The Hundred Club of Massachusetts serves the families of police officers and firefighters in their greatest time of need and into their future as they transition into life without their loved ones. And yet, often one of the greatest comforts any grieving family may find is in the simple love of their pet. Dogs truly are man’s best friend; their trust, loyalty, and understanding work wonders in times of grief.
This week, we would like to celebrate International Dog Day, August 26, by covering a simple, often overlooked, safety concern — traveling with pets.
We hear all the time, “Traveling in cars with dogs is easy. Police K9’s do it all the time.”
Not so fast. Police K9’s ride in a specially designed crate built into an SUV, complete with spill-free water bowls and crush zone components. Most of us, however, are not so lucky to have a fully equipped police cruiser as our go-to traveling van.
So, what’s a family to do when they want to bring along a comfort dog on a long trip?
First, prepare for your trip ahead of time.
1. Microchip your dog and check for updated contact information.
2. Prepare your pet for a longer ride by gradually increasing the time spent in the car through smaller outings.
3. Buy a harness that attaches to the seat buckle to prevent injury.
4. If your dog travels in a crate, make sure he/she can sit, stand, lie down, and turn around while inside the crate. (This will help as well for airplane travel, as airlines maintain strict sizing guidelines for crating dogs.)
Second, practice road-tripping with your dog.
Traveling at 70 mph on the highway is no time to figure out Fido’s stomach is sensitive to unfamiliar dog food. Traveling is stressful for animals, and — just as with children — never a good time to try new foods or to allow unfettered wandering.
1. Stock up on your pet’s regular food, as well as fresh water, grooming supplies, leashes, medication, first aid kit (see below for more info), and travel documents, including shot and rabies vaccine records.
2. Feed Fido three to four hours before your trip to prevent car sickness or vomiting.
3. If you own an SUV, try not to keep your dog in the back cargo area. These wide-open spaces are often the car’s primary crumple zone in accidents. Dogs are safest strapped in on a seat, or in an appropriately sized carrier.
4. Resist the temptation to love on your guy by letting him sit on your lap or in the front seat. Unfortunately, in the event of an accident, a deployed airbag can crush your best friend.
Three, build a dog first aid kit.
Dog first aid kits are very similar to human ones with a few specific differences. The list of what can go into a kit is varied and can include items such as Phillips Milk of Magnesia to absorb and neutralize poisons. However, the items listed below should work well if you need to triage your pet.
Basic dog first aid kit
• Bandages – a roll of self-adhesive or crepe bandage (5cm width)
• Conforming/open-weave bandages (2.5cm width)
• Non-adhesive absorbent dressings (5cm x 5cm) to cover open wounds
• Surgical sticky tape
• Box of cotton wool
• Box of sterile absorbent gauze
• Blunt-ended scissors, preferably curved
• Thick towel
• Elizabethan collar, aka: “the cone of shame”
Flying internationally with your dog
This is a huge subject and we recommend a visit to the Centers for Disease Control website. Also contact your chosen airline, and review the U.S. Department of State Pets and International Travel page, as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) sites listed below.
Because of the threat of uncontrolled rabies in other countries, it is easier to take your dog out of the U.S. than to bring him or her back in. Individual countries also have their own guidelines for animal entry. So consider your options and do your research before taking your pup along on an international getaway.
Thanks for reading our latest blog, and Happy International Dog Day. Let’s hear a big “Woof!”
on August 26th, and happy travels with everyone’s best friend!
The Hundred Club — Serving the Community
At The Hundred Club of Mass., we care for those who care for us. When these everyday people-turned-heroes lose their lives in the line of duty, we are here for their families. We have helped beneficiary families since 1959. Our assistance encompasses college scholarships, financial and legal support, counseling, and enrichment programs.
When a police officer or firefighter dies, in many cases, their paycheck and insurance stop before their death benefits begin, which is where The Hundred Club steps in to help. Your generosity provides immediate support to the families of these everyday heroes; funds they can rely upon to pay rent, groceries, and other bills. Help us continue the tradition of caring for those who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our communities. Donate to the Survivor’s Fund: https://100clubmass.org/donate/