I call visiting the family "camping" because sometimes you really are expected to work twice as hard to take care of your dog and do extra help at home when you visit with the family. Goodness help you if Fido should act up! Oh no! You'll have to hear all about, "Why is your 'baby' being such a naughty dog?" Sometimes it is just a no win situation.
Going Home with Fido
Here are a few life saving tips for going home with Fido. I think someone famous once said "You cannot go back home again." With the right amount of appropriate planning, you and your dog can enjoy time at home with your parents and your dog's grandparents, as well as a lot of quality time at home with your brothers and sisters, maybe a few cousins. If you are lucky, you could even have a good time with Grandma and Grandpa (Fido style).
A Safe Place to Play
Try to find a small place outside to play with your dog every day. Maybe set up a small playpen that you can let him hang out in for a few hours every day to get fresh air and chew his bone. If he is used to playing in a big back yard at home, having a playpen big enough for him to move around in, but not get lost or run away, becomes a wonderful safe play area for your dog.
I like this better than putting a stake in the ground and tying up my dog for many reasons. If you are going to sit and watch the entire time your dog is tied up, well maybe okay. However, if you are going to turn your eyes away for one minute, you need to be very careful because he can hang himself in an instant just by trying to run after you or that squirrel he sees.
Before you depart on your trip, call your family to see who else is coming and find out if anyone may have any allergies or another strange aversion to dogs. This way you can come prepared. If possible, request that your family let the other guest(s) know ahead of time that a fun-loving puppy dog is coming that just loves children (be sure your doggie is well socialized), and would love to play ball and will just about jump through hoops for food. This way everyone can get excited for the fun to begin. If you are lucky like I am, you may find yourself with a few small helpers who even beg their Tata "Can Little Man and Cappy sleep with us?" The answer for me is always "Yes, yes, yes!" Oh I love to sleep late!
On a serious note, not all people are dog lovers, so it's important to respect others who choose to keep a safe distance. Offer your dog plenty of shade if the weather is hot or plenty of sun if the weather is chilly or cold. Always try to keep the barking to a minimum no matter where you are, and if you can, travel with the tools to make a penny can or any of your favorite stop barking tools so you can put a stop to it right away if this should start up. Always follow leash laws. Make sure you know if there is any risk that your dog may bite another dog. Remember to always clean up after your dog.
Always be sure your dog is up to date on his shots before traveling even if you are going camping or staying at your friend's or family's home. Today it is becoming common place for many veterinarians to perform a test called a Titers Blood Test. This is a wonderful idea if you have the means to do one. I do one as often as once a year to see what the levels of immunities are in all three of the boys' systems. This way we know how their bodies are processing the vaccines and if it is time for a booster.
Some states do not allow these test results to be used and have not passed this law yet, but here in Los Angeles, California they do. Rabies vaccinations are now allowed every three years instead of every year as it was back in 1984 when I first moved here. No matter what, whenever I go to the groomer, play park or I am traveling, I always make sure my boys are up to date on a vaccine for Bordatella, also known as Kennel Cough, because dogs that get it can become very ill. Senator experienced this once, and I never want to see my dog that sick again.
Here is a quick checklist for you to just keep handy:
Dogs are mandated by law to have these vaccines, no matter what:
- Canine Parvovirus
- Canine Distemper
Optional Core Vaccines
These are more of a voluntary vaccine. However, if you have a senior citizen dog like my Senny that can become ill easily, it is a good idea to think about getting some of these vaccines.
- Influenza Virus
- Lyme Disease vaccine (also known as the Borrelia Burgorferi)
Again, with the second group of vaccines, you should speak with your own vet. If you also incorporate a holistic approach, you really cannot go wrong. I do personally believe in both ways, and then you get the best of both worlds.
Remember all puppies should be tested for worms and be wormed if the test is positive. If your dog gets a bad case of fleas, this could also lead to worms, so if you are going to go camping, please be very sure to be on top of your flea and tick control program. This way, both you and your family can have a wonderful visit and not have any worries.