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PCSing With Your Dog: Mind Your Mutt’s Manners

 Posted by on August 22, 2016 at 07:00
Aug 222016
 
Julie

Julie

Moves happen all the time in the military community. There’s that span of time, as your neighbors are moving in, where you hold your breath waiting to see if they’ll be good neighbors (respectful, kind and friendly) or the kind that make you count the days until your next PCS. Your dog’s behaviors escalate the risks of the latter. Here are a few ways to make sure you and your four-legged fur-amily members are a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.

Avoid bad-neighbor status

When you’re are running or walking through your neighborhood and you see THAT pet owner with their uncontrolled dog on the leash coming toward you — your muscles start to clench and you sweat a bit more from that underlying fear that this time the dog will lunge and take a chunk out of your leg. Don’t be that neighbor everyone dreads passing. Here are the behaviors that give your dog (and you) a bad name:

  • Pulling on leash and lunging at strangers
  • Jumping on visitors
  • Growling and barking at visitors
  • Hiding in fear of visitors
  • Barking excessively
  • Stealing food from the counter or people’s plates or hands
  • Behaving aggressively with other dogs
  • Refusing to come when called
  • Neglecting to clean up after your dog when he voids outside of your yard
  • Roaming around unattended outside your yard

Choose to raise a well-mannered fur-amily member

Every family parents pets differently. There’s nothing wrong with doing things your own way, but make sure your fur babies know how to behave in a way that keeps them, other people, dogs and property safe, because it’s your responsibility. Choose to be proactive with your pet. Decide how you want to train your dog to behave. There are numerous ways to train your canine, including:

  • Private classes (you and your dog with the instructor)
  • Group classes (you and your dog with other pet-owner couples and an instructor)
  • Camp training (dog goes away with the trainer for a few weeks and comes back trained)
  • Do-it-yourself training from a book, the internet or prior knowledge

I’ve tried the do-it-yourself method from a book and it worked, but I’ve always had the best and quickest results when I attended group or private classes and practiced at home. Half of training your dog is training yourself to understand your dog (how she thinks, what motivates her, and how you become and remain a trusted pack leader). I highly recommend a training course where your dog is exposed to other dogs and people. Socialization, learning to interact well with others, is a huge part of being a good neighbor.

Coco

You can teach any dog manners

Whether your dog is a puppy, a geriatric, stubborn, or a complete klutz (I’ve had a few that chase balls right into walls, doors and fences), they are trainable. You may need to reach out to your veterinarian, a licensed dog trainer or an animal behaviorist to help you if your dog is excessively fearful or aggressive. There’s hope for all pets, they just need the right instruction and consistent practice.

After our fur-child of 14 years, Faith, died earlier this year, we decided to adopt another dog from the local shelter. After a few visits, we found our sweet Coco, a 2-year-old special, and realized we had a lot of energy on our hands. We quickly learned to take her on a walk or play fetch with her multiple times a day so she could run out her energy and curb her night crazies a bit.

We also started taking her to private lessons from a trainer, worked with her at home and then went to Canine Good Citizen training course through our veterinarian’s office. The training and test cover the basics of good behavior for dogs. Dogs that can perform the 10 skills on the test are truly a pleasure. Here are the 10 good-behavior goals for your dog:

  1. Accept a stranger (shows no signs of fear or aggression and not leave your side to greet them)
  2. Sit for petting (doesn’t move from sitting position and allows stranger to pet them)
  3. Tolerate grooming (lets stranger groom and touch paws, tail, ears)
  4. Walk on loose leash (no pulling, is attentive to owner and follows where they lead)
  5. Walk through a crowd (no pulling on leash, no signs of fear or aggression while following owner)
  6. Stay in sit or down position (remains in stay when owner walks 20 feet away and back)
  7. Come when called (immediately returns to owner when called)
  8. Be polite around dogs (shows casual interest in other dogs walking by, no pulling toward them)
  9. Remain confident when distracted (shows confidence, not panic with loud sounds or visual distractions)
  10. Stay calm when separated (can be left with another person for brief time and maintains manners)

Sometimes we get so busy with work and life that we forget to get involved with our animals beyond the couch cuddles and feeding time. Invest in your dog as you do your children. OK. So maybe your dog doesn’t need tap dance or soccer lessons, but remember that your dog needs some interaction and a purpose or job to do each day too. You can do obedience training, teach your dog tricks or jobs around the house, train for agility trials, practice fetch with Frisbees, learn therapy dog skills or just go on daily walks. Your dog will love every moment of that time with you, and you and your dog will earn a welcomed spot in the neighborhood.

