Special Needs


By Car
Many dogs enjoy car rides, especially with the window down, the air blowing across their coats, and the movement, sights and sounds. But some dogs are fearful of car rides or behave in annoying or dangerous ways. You need to take your dog on a few short car rides to understand how it behaves in cars.

Among puppies, it is not unusual for them to become carsick. Like children, their ear canals are not fully developed and it may give them motion sickness. Puppies will outgrow carsickness in time. For little dogs, you may need to place a little doggie bed or restraint on a seat so that they don't fly around when you brake. Some dogs jump all over inside cars and need to be restrained to prevent causing an accident. Some dogs make constant whining noises to express their anxieties. Others bark at every thing and every one that passes by. If your dog doesn't like car rides, you'll need to start doing some training. Give your dog some time to get used to the car when it is parked. Take some short trips to acclimate your dog to the motion and feeling of driving. If your dog jumps around, you'll need to build in some form of constraint or transport your dog in a crate. Just be sure not to plan any long car trips until you are certain your dog can do it.

One other important matter is to remember how easy it is for dogs to overheat in a hot car in the summer. Leaving the windows down may not be enough to keep your dog from dehydrating. If you must leave your dog outside on hot days, be sure it is in the shade exposed to a breeze and has water to drink.

By Plane
Depending on the size of your dog and the distance you are flying, different airlines have different policies regarding dogs. Small dogs can often be taken on the plan in a carrying case as long as it fits under the seat. For shorter trips, your dog may be able to be loaded into a storage or carrier compartment in its crate. If you plan to fly internationally, check with the airline well in advance. Most airlines require extensive documentation and proof of a vet's examination no more than 10 days prior to your trip. Additionally, different countries have quarantine policies related to accepting new pets. Be sure you know all the possibilities before planning to take your pet on a trip. And don't forget to take care of your dog's needs for water, food and elimination throughout the course of your trip.

Seasonal Issues

Hot Weather
Dogs can tolerate weather up to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit without any special considerations. However, intense activity in summer heat and sunlight can cause your dog to overheat. Densely coated, dark-haired dogs tend to overheat from constant exposure to sunlight. To cool down, dogs pant. This requires plenty of moisture for their respiratory systems. Be sure to give your dog plenty of water on hot days and when playing outdoors. You can also spray your dog with water from a hose or let it swim with you. Just be sure to train your dog to make sure it will enter and exit the water when you tell it to and to keep it away from slippery surfaces. If your dog swims in chlorinated water, be sure to rinse it thoroughly before it dries off. In cases of extremely hot weather, limit the amount of time you allow your dog outdoors and keep it comfortable in an air-conditioned space.

Cold Weather
Most dogs can tolerate the typical winter weather temperatures experienced in the U.S. But when the thermometer drops below freezing and the ground is snowy or icy, your dog may need some added help. Small dogs, in particular, can lose body heat quickly so you may need to put some outerwear on your dog for an extra protective layer. Some dogs have problems with their feet sticking to cold and icy surfaces, too. In these cases, doggie booties can be placed on your dog's feet to keep them warm and protected.

Many dogs love playing in the snow. They'll burrow and dig, romp and even eat snow. When you go back inside, make sure you dry off any moisture on your dog to help it get back to a normal body temperature quickly. In extremely cold weather, limit the amount of time your dog spends outdoors.

Finally, if there is a power outage and you lose heat, don't forget to keep your dog warm the same way you keep yourself warm. Let your dog cuddle close to you for body warmth.

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