Dear Melissa and Dr. Sip:
I love knowing about stuff that will make my life traveling with my dogs easier. Aside from all the safety equipment you guys have talked about, what’s out there that just might be handy?
Michael L., Provo, UT
Dr. Sip: Oh, Michael, you have hit on one of our favorite things...cool solutions! We just love it when someone out there has solved a common problem. So now we will tell you about...stuff.
Melissa: Let’s start with this one - how do you give your dog water on a long trip without all the sloshing?
Dr. Sip: There are a number of companies that have come up with this same concept, a contraption that helps trap the water during movement, but also helps with the overall dog slobber while drinking. We haven’t tested them, but the idea is pretty basic.
Melissa: Yes, I’d like to see whether Dr. Sip slobbers less when she drinks out of this bowl. A bowl like this, in one of the safe dog crates we’ve discussed, seems like a match made in heaven. Like Fluffernutters or whatever you’d call a Bulldog and Shih Tzu cross...
Sip: Getting in and out of cars isn’t easy for all dogs. Some may have medical issues that make the leap difficult, or your dog might be stocky, preventing her from making that jump safely. Ramps that fold and fit in your car can be just the ticket.
Melissa: I personally like to direct my dog training students to handy apps or websites that can help them in a pinch. For starters, if you are traveling with your pets for the holidays, make sure that you have access to PetsWelcome.com. This handy website lists all the pet-friendly hotels in the country. You can even search by route!
Dr. Sip: They also list emergency vets and fun places to take a break with your dog! Very cool!
Melissa: Speaking of emergencies, it's always great to keep a first aid kit in the car. In addition to your kit, I highly recommend downloading the APCC (Animal Poison Control Center) app. If you’re out with Fido on a cross-country trip, you might not recognize a plant that Sparky just ate. Having the Animal Poison Control app on your phone at-the-ready can be a lifesaver at home, or on the road.
Dr. Sip: One question I get asked all the time is, “Will a microchip ping my dog if it’s lost?”
Melissa: It won’t. A microchip is scanned with a hand-held scanner and keeps private information secure with a third party.
Dr. Sip: Right. Microchips don’t ping, but there are handy apps that DO ping your dog if it’s lost. It uses GPS technology to find Fido.
Melissa: I love this use of technology! Especially if the dog gets out at a pit stop or gets out of the car when the owner is trying to grab the leash! Continue microchipping your pets, but I love the added level of protection.
Melissa: I might put the PodTracker on my car keys.
Dr. Sip: Or your actual car. Or your kid. Or your phone. Not saying you're forgetful, but where are your glases right now?
Melissa: Um...I left them right….here? Oh, Shih Tzu!
Dr. Sip: You can help Melissa by sending her a GPS tracker to Car Talk Plaza. She’s been a good girl and the holidays are coming up…
Melissa: While I’m not entirely sure why the photographer for this product decided to torture this poor, obviously hungry dog with an open bag of treats, an organizer can help you find Sparky’s gear in a pinch. If you do use this organizer, or something like it, make sure that you keep all edibles stored somewhere Sparky can’t get to.
Dr. Sip: You could use something like this food storage, food dish and water dish combo.
The dishes are dishwasher safe (though you have to wash the container by hand). It’s also portable and should fit nicely in an easy to access space if you need to feed your pup on the road.
Melissa: I hope we gave you some good tips, Michael! We’ll keep our eyes out for more fun products for future posts.
Dr. Sip: If you have products relating to pets and travel that you’d like us to review, send them to Car Talk Plaza (you know the drill!) or email us silly pet travel stuff you come across. We might use your ideas for future posts!
The $30,000 Kennel is not tested by the Center for Pet Safety nor will it fit in your car. That said, we couldn’t NOT include it in this post with gadgets and things for Fido. It has a hot tub, television, and paw controlled treat dispenser! No word yet on the travel sized edition for dogs, or people.
More about Melissa (who wrote a book about living with city dogs) and Dr. Sip (who is a practicing vet in Berkeley, CA) can be found here.