Skip to main content

Sensi Magazine

Traveling Tails

Apr 26, 2019 08:14PM
It was July 2011, and I was heading to Sonoma, California, for my annual two-week digital detox. Leaving all technology behind, I rented a small cottage to immerse in
14 days of reading, writing (by hand), hiking, and enjoying the outdoors. This particular year, I brought my one-year old labradoodle, Truman.

We arrived in late afternoon, dropped our things at the cottage, and took a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. Streets cast in dappled shade from enormous trees with branches stretching across neatly manicured lawns led to an array of gingerbread-perfect Victorian
homes. Residential streets gave way to the main stretch into downtown with houses beginning to include quaint, hand-painted signage indicating businesses had taken residence: a real estate broker, accountant, nutritionist, and paw prints—a vet’s office. I noted the happy exterior, deep green shutters framing beveled glass windows, a wide porch wrapping alongside a beautiful old wooden door. I mused that if a pet had to see a doctor, this was about as pleasant a spot as one could imagine.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that this business would come in handy the next day.

After a good night’s sleep, we began our adventures. Checking local maps, I saw there were great hiking trails we could reach by foot. For hours, we meandered. We found a path along the creek and a perfect spot for a picnic lunch. I perched on a rock eating my sandwich and tossed the ball into and across the creek for Truman. He galloped through the stream, returning with the ball while spraying me with cold water. After one toss, he pulled up sharply
and paused, then grabbed the ball and came back. I noticed a limp. I examined his paw and found a clean slice in one pad made by broken glass in the stream.

I bundled him into the car, his paw wrapped in a towel that was quickly soaking through. I drove to the small Victorian I remembered from our first day and carried Truman
through the door. Thankfully, it was early, so we were able to call my vet in San Francisco to have Truman’s current vaccination records and health history sent over. Within the hour, I emerged with my pup and the addition of a few stitches and a sporty green bandage.

What is the point of my story? If I had not happened to see that vet’s office, I would have wasted time trying to figure out where to go, rather than getting Truman to the care he needed immediately. Had the situation been more serious, such as an allergic reaction, rattlesnake bite, broken bone, or worse, that delay in finding a resource could have meant the difference quite literally between life and death.

Traveling with a pet, while not an entirely new phenomenon, has certainly catapulted in popularity in the last 20 years. Today, more people take to the road, railway, and air
with their pets. Of course, basic travel rules include making sure to have enough of your dog’s food, something comfy on which they can sleep, an ample supply of poop bags, a good leash, and maybe some toys. Here are a few baseline preparations to protect your dog while traveling.


The Boy Scouts’ motto says it best—be prepared. Before heading on a trip with your dog, first and foremost make sure they are fully up to date on all vaccinations. This means making sure you are aware of the place where you’re going to make certain your dog is protected against illnesses that may not be prevalent where you live but exist at your travel destination. One simple example is flea prevention. Fleas are not indigenous to Southern Nevada. As a result, typically dogs in this area do not get ongoing flea prevention.
If the dog travels to California, however, the dog could be infested with fleas and could also carry fleas and eggs back to Nevada and, depending on the weather, those fleas may enjoy setting up camp in someone’s home. So, knowing the area you’re going to is important, and getting your dog protected in advance, equally so.

Also, make sure your dog is microchipped and that the information on that chip is up-to-date with a current phone number and name. Your dog also should have tags on its collar or harness with a number at which you can be reached at all times.


Identify resources at your destination (and along the way if it’s a road trip). Having numbers and addresses for local vet offices and veterinary emergency services could mean the difference between life and death if something happens to your pup while traveling. It doesn’t hurt to have a copy of your dog’s current medical records handy. Today, most vets can provide current vaccine/health history digitally, and many vets have started using online portals to give clients easier access to pets’ information. It’s also good to know local pet resources like stores that sell your pups’ food, in case you run out as well as places where you can take your dog for a bath.


What is the best part of being prepared? Enjoying the trip. We travel with our dogs because we love their company and enjoy doing great things with them. Before hitting
the road, check out local activities events, locations, restaurants, great hikes, dog parks so you and your pooch can share great experiences and new places.