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Traveling with Your Shar-Pei©by Sherry Munsell

Traveling with your Chinese Shar-Pei

Vacation season is a wonderful time and can be more enjoyable if you take your Chinese Shar-Pei along with you. As you prepare for a trip, consider what is needed when traveling with your K-9 family member. If you plan ahead, this can be an extremely enjoyable experience for everyone, including your Chinese Shar-Pei.

Before You Travel

It is a good idea to get these things from your vet:
  1. If you are going any distance from home or if you are going to another country, a health certificate is a good thing to have with you., especially if your Shar-Pei has any special health problems.
  2. If your dog’s special health problems need regular medication or special care, have the care and medication fully documented in case you would be unable to explain the situation to someone who might have to care for your Shar-Pei.
  3. Be sure all shots (especially rabies) are up to date and have paperwork from your vet with you to show proof of these shots.
  4. If you are traveling to warmer climates, have your heartworm medication started if you do not give it year round. This can be a very dangerous condition and is found in most parts of the United States.

Your Shar-Pei Should Always Wear:

  1. A name/phone number tag with a number where someone will be home to answer the phone while you are gone!, It does no good to have a dog with a phone number that never gets answered or is answered by someone who has no means of contacting you when you are traveling with your pet.
  2. Rabies tags should be on the dog’s collar and copies of the vet’s certificate paperwork in the car.

Dog Crate/Seat Belt

If something would happen and you have to quickly step on the brakes, or make a sharp turn, the crate or seat belt protects your Shar-Pei from being thrown around in the car and possibly hurt. Another consideration is that your dog might get out of the car if a fender bender occurred. When an animal is frightened, the natural reaction is to run. If your Shar-Pei was to dash into the traffic, he might be hit by another car. This would make a minor fender bender become something very dangerous for your Shar-Pei and frightening for you.

Another thing to consider is the possibility that you might have an accident and be injured. Your Shar-Pei’s natural instinct would be to protect you. If a paramedic wanted to help you, it is very possible that your dog would not let them. Under this situation, it would be a distinct probability that your Shar-Pei might have to be disabled so the officials could care for you. Don’t take a chance! Having a crate or canine seat belt in the car is a small inconvenience for the safety it can provide for your canine friend. Many Shar-Pei actually bat at the crates with their paws if the doors aren’t open. They want in "their house.” They are "den” animals and this is a safe place to them. They feel secure riding there.

Water from Home/Bottled Water

Strange water may cause diarrhea in your Shar-Pei and that is not wonderful in the car on a trip. If you have to deal with this situation once, you will never want to deal with it again. Be sure that you have plenty of water with you – traveling in a vehicle with the sun coming in can cause your pup to drink extra water. Drinking extra water results in extra stops for walking dogs and the extra time involved. Remember to take this into consideration when planning your trip.

Dog Food and Dish

When you travel, feed your Shar-Pei at least an hour before you start to travel each day. This tends to cause less chance of car sickness. Some dogs never experience this illness, but others have it every trip they take. If your Shar-Pei has trouble with car sickness, some ginger or ginger ale in his water will help settle his stomach. This works for people too!

When you stop for the day, have a short play/relaxing time before you feed your pup. This will be an enjoyable time from both of you and will relax your Shar-Pei before he eats. If the trip appears to be stressing your Shar-Pei, don’t feed him as much each day. A few biscuits during the day will help hold off hunger pains during the trip.

First Aid Kit

Emergency Vet care is not always as easy to find as an emergency room for people. It is a good idea to carry a Canine First Aid Kit with the necessary things for emergency care. Some things to include are: prescribed medications, antibiotic or first aid cream, disinfectant, ointment for cuts or ear infections, gauze bandages, adhesive tape, Pepto Bismol for diarrhea, aspirin, thermometer, Q-tips, wet wipes, wash cloths, towels, an ice pack, soap, scissors and any other items which you use on a regular basis at home. Remember to take along some soft cheese or other food to give pills if necessary.

Tack Box

It’s always a good idea to have one box (a fishing tackle box or small tool box works well) where all of your dog things for travel are kept. Then if you go out for the day with your Chinese Shar-Pei, you can just grab the box and you know that you are all set. With this box and your K-9 first aid kit you have all emergencies covered.

