City Dog in the Country
Do you live in the city? Have you raised your beloved dog in the urban jungle, cement under her paws, taking her for random trips to the nearby park? She has met a variety of people and other dogs yet the only other species she has come to know are pigeons, mice, and cockroaches?
Well you have in your care a genuine ‘city dog’. If you have decided that it is time for you and your canine friend to take a trip to the country to see how dogs and their masters live their lives, here are a few tips:
1. Prepare your dog for the trip:
a. Grooming: Make sure that you give your pet a bath; remove all knots as they are a nesting ground for fleas and ticks; and make sure you trim her nails.
b. Apply a flea/tick ointment; and for additional safety add a non toxic pest control collar.
2. Arrival at your destination:
a. Before you allow your dog to roam free, survey the area for potential dangers. Remember that while your city dog may have great instincts, she has been raised in a completely different environment.
So please check the following:
- Bodies of water: lakes, rivers, streams, ocean fronts, (and for those of us who think that the country is a luxury hotel in a remote place – the swimming pool).
- Terrain: hills, embankments, pits, holes, soft earth, trees, bushes, etc. Observe the area from the dog’s perspective by getting down on the ground so that your eye level is as close to your pet’s as possible. You may think that this is unnecessary, but from experience I highly suggest it. When I took my 3 dogs to the country, I did not survey the grounds before I let them out. My little C.C. Belle ran around the house and before I could stop her she bolted down a small hill and fell off a 3 foot embankment. She landed on her head and went into shock. I took her to the vet immediately where she remained for a few hours under observation. Thankfully, she recovered and the experience taught me a valuable lesson. I decided to lower myself to the ground to see what she saw. At her eye level, I just saw grass. I did not see the curve of a hill, and I did not see the drop off. C.C. Belle was running fast, and even if she had wanted to stop, her momentum carried her forward. From that moment on, I reviewed and observed any place my dogs might go, and determined if the area was safe.
- After you survey the grounds, make any adjustments necessary, such as putting up gates, barriers, or obstructions so that your pet is safe.
- Put your dog on a leash and walk with them around the area so that she is comfortable in her new surroundings.
b. Get the name, address, and phone number of the local vet.- Put the number into your mobile phone.
- Have the directions in your car, purse or bag (especially if mobile phone service or GPS are not available).c. Familiarize yourself with the rules in the area pertaining to pets. This will help with any unnecessary conflicts, and is very helpful when visiting other countries. For example, some parks only permit dogs to enter if they are on a leash; or some airports permit a dog to walk through the terminal once they have passed customs.
3. Your Stay:
a. Bathroom habits of your pet:
- In the city you are very familiar with how frequently your pet needs to go out. You are able to observe if she may have any complications such as a urinary tract infection or diarrhea. In the country you may not be able to closely monitor her habits as she might be running around off leash and playing with far more freedom than in the city. I suggest for the first few days that you train her to relieve herself in a specific location. Most likely, she will return to this spot again, and you will be able to keep an eye out for potential problems. This is important to me because both of my girls are susceptible to urinary tract infections, and all 3 of my dogs have had diarrhea. Their health is important and should not be neglected on holidays.
- Since your dog will be running through grass or near bushes or under trees, make sure that you brush her coat and inspect for pests. While the flea/tick ointment should alleviate this problem, you don’t want any unexpected visitors in your bed or on you.
- Heat: make sure that your pet does not stay in the heat for a long period of time, and has plenty of water available. If possible have them sleep in a cool place.
- Cold: as with heat, make sure they are not exposed to long periods of cold weather. Dress them accordingly depending on the breed.