Safe Summer Traveling With Your Dog
Edison On Tour, Part 2
Each week, my deaf dog Edison and I hit the streets of Miami, hunting down and shooting photos of street art and graffiti. Here in Miami, the year-round temperature is either hot or hotter, so we’re accustomed to working outside in the heat. My formal vet tech education and work experience have taught me how to quickly identify the warning signs of overheating and heat stroke, which gives me peace of mind when I’m crawling the streets with a deaf dog, a camera and a bottle of water (yes, I’m literally crawling the streets, but more on that in a minute!). My training and experience were invaluable on our recent street art tour, when temperatures frequently climbed into the 90s- which is why I’m sharing some tips for safe summer traveling with your dog.
Edison On Tour, Day Two
Two weeks ago, I shared the first in a series of three blog posts recapping my deaf dog Edison’s first street art tour, which took us on a 700-mile mad dash trip through 3 different hotels in 4 different cities in 4 days.
Since Red Roof isn’t just pet friendly but pet welcoming- and yes, pet people DO know the difference!- I was excited that Red Roof wanted to sponsor our very first street art tour. Apparently, they dig street art and artists as much as they love pets!
The first stop on our tour was West Palm Beach, FL. Though the temperatures were high that day and we had to take a few breaks in the shade of an outdoor cafe, those temperatures were nothing compared to what was waiting for us in Orlando.
On the second day of the tour, we hit the road early so we could arrive in Orlando mid- to late morning before the temperatures climbed dangerously high, and it was in Orlando when my knowledge of overheating, heat stroke and how to safely spend time outside with your dog in high temperatures really helped me keep Edison safe.
But Why Safe Summer Traveling With Your Dog?
I adore street art, graffiti and the artists who bare their their souls in deeply personal, confessional art in the public space for all the world to see. I still get chills when I discover artistic calls for social justice in hidden unexpected places. And there is a beauty in the colorful chaos of graffiti that inspires me.
If I can’t paint, then I can at least fanboy the art (and artists), shoot photos, share them on social media and promote the artists.
As true as all this is, and as deep as my love for street art flows, Edison and his health always come first. So, when it comes to working with him outside in excruciatingly high temperatures, my first priority is Edison, his comfort and his well-being.
If that means we take extra breaks or can’t get to all the walls on our list, so be it. And the hard truth about our time in Orlando is that, with temperatures in the very high 90s, it was just too hot to safely flick many photos of Edison with street art.
Since knowledge is power, here are some of the signs of overheating and heat stroke in dogs. Keep these in mind for safe summer traveling with YOUR dog!
Signs of Overheating/ Heat Stroke in Dogs
Heat stroke is a medical condition that is always considered an emergency, so it’s important to know the early warning signs that your dog is getting too hot or may be experiencing heat stroke. Though this list isn’t comprehensive, these are some common warning signs that the average pet parent can easily identify so he or she can take action:
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Red gums or tongue
- Vomiting blood
- Laying down and resistance to moving
- Wobbly, uncoordinated movement
- Collapsing or unconsciousness
Safe summer traveling with your dog means you should know and be watching for these warning signs. You should also talk to your vet about other warning signs specific to your dog. If you notice these, get your dog in a cool place and get him to a vet as soon as possible.
TRAVEL TIP! When traveling with your dog, identify 24-hour emergency veterinary clinics or hospitals along your route so you don’t have to waste precious time in the event of an emergency, including heat stroke!
5 Tips For Safe Summer Traveling With Your Dog
Know Your Dog!
Each dog has a different tolerance level for high temperatures. Listen to what your dog is telling you and respect his need for breaks in the shade or a cool, indoor place. One way Edison tells me the ground is too hot is by hesitating or flat out refusing to stand still or sit. When this begins to happen, we take a break or call it a day!
If It’s Too Hot For You, It’s Too Hot For Your Dog!
Be aware of how hot the ground and pavement is. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s definitely too hot for your dog. When I’m flicking photos of Edison with street art, I’m usually on the ground- sitting, crawling- see, I told you!- or splayed out trying to get the perfect shot. When the ground is too hot for my hands or body or if I can feel the heat of the ground through my clothes, we take a break until it cools down in the evening or come back another day.
Bring LOTS of Water!
Though we traveled with a couple gallons of fresh water, re-filling them along the way, when Edison and I were out in the streets exploring new cities and new (to us) street art murals, I carried a large bottle of water in my backpack. Oh, and don’t forget a water bowl too! Collapsible, travel bowls can be your dog’s best friend when traveling, working or exercising outside in the summer sun and heat. Of course, during our frequent breaks at outdoor cafes, Edison needed a large cup of fresh ice water because, well, Princess Prissypants!
Take Lots of Breaks!
When working, playing or exercising outside in high temperatures, take frequent breaks in a cool environment. Jump in your car and crank the A/C for a few minutes if you have too! And whenever possible, engage in outdoor activities in the early morning or early evening when temperatures are lower. Also, keep your outdoor play or exercise sessions short. If the temperature is high, try going outside several times a day for 5-10 minutes instead of once a day for an hour.
And Finally… Stay At Pet Welcoming Hotels!
Two weeks ago, I wrote in great detail about all the benefits of staying at Red Roof when traveling with your dog. Pets stay free at 500+ locations, there’s never a pet deposit, their pet stations are always clean…these are just some of the reasons that Edison’s street art tour turned us into a Red Roof Family.
But for me personally, one of the biggest reasons I recommend staying at Red Roof when traveling with your dog is that they aren’t just pet friendly, they are pet welcoming. What do I mean by this? Well, there’s something you should know about Edison…
He’s a junkie for a scratch behind the ears or a belly rub, and at each Red Roof location where we stayed, the front desk and housekeeping team members were happy to oblige! Everyone genuinely seemed excited to meet Edison and they took a few minutes out of their day to stop, lean down and say hi.
I know from personal experience that this doesn’t happen at every “pet friendly” hotel. There is a difference between pet tolerant and pet friendly- and yes, pet parents can tell the difference. I also know from personal experience that when Red Roof says they are pet friendly, they mean it!
Every dog deserves some adoration and pampering on vacation- and some dogs, like Edison, demand it. When traveling with your dog, do your dog a favor and book a room at Red Roof!
Coming Up Next…
After a long haul from West Palm Beach to the Red Roof Inn Orlando West – Ocoee and creatively working around the overwhelming heat in Orlando, we grabbed a few hours of sleep and hit the road early. Edison and I were off to St. Petersburg and I was stoked to shoot some walls I’ve been wanting to see for awhile. Watch this space for our adventures and photos from St Petes!
How do YOU know when your dog is too hot?
What warning signs do you watch for when you’re outside with your dog?
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