Westie’s Travel/Vacation List

Car Trip
Crate- correct Westie size, with carrying handle - vents on all sides and sturdy enough to be strapped down.

Straps to secure the crate in place.

Towels - a good supply of medium size towels to use as washable bedding as well as for wet muddy feet.

Canine seat belt if your dog sometimes travels on the car seat.

Fresh water/food/bowls.

Poop Pick-up bags and /or tools.

Leash and walking harness.

Collar with tags, owner's name and phone number, license, medical tags Medications if required.

Veterinary records.

List of hotels/motels accepting dogs.

Refresh your memory on never leaving a dog alone in a parked car because of risk of theft, and in the summer, of heat stroke (ask your vet). Consider tinting car/van windows to give some protection against heat while travelling and discouraging theft. Plan on stopping regularly every couple of hours to let your dog relieve himself. Take this opportunity to give him a walk. Pick a spot away from traffic, but always have him on leash.

Small Boat Trip
Life jacket, preferably with a handle on the back for easy lifting of the dog back into the boat. Dogs should wear life jackets, not because they can't swim, but because they probably can't swim the distance required in an emergency.

First aid kit - consult your vet for appropriate supplies. Protection from cold and/or heat. Know where the local vet is located and what his number is. If gone all day, take food and water for the dog.

Large Boat/Ferry
Consult the ferry people on their dog rules. If allowed, it is preferable to keep the dog with you, using a restraint such as leash and walking harness, soft sided crate, or dog-carrying bag. If left in the car on a lower deck, crate the dog, supply water, leave windows slightly open, and return to the dog at regular intervals, or stay with the dog in the car.

A list of hotels/motels accepting pets. Call ahead to verify and to book an appropriate room. Get ground floor room, preferably with door exit directly to the outside. Having already walked the dog, crate him in the room when you go to dinner. Leave the radio/television on, tuned to a talk show type program. Keep the dog off the hotel beds. Find out where bagged poop may be discarded. Find out where hotel allows dogs to be walked, and if this area is not clean, report it to the hotel, and find an alternative site. Leave your room clean and tidy when checking out.

Visiting home with swimming pool
Never leave a dog without adult supervision on a property with a swimming pool. If you want your dog to try pool swimming, go in with him, and never force him. Dogs may enjoy swimming in a pool, but they can't get out by themselves, and will drown of exhaustion if left unattended in the pool.

Rented cabins
Know location and phone number of the vet closest to your proposed rental unit. Know local by-laws concerning dogs. A vet at your destination can tell you what if any extra vaccinations your dog should have before leaving home eg. heartworm, and what local pests you will run into such as ticks. Ask the landlord if rodent poison and the like have been used around the cabin, and what if any pesticides have been used.

If your dog should encounter either a skunk or a porcupine, know what to do. Consult your vet before you leave home on first aid measures, and write them down. If you use special food, know the nearest supplier to your rented cabin, or take a sufficient supply with you.

Season-related concerns
In winter 
Wherever you go in winter be very aware of spilled anti-freeze. It is sweet, dogs like it, and it is fatal. For winter travel, take coat and boots for the dog. These items are not a fashion statement. The boots particularly protect the dog's feet from de-icing chemicals such as road salt.

In summer
Heat can be especially deadly for a dog left in a parked car, as the temperature can rise in a few minutes to the point of causing heat stroke.

If you wilderness camp, be aware of protecting your dog from encounters with wild animals. Also be aware of deep, fast-running water, especially in spring. Know the season for hunting in your vacation area. Know which plants and mushrooms and berries are poisonous in your vacation area.

International Travel by Car
Contact both Canadian and U.S. Customs as to exactly what papers will be required at the border crossing, and what shots are required. Have all your pet's paper work in order to present at the border.

International Travel by Air
Contact the airline you plan to use, for their guidelines and requirements. If possible, have the dog in a soft-sided well ventilated carry bag and take it on with you into the passenger compartment.

Dogs carried as cargo must be put on flights with pressurized, heated cargo holds, and in airline-approved crates. If the dog is shipped ahead, remember that if the airline gets more cargo/luggage than expected, your dog will be bumped, so arrange to track the flight stop-by-stop. Call ahead to be sure the person to meet him at the other end is actually going to be there. If your dog must be laid over in an airport, make arrangements for someone to check on the dog and give him water.

When shipping, or travelling with an animal by air, ask questions no matter how silly and uninformed they sound.

No matter where you go, before you leave home:
Get your dog vet checked and vaccinations up to date.

Have paperwork from your vet as to what shots he has had, and what his general health is.

Get enough of his medications to last until you get home. • Have your own vet's name and telephone number with your papers.

Put id. tags on the dog's collar, and on his crate, along with emergency telephone number of a person who will come and get the dog or make arrangements in case you are hospitalized or in a serious traffic accident. 
Include in the packing:

In addition to the aforementioned items such as medium size towels, also take an extra collar and leash. • A couple of cans of soft diet food in case your dog runs into stomach upset.

Doggie first-aid kit and first-aid book - ask your vet what supplies to buy, or get a ready equipped kit from a dog equipment supplier.

Your dog's usual grooming articles including a battery operated narrow blade 1/4" trimmer for keeping feet and ears tidy.

A couple of '300' boxes of sandwich bags for poop pick-up. 


Author: Anne Matheson.