Bark It Out: Choosing the Perfect Pet

 Posted by on August 26, 2013 at 15:39
Aug 262013
 
Melissa

Melissa

I grew up thinking that the word “pet” meant dog, cat or a combination thereof. To me, “exotic” pet owners were those with a tank full of something other than goldfish or a cage with a furry little creature such as a rabbit or hamster. Yes, I had a sheltered life. Imagine my shock when I learned that people keep snakes, iguanas and mice as pets! My point is that there are MANY types of pets out there, so how do you know which one is right for you?

Here are some common questions to ask not only yourself and your spouse, but your WHOLE family. Take EXTRA consideration into the preference of the primary pet caregiver (*cough* the military spouse *cough*). We all know that kids will argue with the oh so famous: “I’ll take care of him! I promise! I will walk him every day, clean out the tank/cage, feed him and play with him! Everything! I promise, promise, promise! Pretty, pretty, pretty pleeeeeaaaaasssseee!!” Then there is the service member that begs and pleads the same. Then deployment orders come in. I think we all know how this story ends. So again, I emphasize, take the primary pet caregiver’s desires into consideration.

1.)   Activity level: How much physical activity does your pet need per day? This can range from a 3 mile run twice a day for an active sporting dog down to absolutely nothing for fish. Be honest with yourself. If you do not run that much now, you will not run that much when you get your pet.

2.)   Age: Do you SERIOUSLY have the patience for a baby animal? I am the one driving the “puppies are cute and kittens are cuddly” train, but I do not want either one as a pet. We prefer the “old souls” that have already been potty trained and are past the chewing phase.

3.)   Commitment: How long are you willing to have a pet? I remember the day my husband told me that cats can live up to 20 years. I looked at my cat and told her she had better get used to me (she still hasn’t for all the inquiring minds). Is your family ready to commit to an animal for that long, or is your family more in the zone for a goldfish that may live a few weeks?

4.)   Lifestyle: Along with commitment, does your lifestyle lead to a pet-friendly home? Are you guys jetting off every weekend for hours on end? Will having a dog cramp your style because you will be bound to a potty schedule? Maybe everyone in your home works long hours and can’t give a pet the attention it deserves. This could be a sign that you need a less interactive pet. Think iguana or turtle (again…*shudder*).

So you think you have it figured out? Have you factored being a military family into your pet decision yet? Did you just pause and wonder what being a military family has to do with getting a pet? Well I am here to tell you that it has EVERYTHING to do with making a pet choice. I get it, being a military family is hard. Sometimes it feels like we are never truly in charge of our lives with PCSs, deployments and the like. So I understand the frustration when it can feel like a gross overstep by Uncle Sam when we have to take our military status into account for pet ownership. In addition to the normal “Is this pet right for our family questions” you must ask yourself:

1.) Can this pet live in base housing? I know you may not live in base housing now or plan to in the future. I never did either (as I sit here typing from my base housing home), but plan like it could happen. That means taking a look at the restricted breeds. I know it’s not fair, but a few bad apples spoil the bunch. I don’t see the breed restriction policy changing anytime soon.

2.) Can this pet live in most rental properties? Same as base housing. See above.

3.) Can this pet live in extreme climate (hello Southwest desert or Alaska)? It’s probably not wise to take a lizard to the tundra or a Bernese Mountain dog to tropical Guam. I am not saying you can’t take your beloved pet friend; I am just saying think about your pet’s comfort.

4.) Can this pet move overseas? Look at your branch of service and the different possibilities for locations of future assignments overseas. Then take into account any restrictions those countries have on types of animals. Maybe birds can’t fly or ferrets aren’t allowed in. Do your research. And don’t say, “We will never move overseas.” I said the same thing. Again, as I sit here typing from our base housing overseas. The military has a funny way of turning “never” into “oh yes you are.” Don’t make your pet suffer.

5.) Stick to two pets of any variety. Two seems to be the magic number for maximum pets allowed in rentals, base housing, overseas, on Noah’s Ark, etc. I know it is hard to turn away pets, and that two is not set in stone everywhere (and yes I agree, cat’s shouldn’t count because they aren’t really pets; they are more mini-melodramatic humans, but they do count). So save yourself a broken heart and extra pet deposits and stick with two pets maximum. No matter what the variety.

