Plan ahead for summer travel with your dog

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The summer brings opportunities for families to travel with their dogs. If you are going to visit other family, their space might not be conducive for either large dogs or even new puppies whose behavior is not yet socially acceptable.

What to do?

Travel with a puppy playpen or exercise pen. They come in metal, plastic and canvas fabric and a variety of heights. You can put several together to increase the space.

These are collapsible and pack easily and keep your dog safe and confined both indoors and outside.

Need more space? My family travels with a portable wireless fence system. It plugs in anywhere, doesn't need in-ground wiring, and you can place flags around to indicate your dog's temporary new boundaries.

Your dog can safely stay outside if he has been pre-trained to invisible fencing and knows how to respond to collar and flags.

This system can be used in a campground if it has electric outlets. This means you can take your dog hiking and camping.

You will also need a long leash (rope style is good, and if nylon or poly it doesn't get tangled in brush), life vest if swimming or water retrieving, Frisbee or ball toys, towels, insect spray, portable water bottles and bowls, Doggles, sunscreen, a cooling collar, a lighted collar or light attached to a leash.

You might also take a dog backpack, pet first-aid kit, brush, shampoo, flea and tick medications, and even booties depending on the terrain or heat of the ground.

For car travel, a crate, pet barriers, car seat, seat belt restraints, etc. will keep your dog safe. Don't leave your dog in a locked hot car even for a short time.

If some of your plans don't allow for your dog, a dog-friendly motel room or even a local pet boarding facility in the place you are visiting might help for doggie daycare or overnight boarding.

Wherever you are bound, you can at least consider taking your pet with you if you check ahead at various chain hotels. They will often accept well-behaved pets for free or with a pet deposit.

An exercise pen keeps them from being destructive in those strange rooms.

Pack plenty of their regular food as you might not be able to buy it around the country.

Bring your vaccine records with you and make sure all the dog's medication is on hand.

A rabies tag and a tag with your cell number are critical.

For travelers, having your dog microchipped is a very good idea.

If staying home, there are plenty of local adventures for your dog, such as day hikes, the beach in the early morning or late evening, various parks, backyard dog parties for her buddies, playtimes, the sandbar on the May River and more.

Include your dog whenever you can and you won't feel guilty when you do have to go away and leave him home.

Have a great summer!

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. ajbird@hargray.com

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