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How To Handle Traveling With Your Labrador Retriever

Since your Labrador may sometimes accompany you when you travel, it is important to indoctrinate it into riding in the car while it is still a puppy. Start with short trips, such as local errands, and increase from there. The dog should always ride in the back seat and should be taught to lie down while the car is moving. Young puppies often do well to ride in their crates during any extended car trip.

For trips of more than an hour, do not feed the dog just prior to departure. Like people, many dogs experience motion sickness. Should your dog be prone to vomiting in the car, it will require medication from your veterinarian whenever you are planning a long drive. Most dogs outgrow this as they get more accustomed to car trips. Plan on stopping at least every two hours, at which time you should walk the dog to give it some exercise and a chance to relieve itself. Remember that the dog will be in an unfamiliar terrain, so always have it on leash to prevent an unexpected bolting.

While the car is moving, allow a small amount of fresh air to circulate inside by opening the windows approximately 2 inches (5 cm) from the top. This should be sufficient, as large doses-of air from fully opened windows can cause eye, ear, and throat irritation.

Caution: In the summertime, provide several small amounts of drinking water during the trip to prevent dehydration. When stopped, never leave a dog in a parked car during the heat of the day. Even with the windows slightly lowered, the internal temperature of the car can soar in just minutes and be fatal to the dog.

If you are planning an extended trip requiring overnight lodging, make reservations in advance at a hotel or motel that will allow pets. Travel guides or your local automobile club should be able to supply you with a list of places that accept animals.

Boarding Your Lab: If you are to be away and must leave your Labrador behind, the most satisfactory arrangement would be to leave the dog with a friend or relative with whom the dog is familiar. Barring this, you have several options.

The breeder from whom you purchased your dog may have the facilities to house it on a temporary basis. Alternatively, you can check your local papers for "foster care" advertisements by local people who are willing to look after pets in their home for a limited amount of time.

Should you consider this method, be sure to visit the site on several occasions with the dog to familiarize it with the people and location and to verify that this is a suitable environment for your pet. Commercial kennels offer boarding services for those with no other options.

Most kennels are clean and tend to all your pet's basic needs, but Labradors are very people-oriented and tend to miss the companionship they are used to when placed in boarding kennels. Should this be necessary, however, check that the kennel is accredited by the American Boarding Kennel Association.

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