It is definitely possible to have pets while moving all around the country and globe as a military family. We are living proof. We have had our “kids” for almost nine years and they have seen more of the world than most people. Ask them if they are impressed and the answer will be no. The key to being a successful pet owner AND military family is to plan ahead and choose wisely so that everyone wins.

 

May 202013
 

Blogger Biography: Cheryle is a 10-year military spouse who has lived away from her husband longer than they’ve been under the same roof. Now that they are transitioning into the retirement stage, a whole new adventure has begun. There will soon be more time to spend at the lake, with their three children and their first grandchild. Retirement doesn’t mean you leave the military family behind because once you are a part of the military family, you are always family. Her husband’s military civilian job will keep them close to the family long after retirement.

Dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” In our home, our dog’s best friend is a man…actually, two men—my son and my husband. Our border collie, named Ginger, came into our family as a gift for my son in a rather unique way.

In the very beginning of our marriage, my husband and I lived 1,200 miles apart until my children could graduate from high school. It was hard enough being separated, but let’s face it, it was just plain hard keeping an eye on what trouble my husband could get into. One afternoon he received a call from a neighbor regarding an unhealthy stray dog, and my big-hearted husband volunteered to try and bring the dog back to good health. He was so happy when this dog gained weight; only to find out later, she was pregnant! That Thanksgiving we had three new puppies on our hands. See what I mean? You leave him alone for a minute and you never know what can happen. Luckily, sometimes his mischief can be a blessing.

We easily found homes for two of the adorable puppies, and I decided to give the third one to my son. We drove 1,200 miles with a new puppy in our truck (which was quite an experience) to deliver this cute little surprise to my son. The bond that has formed between them is very heartwarming.

Due to her fierce loyalty to my son, I had no clue Ginger even knew my husband existed. I guess when my son went off to college, her affection went to the next male in the household (even though I am the one who bathed, brushed, played catch and walked her…go figure). We weren’t even aware that she had formed this attachment until my husband deployed to Afghanistan. When he walked through the door one year after he departed, I thought Ginger would have a heart attack. Her tail wagged so fast and she was SO excited; she did not calm down for hours.

I had not realized the affect my husband’s deployment had on this devoted dog. It isn’t just children, a spouse, parents and friends that have to deal with the deployment of a loved one. Your family pet can be affected as well. Now, every time he leaves for a business trip, the dogs think he will be gone forever. I find it is best to give them extra treats and play time when he’s gone to ease the separation anxiety.

There are many symptoms pets can show if they are having separation anxiety, and if they are too severe, you might want to seek a veterinarian’s advice. Below are just a few tips that may help.

  • Symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs: pacing, following you around wherever you go, trying to escape the house or yard (ours love this trick), excessive barking and destruction, and even going potty in the house.
  • Possible cures for anxiety: Punishment is never the answer for separation anxiety. Leave a piece of clothing that has your scent on it, give them lots of exercise, leave a radio on and leave appealing dog toys.
  • Symptoms of separation anxiety in cats: eating too fast, excessive grooming and going potty outside the litter box (some choose the parent’s bed to send a message).
  • Possible cures for anxiety: use puzzle feeders to entertain them, put up a cat tree and provide extra play time each day.

My husband’s deployment was over six years ago, and yet, every day when my husband walks through the front door after being gone only eight hours at work, Ginger wags her tail as fast as the day he returned from Afghanistan and gives him a cute howl of excitement that makes us all smile. Our “man’s best friend” has a man for a best friend.

Moving with Pets: A Go-To Guide

 Posted by on March 4, 2013 at 14:00
Mar 042013
 
Staff Blogger Melissa

Melissa

Like many of you, our pets have full-fledged, card-carrying membership in our family. We call them our kids and consider ourselves a family of four. Heck, we even sign our holiday cards with our pets’ names! So naturally, whenever we get PCS orders we are sure to include them in our moving plans.  When I found out we were moving overseas, my first thought was about our dog, Regis (yes, he is loosely named after the celebrity). I thought, “Should we charter a boat so he doesn’t have to fly?” My husband quickly brought me back to reality, and I started making serious, concrete plans to have a successful outside the continental United States move with our furbabies. Whether you are moving to the next state or across an ocean, here are some tips from my experience.

WHEN: As soon as you have orders

CONUS PCS

  • Gather your pet’s medical information from your veterinarian.
  • Start researching pet friendly hotels to use while in transit. A simple Internet search should yield plenty of results. Plus, you may find a national chain to assist you along your entire route.
  • If you have a restricted breed pet, check with the housing office at your new installation to see if your pet is exempt.

