For the love of you pet: Dog on vacation

By John Beck
May 31, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.

We are planning a beach vacation this summer and want to take our dogs with us. What do we need to know before hitting the beach with our pooches?

Many families are taking their pets with them on vacations. They find that their dogs enjoy the trips as much they do and provide good quality time for everyone. Make sure the place you are staying is pet friendly. I would bring a crate for your pet, even if you normally don't use one. You never know what you will run into.

For example, if there are other vacationers who have also brought their pets, you may need to separate your dog from theirs. If you have an emergency and need to leave your pet behind in the house unsupervised or if the emergency is your pet, you might need the crate to transport them to keep them from bleeding in the car or moving around too much.

Make sure you take their food and water bowls. Switching them can sometimes cause the pet to not eat or drink. In some cases, a rash could develop around the pet's mouth. Take their food from home because you don't want to have to get a different brand from a different supermarket. This is because changing food can sometimes cause stomach upset if the dog is not transitioned slowly to the new food.

Take any medications your pet is currently on. Make sure you take a couple of days extra just to be on the safe side. You might drop one or stay a couple of days longer than you had planned.

If you are spending a lot of time at the beach, make sure you bring water for your pets and a container for them to drink from. Also, make sure you have a way to provide shade for your dogs if they get tired or hot and need some relief.

Take a small first aid kit with you. Some stretch wrap (Vet-Wrap or ACE bandage); triple antibiotic ointment (Neosporin), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), olive oil, doggy shampoo, etc. The stretch wrap can be used on wounds that will not stop bleeding.

The triple antibiotic can be used on small cuts/scrapes and bug bites. The diphenhydramine for any swelling or allergic reactions. Olive oil to protect the eyes from salt water and shampoos. And, finally, the shampoo because a dog at the beach gets very dirty very fast.

Some people even like to get booties for their dogs' paws. There are small boots that zip up around the lower part of your dogs' feet to protect them from stepping on something (coral rocks, shells, etc.) that can cut the pad.

Last but not least: Take the phone number of your veterinarian and, if possible, try to find a vet in the area you are travelling to, just in case you need one.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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