This tack box should contain items such as: extra collars and leashes, dog license paperwork, brush/comb or any other grooming tools, plastic bags and paper towels to clean up after your dog. It is also a good idea to carry something to trim nails, either nippers or a grinder, just in case of a torn nail. Shampoo is always good to have along, in case you need to bathe your Shar-Pei while on the road. Some treats are a welcome addition also.

Special Things for Your Shar-Pei

Special toys or bones to chew on while traveling, are always a good idea, such as the sterilized white bones, rope chew toys and flavored Nylabones. Traveling can be boring for them also! An extra rug or blanket for the crate is a good idea in case water spills or an accident occurs in the crate. A few extra treats never hurt to hold off the hunger pains until you stop for the evening.

Paperwork for your Chinese Shar-Pei

You should always carry the following:
  1. Copies of rabies vaccination records. (Keep the originals in a safe place at home.) Make copies for each of the dogs and laminate them. This protects them from being damaged while you travel.
  2. Copies of the AKC Registration papers and a current photograph of your dog. These too will hold up better if laminated. These papers and pictures are very helpful in case your Shar-Pei gets loose and you need to show people what it looks like, or if case you need identification when he is found.
  3. A complete list of the food, medication and any other pertinent information about your Chinese Shar-Pei. If something should happen to you in transit and someone that does not know your pet needs to care for it, a list with brand of dog food, times of feedings, medications, exercise routines, etc. will help ease your pet’s life if you are not there to take care of it. A second copy of this is always handy to be kept at home in case you are unable to care for your dog there.

Plan Your Trip Ahead

Remember that traveling with your Shar-Pei will take longer and involve additional planning the first time you do it. After that first trip, it is just as easy as grabbing the first aid kit, the tack box and dog food.

When planning, the first thing you should do is make sure you have a hotel or other accommodations that will allow your Shar-Pei to stay in your room with you. Many are very accommodating when you tell them that your canine companion sleeps in a crate each night. Some may request a larger room deposit or credit card to protect their rooms, but generally, they return it when they inspect you room at the time you check out.

If something is damaged, such as a TV Remote control or an accident occurs, it is always a good idea to notify them immediately. When they discover the problem after you leave, they will not be as accommodating as they are when you tell them about it when it occurs.

In the hotel the crates serve a dual purpose. They will be a familiar home for your Chinese Shar-Pei, but also many dogs won’t bark at night when someone goes by the room talking. When they are in their crates, they don’t feel the responsibility to warn and protect their owners as they do when they are loose in the room. They are off duty!

Plan Extra Time For Your Trip

Traveling with a dog involves more time, than when you go by yourself. You will need to walk dogs several times at rest tops. Be sure to look for the dog walking areas and take those plastic bags along! If you clean up after your dogs when necessary, you will certainly be welcomed back. If you don’t clean up after your dog, no one is going to be very happy to see you come again. Remember this when you are at the hotel also.

Your Shar-Pei needs to get out and move just like you do. Riding for a long time can make them stiff, just as it does you. Train them to get out, run around real quick, do their business and automatically head back to the car. Flexi-leads are great for this! They allow your Shar-Pei more room to run. Just be sure that your beloved Shar-Pei doesn’t jump on others using the rest area. Not everyone loves dogs as much as you do!

Most dogs love to travel when it becomes a routine. As long as they know what to expect, they respond in a very positive way. Routine, even on the road, is important.

Enjoy Your Trip!

As you know, when you have "wrinkle dogs” the entire world wants to stop, ask questions and pet them. This is a wonderful opportunity for you, your Shar-Pei and the folks who meet you. Many times these folks have never seen a live Shar-Pei, only pictures. They have many questions and generally are very excited about talking with you and petting your Pei. This is an opportunity to let the public know what wonderful pets these dogs make and to let them know that squishing wrinkles is a wonderful thing.

It is a good opportunity for your Shar-Pei to be socialized and they love the attention. It won’t be long, before they are looking for people to pet them and play with them every time you get out of the car. Traveling will be a wonderful experience for all of you. You meet some really nice people that way!

Take advantage of it! Happy Traveling!!

Information provided by Sherry Munsell, Southeastern Keystone Chinese Shar-Pei Club.

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