OCONUS PCS

  • Research quarantine requirements for your OCONUS location. Some locations require a series of vaccinations and a FAVN test, which is a blood serum rabies test.
  • Microchip your pet with the universal 15 digit microchip, unless your new location requires a different chip. Check with your veterinarian about any special requirements for your new installation.
  • Gather your pet’s medical information from your veterinarian and purchase an expandable file folder to hold all of your pet’s information.

WHEN: One – three months out

CONUS PCS

  • If you know your travel dates, book your pet friendly hotel rooms.
  • Start checking out pet friendly housing in your new location so you have an idea of what to expect.

OCONUS PCS

  • Make pet arrangements at your new installation with a pet friendly hotel room, a kennel or a pet sitter. The earlier you make your reservations, the better.
  • Check with your incoming country to see if there is any advance notification required for your pet to enter the country.
  • Confirm your pet’s reservation with each airline. Write down the name of the person you spoke with, the date and time of the phone call in case there is a problem.
  • Check out airline travel requirements for your pet’s kennel. Airlines require specific kennels depending on a pet’s size and whether your pet will be traveling below the plane or in the cabin.

WHEN: One – two weeks out

CONUS PCS

  • If you think you are going to live off your installation, make appropriate appointments with property managers or realtors to find a pet friendly home.

OCONUS PCS

  • RECONFIRM with your airlines, hotels and kennels that your pet’s reservation is still intact. If there is a problem, this is where that information you wrote down earlier comes in handy.
  • Have your pet seen by a veterinarian for a health certificate before flying. Most are only good for 10 days, so try to do this as close as possible to your travel date. While there, have them scan your pet’s microchip to make sure it is still intact.
  • Make copies of all pet paperwork!
  • Do a last minute check of airline kennel supplies. Most airlines require a blanket or puppy pad in the bottom of the kennel, as well as a food and water source fastened to the cage.
  • If you have a nervous pet, consider purchasing what I equate to a puppy swaddle vest for the flight. They are designed to fit snuggly and help your pet feel safe in scary conditions. Try it on a few days beforehand to make sure it fits well!

Both CONUS and OCONUS

  • If your pet is on any preventative medication or has any ongoing treatments, ensure you have enough to last until you are fully settled into your duty station.
  • If your pet doesn’t like to travel, check with your veterinarian for suggestions. I was convinced that Regis would need an IV of “sleepy meds” to get him through the long flights, but our veterinarian highly discouraged it, and Regis braved the flights like a champ!
  • Have your pet’s travel kennel out so your pet can check it out before traveling.
  • Pick up your pet’s veterinarian records.

WHEN: 1 – 2 days out

OCONUS

  • In your carryon bag, pack a small baggie of food, treats, waste bags, daily medications and an extra puppy pad for each stop you make. You may also wish to consider packing pet wipes in case your pet uses the bathroom in the kennel.

Both CONUS and OCONUS

  • Pack your pet’s travel bag! Include food, treats, toys, a pet bed and other items that your pet will need as you travel and before your household goods shipment arrives. If you have a cat, consider purchasing disposable litter boxes. It’s a lot easier than toting around an actual litter box and a container of litter!

WHEN: Travel time!

CONUS

  • Make sure your pet is comfortable and safe inside your vehicle. It is best not to let your pet roam in your car while driving; it can be dangerous for all of you.
  • Make frequent stops so your pet can stretch, use the bathroom and have some food and water.
  • Do not EVER leave your pet unattended in the car.

OCONUS

  • Don’t forget your file folder of your pet’s paperwork!
  • Place a t-shirt or similar item of yours in your pet’s kennel to make your pet feel safe.
  • Do a last minute check of your pet’s supplies and fill up the kennel’s food and water bowls. (Tip: Place ice cubes in the water portion so that the water isn’t sloshing around during loading, but melts afterwards to provide drinking water.)
  • Carry your pet’s leash with YOU after your pet is in the kennel!
  • Arrive at the airport early so you have time to fix any problems.
  • Take your pet outside one last time before your flight and give your pet a final hug and kiss. (Yes, I was the dramatic mom that cried the whole trip.)
  • Make sure your airline gives you confirmation that your pet is on board before takeoff.

If you haven’t already figured it out, I am one of those neurotic pet parents that people probably make cartoons about. I am happy to report that both of our furbabies can now add a successful OCONUS move to their resume! Flying barely phased them. In fact, Regis was wagging his tail when we collected him. With the proper planning, moving with pets can be a breeze!

