Nicholas overseeing Happy Hills Ranch, Cazadero, Sonoma County

Preparing your Pet for Travel

My life has been blessed with three amazing Golden Retrievers – Nicholas was my first, then Willy and now Morgan. They traveled everywhere with me and over the course of time we’ve experienced a whole array of situations from cuts on the paw pad and Lyme’s disease to a noisy hotel room that frightened Morgan. You never think something will happen to you or your pet but sometimes it does and being prepared is the best cure.

This is what AAA recommends you take when a four-legged member of your family is coming along.

  • Carrier or crate
  • Nylon or leather leash collar or harness, license tag, ID tags, and leash. All should be sturdy and should fit your pet properly.
  • Food and water dishes
  • Can opener and spoon.
  • An ample supply of food, plus a few days extra.
  • Bottled water from home
  • Cooler with ice
  • Healthy treats
  • Medications
  • Health certificate and other required documents
  • A blanket or other bedding. An old sheet of you think the pet might end up on the hotel furniture.
  • Litter supplies and poop scoops and plastic bags
  • Favorite toy
  • Carpet deodorizer
  • Chewing preventative
  • A recent photograph and a written description including name, breed, gender, height, weight, coloring and distinctive markings
  • Grooming supplies: comb/brush, nail clippers, shampoo, cloth and paper towels, cotton ball/tissue
  • First aid: gauze, bandages, and adhesive tape, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, ointment, muzzle, scissors. Tweezers.
  • Local emergency phone numbers
  • First aid guide

Beginning around 1998 I lost a lot of my hearing and since then my dogs have been designated as Assistance Dogs so it has made long distance travel easier for me but that doesn’t mean things won’t still happen. The list above may seem obvious and things you might be able to purchase at your destination but it’s so much easier having things ahead of time. For instance, when Willy cut his paw pad while swimming in Kennebunkport, Maine we had gauze, bandages and adhesive tape with us and didn’t have to ask the hotel or find a store. When he started to pick at the gauze and tape we covered it with a clean white sock so he couldn’t get to it.


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