to go to a web site. You can find the same resource at www.petaccommodations.com or www.dogtravel.com. Or how about www.takeyourpet.com with 20,000 accommodations?
Be careful to ask questions. You may find that rather than just giving you a room, they may have some rooms designated as "pet rooms". These rooms may not be the best rooms in the hotel. In fact, they may designate their worst rooms for pets. You might also want to know if it is a first floor room and whether there is a direct outside entrance.
Some places require a "pet fee"; find out if it is a refundable deposit; is it a daily or one time fee?
Any information contained on this site relating to training and behavior of Westies is for informational purposes only. The WHWTCA recommends that Westies undergo obedience training. For assistance in locating an obedience training club in your area, please consult the American Kennel Club's website at www.akc.org/events/obedience/getting-started/
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