To Dog or Not to Dog? That is the Question!

 Posted by on July 13, 2012 at 08:00
Jul 132012
 

To Dog or Not to Dog? That is the Question!

Staff Blogger Kelli

Kelli

Owning a pet as a military family can be wonderful, but should not be taken on lightly or without the understanding that one furry loveable creature can result in chaos, sacrifice, and stability all at the same time.

I grew up with dogs and while I want to be sensitive to my cat loving friends, this blog is about owning a dog. Why? Because that’s what I have and I’m allergic to cats.

When I married my husband and left home, I also left the companionship of my family dogs. As newlyweds and apartment dwellers it wasn’t the right time for us to take on a family pet. Once we moved and had a small yard, I was thrilled to get a dog. Our first dog, Nikki, was not a great fit. I had small children, a small yard, and I think she was crazy. She ate the house, she at the fence, she ate everything, and always looked at me like she had just rescued a drowning child from a river and should be awarded appropriately.

Nikki had to go. I wanted her to go to a loving home, so friends stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base adopted her. They had a larger yard and we figured perhaps Nikki just needed more room. She ate the cable under their mobile home. I felt bad, but not bad enough to take her back. Surprisingly, we are still friends.

We really weren’t ready to become dog owners just yet and certainly not crazy dog owners.

Several years later we adopted a yellow lab. He was born on Thanksgiving Day and his coat was almost white. We named him Bradford after William Bradford, an English settler who came over on the Mayflower.  I tell you the history of Bradford’s name because in later years the kids gave ‘voices’ to the dogs and Bradford always sounded like a proper Englishman quite bored with our family’s antics.

When my husband would be gone, an alter ego emerged and my gentle lab became a super alert, and aggressive, protector of our home. Our home had a large picture window.  Three feet on the other side of that giant window was our mailbox. Our mail man had to stand near the large thin window. Bradford would, without fail, lunge himself ferociously at the window each and every day.

The window would shake and vibrate and I was fearful we would be calling EMS for our postman. As soon as the mail was delivered and the very kind and understanding mail man had gone on his way, Bradford would immediately calm down, trot over to me with what I am pretty sure was a cocky little grin, and lick me as if to say “I’ve got this.”

It was also during that same deployment I learned just how smart he was. Bradford was not allowed to sleep on our bed with us. The night I came home from saying goodbye to my husband for the year-long deployment, Bradford must have known he wasn’t coming home. As I got ready for bed, he jumped up, went straight to my husband’s side, and laid on his pillow. That’s where he slept for the next year. The year after that, and until he passed away, he slept on the bed or with various children. He would snuggle up and they would hold him like a giant stuffed animal.

Bradford

Bradford lived until he was sixteen years old. He was faithful and loving to the end. We had gotten Bradford as a six-week-old puppy when we only had two children. The day we buried him we had six. He was a beloved family member who had fulfilled the full measure of his potential, and had fulfilled it well.

I share brief glimpse into Bradford’s life for several reasons. I think they speak to why I love having a four-legged family member.

Bradford was a friend to my children each time we moved. They were never alone or without companionship, no matter how hard it was to start over in a new school.

He always listened and made it better with a quick lick of a pink tongue or snuggled close during scary storms.

He was a deterrent to potential boogie men, real and imagined. I slept better during those deployments knowing I would be alerted to anything amiss in our home, outside, down the block, or a mile away.

He taught my children responsibility, kindness, and compassion. As parents we often said “Bradford is completely dependent upon us for his well-being. When you don’t feed or make sure he has clean fresh water you are letting him down and hurting him.” A couple of times I heard the kids whisper to each other “then how did he eat that chocolate cake, or my lunch, or that steak?”

Bradford was super dog. He ate a chocolate cake with chocolate filling, chocolate frosting, AND chocolate sprinkles. Certain chocolates can be fatal to dogs. All it did to Bradford was get him yelled at.

Because of Bradford:

  •  We got the old, old, OLD housing.
  •  If we ever had to evacuate, we had to make sure we had our own plan and place to go because many shelters don’t allow pets.
  • We had to stay at certain hotels and had to preplan trips and PCS moves a little better.
  • We had to think beyond ourselves and our needs.
  • My children learned sacrifice.
  • My children learned unconditional love.
  • My children learned about death.

I would not trade the love, the lessons, and the joy Bradford brought to our family. The “inconveniences” were minor compared to what he contributed.

