Traveling with Your Pooch
by Eileen Barish

Have you often wondered whether your dog is well treated when you leave him at a kennel? How often have you returned home only to find that your healthy dog has been exposed to kennel cough or worse? How often have you fretted about finding a trustworthy person to come to your home as a pet caregiver?
Taking your dog along eliminates these often expensive arrangements. And think of the added enjoyment and sense of safety you'll experience.

Is My Pooch Vacation-Friendly? Most dogs can be excellent traveling companions. Naturally, the younger they are when you accustom them to traveling, the more quickly they will adapt. But that doesn't mean that an older dog won't love vacationing with you. And it doesn't mean that the transition has to be difficult.
Of course, every pooch is different. And you know yours better than anyone. To be sure that he will travel like a pro, accustom him to strange environments. Take him for long walks around your neighborhood. Let him accompany you while you do errands. If your chores include stair climbing or taking an elevator, take him along. The more exposure the better: to people, places, and things. Make your pets worldly. The sophistication will pay off in a better behaved, less frightened pet. It won't be long until he will happily share travel and vacation times with you.

Lodging Guidelines For You and Your Pooch
Conduct yourself in a courteous manner, and you'll continue to be welcome anywhere you travel. Never do anything on vacation with your pooch that you wouldn't do at home. Some quick tips follow that can make traveling with your pooch more enjoyable.

1.Don't allow your dog to sleep on the bed with you. If that's what your dog is accustomed to doing, take along a sheet or favorite blanket and put that on top of the bedding provided by your lodging.

2. Bring a towel or small mat to use under your dog's food and water dishes. Feed your dog in the bathroom where cleanup is easier should accidents occur.

3. Try to keep your dog off the furniture. Take along a washable lint and hair remover to remove unwanted hairs.

4. When you walk your dog, carry plastic bags and/or paper towels for clean up.

5. Always keep your dog on a leash on the hotel/motel grounds.

Can My Pooch Be Left Alone in the Room?
Only you know the answer to that. If your dog is not destructive, if he doesn't bark incessantly, and the hotel allows unattended dogs, you might consider leaving him in the room for short periods of time-say, when you dine out. In any case, hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door to alert the chambermaid or anyone else that your room shouldn't be entered. Consider doing the following when you plan to leave your dog unattended:

1. Walk or otherwise exercise your pooch. An exercised dog will fall asleep more easily.

2. Provide a chew or toy.

3. Turn on the TV or radio for audio/visual companionship.

4. Make sure there is an ample amount of fresh water available.

5. Calm your dog with a reassuring goodbye and a stroke of your hand.

What and How Do I Pack for My Pooch?
Just as many children (and adults, I might add) travel with their own pillow, your pooch will also enjoy having his favorites with him. Perhaps you'll want to include the blanket he sleeps with or his favorite toy or chew. Not only will the familiar items make him feel more at ease but he'll have a toy along to keep him occupied and give him something to do.
To keep things simple from vacation to vacation, I use two travel bags which I restock at the end of each vacation. That way, I'm always prepared for the next one. You'll want to include some or all of the following:

Special tip: When you're hiking with your dog, large Zip-lock bags make great portable water bowls. Just roll down the sides to form a bowl and add water.

10 Reasons Why Dogs Are Good for
Your Health

Adding a dog to your household can improve your health and that of your family. In particular, dogs seem to help the very young and seniors. The following are based on various studies.

1. People over 40 who own dogs have lower blood pressure. Twenty percent have lower triglyceride levels. Talking to dogs has been shown to lower blood pressure as well.

2. People who own dogs see their doctor fewer times than those who don't.

3. Dogs have been shown to reduce depression, particularly in seniors.

4. It's easier to make friends when you have a dog. Life is more social with them.

5. It's healthier too. Seniors with dogs are generally more active because they walk more.

6. Dogs are friends. Here again, seniors seem to benefit most.

7. Dogs can help older people deal with the loss of a spouse. Seniors are less likely to experience the deterioration in health that often follows the stressful loss of a mate.

8. Dogs ease loneliness.

9. Perhaps because of the responsibility of dog ownership, seniors take better care of themselves.

10. Dogs provide a sense of security to people of all ages.

From Doin' California With Your Pooch!, by Eileen Barish. 1996 by Eileen Barish. Illustrations by Gregg Myers. Excerpted by arrangement with Pet-Friendly Publications. $19.95. Available in local bookstores, or call 800-496-2665.