Throughout the country, people are preparing for weekend travel and vacations. Many of us will include our most loyal companion. If so, we need to make sure and include a number of important items.

First, insure a safe method of transporting your dog–travel crates, seat-belt harnesses or back seat barriers are all good choices. Secondly, have copies of all your veterinary records–vaccines, medications, health certificate, etc. In case of an emergency, make sure to have a plan by researching veterinarians in the area you will be visiting. Identify boarding facilities in case parts of your vacation do not allow pets. More than likely, all of these services will require health records. Finally, make sure to pack plenty of food, fresh water, as well as a veterinarian-recommended first aid kit.

If the nature of your vacation includes camping, hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities, you will need to revisit and/or brush up on ‘good citizenship’. In the weeks or months leading up to your trip, include daily walks or exercise. Make sure you and your dog are healthy and in good communication with each other. Reaffirm basic obedience commands–here, heel, sit, down and quiet. If possible, introduce or revisit similar environments to those you will encounter on your trip. Prepare for situations that otherwise are new or rare experiences–leashes, tie-out stakes, crating, congested or populated areas. If you are visiting a State or National Park, make sure and become familiar with the rules and regulations that may be unique to those particular locations.

As a responsible pet owner, it is your obligation to plan ahead and prepare so everyone will have an experience to last a lifetime…lets make it a good one!