Luke

Bradford passed away on April 9, 2010. Luke was born April 19, 2010. He didn’t replace Bradford, but he carries on the duties of teacher, protector, companion, and confidant.

When our family was ready, the joys of pet ownership have been and continue to be a blessing regardless of the challenges they bring.

Road Trippin’ with Pets

 Posted by on June 13, 2012 at 08:00
Jun 132012
 

Road Trippin’ with Pets

Dani

Dani

I know I’m probably not the only one who holds her furry friend in the same regard as the rest of the family, crazy as my husband may think it is. When we were re-stationed and moved into an apartment that allowed pets, one of the first things we did was scour the newspapers for puppy ads. I was very specific about the type of puppy I wanted— the same breed my parents had while I was growing up. My husband agreed to it after I promised him that the next dog we get would be the breed of his choice. Now, Lady is an integral part of our family.

Moving often and living far away from family and friends means that Lady travels a lot. While I’m no expert on traveling with pets, I do have plenty of experience taking road trips with my pup. And I have to at least think I’m doing something right, since any time I leave the house, Lady is following at my heels, overly eager to jump right in the backseat of my car!

Here are just a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to make traveling with your furbaby as fun, happy, and sanitary for you and your pet as it is for our family and Lady!

Put down a blanket or bed sheet in your backseat. Not only will this offer some protection if your pet were to have an accident, it also makes for an easier clean up after your trip. My pup tends to shed, so putting a bed sheet down is quicker and easier than having to spend all that extra time vacuuming out my car!

Give your pet some personal space. Set up a little area of your car so your pet has a place to lie. You could just bring their bed or a cozy blanket and plop it in the backseat, or—if your pet is small enough—bring their crate. Lady was crate trained and seeks solace in her crate, so often times when we travel, we’ll bring her crate with us and she’ll hang out in there. We leave the door open so she can move around, but that all depends on how much space you have in your vehicle!

Pack the poop bags. This is a must when stopping along the way to let your pet go to the bathroom, but it’s really just common courtesy, no matter where you are, to pick up after your pet. Not only do I not want my furbaby sniffing or stepping in other dogs’ poo, but I also wouldn’t want to step in it myself or risk little ones stepping in it, either. And so, I pack the poop bags. We have a handy little dispenser that attaches to Lady’s leash to make this convenient and a no brainer. Easy as that.

Prepare for summer heat. It can get hot in the summer, especially in the car. Always keep an extra water bottle on hand for your pet. I also keep a collapsible pet bowl in the car to pour the water into. When stopping at rest stops, keep the windows cracked as much as you can, and make your trips inside quick. Since it’s bound to be hot when you get back to your car, I try to stop and grab a cup of ice in the food court area to add to Lady’s water so she has fresh, cold water.

Stop at rest stops. Back on the topic of rest stops, make sure you stop enough so your pet can go out at least as often as it would at home. I usually stop more frequently so we can all get outside to walk. Most rest stops have a designated area for pets, so be sure to scope those out.

Find pet friendly hotels. If your pet is staying with you at your end destination, or if you’ll be stopping along the way to rest, pet friendly hotels are easy to find with a little research. Some hotels charge an extra fee per night for having your pet with you; others require a deposit and return it to you when you check out. Just call around, compare the costs and amenities, and book the most accommodating one!

Clip your pet’s nails before you leave. Manicured nails can prevent your pet from scratching the inside of your car. Additionally, they can prevent getting hurt when your pet jumps on top of you because it gets excited looking out the window. This isn’t a necessity, but it’s nice to do if you have the extra time.

Last minute packing list: dog treats, a chew toy, and glass cleaner. Keep some extra treats in your glove compartment to reward your pet for being such a great travel companion. Pack a chew toy or plush animal to keep your furbaby busy and from getting into things it isn’t supposed to. Finally, pack some glass cleaner and paper towels— you’ll likely want to clean the marks left behind from little wet noses being pressed to the windows.

Lady

Traveling with your pet should be fun and stress free. Be prepared to meet nice ladies at tollbooths who offer dog treats when they see a pup with you. Or, to discover new restaurants with outdoor seating areas that not only allow you to sit with your pet, but also bring you a water bowl. One of our favorite experiences was the ice cream stand who offered “pup cups” so your pet can also get a sweet treat.

What positive experiences have you had when traveling with your pet? Share in the comments below!

All materials copyright Military OneSource, 2012. Blog content held jointly by writer and Military OneSource, with shared rights to republish with appropriate attribution.