Ok, we're in the times of COVID. But I'm still hearing about a lot of pet parents that are traveling during the holiday season. So while I encourage you guys to be safe amidst COVID, I still want to make sure I help those pet parents that are traveling with senior dogs!
Traveling with our oldest, most steadfast companion can be tricky and so here are a few tricks to help make the car ride and visit with relatives easier on our senior dogs.
1- Plan for lots of stops and breaks: senior dogs often need frequent potty breaks, so being cognizant of when your pet potty’s at home and then planning appropriately can be very helpful when planning potty breaks. Remember when you let your dog out of the car, to always have them on leash no matter how well behaved they are!
2- Get Your Senior Dog Meds filled now, and then some! Many senior dogs are on various medications and so make sure you have them packed up (safely) with some extras in case of emergency extended stays! For those dogs that get car sick or may have anxiety in the car, call your vet to see if they can prescribe anything to help your pet travel with ease!
3- Have a comfy bed in the car! In addition to letting them out to stretch their legs, make sure you have a nice soft comfy bed with adequate padding for the car ride. We often layer machine washable pee pads over the beds with an added layer of soft comfy blankets on top of our dog beds to make for easy clean ups should ‘accidents’ happen! My all time favorite orthopedic bed is here (it's pricey, but it lasts forever and there is no other bed our dogs seek out more!).
4- Nervous dog tips: in addition to asking your vet if they have any calming meds (call well in advance of your trip!), consider getting a thundershirt for your dog, Adaptil calming pheromone spray and a soft blanket!
6- Set your senior up for success in their new environment: look, everyone is excited during the holidays but help your senior dogs out by having some rules for kids under a certain age that will interact with them. If young children are loud or rambunctious, find a cozy spot to put your senior dog away from it. In addition, have a time out area planned for senior dogs where they can easily retreat. Pay attention to their stress level in social situations as it is your job to make sure your senior dog is not easily getting stressed in the new environment! Remember, 77% of bites to children occur from a dog they know!
7- Avoid new treats and human food for them all together. The last thing we need to do for our senior dogs is give them extra human food and cause an upset stomach or pancreatitis. Keep some safe doggy treats nearby to spoil them with. We do not recommend introducing anything new to them no matter which sweet relative got them it during the holidays. Veterinarians commonly see dogs for vomiting, diarrhea and upset tummy during the holidays so best play it safe especially with our seniors!
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!!
Love the Senior Dog Doc Team