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Chocolate Havanese

Traveling with your Havanese

Dusty-ready and raring to go Havanese form very strong attachments to their families and would rather be with their people than anywhere else. This tendency, along with their very portable size makes many Havanese an ideal travel companion. Havanese are a well traveled bunch, cruising around the countryside in motor homes with their retired owners or motoring down south to winter in sunny states with snowbird couples. Havanese portability extends to air travel as well as they are small enough to travel in-cabin in small carriers. One such jet-setting Havanese we have heard about flies 6-8 times a year. Another Havanese has traveled coast-to-coast innumerable times tucked in her special bed in the cab of an 18 wheeler riding along with her owners who are long distance truckers. Some lucky Havanese get to spend the day at work with their owners and happily look forward to the daily commute.

All my Havanese love to go for car rides. As soon as I pull out her Sherpa Bag, Cricket quickly grabs a toy and chewie treat and hops right in, waiting to be zipped up and be on her way. I must make sure I pull out her travel bag at the last minute or she will wait patiently in it for up to half an hour and then proceed to waiting impatiently .... barking to speed things up. She knows that car rides take you to fun places and new adventures. She has also learned that long car rides are boring. Now she settles almost instantly and alternates chewing, playing and mostly sleeping to pass the time away. When we arrive at our destination, she is refreshed, alert and raring to go.

Like Cricket, most Havanese love to go for outings whether by car or truck or boat or bicycle. MOST that is but not all! A few Havanese are afflicted with motion sickness. For these unlucky few, travel is stress filled. Excessive panting and drooling, nausea, vomiting and possibly diarrhea are no fun. After a few such episodes, even preparations for travel can cause significant anxiety and lead to a vicious cycle. The majority of Havanese who suffer from motion sickness are puppies under one year old. One of the most common reasons in puppies is a slow development of the inner ear which may lead to vertigo and pressure imbalances causing nausea and discomfort during motion. The inner ear should be completely matured by 9-12 months of age. Owners of motion-sick puppies often note an improvement in symptoms around this time. There can also be a number of other causes for the problem. Perhaps the puppy's first car ride was stress filled. For some puppies, the day they go to their new home is their first car ride. Their next two car rides may be to the Vets office where they get poked and prodded and may also receive painful vaccinations. While most puppies adjust readily, some such puppies may view the car as a source of unpleasantness. There are several remedies that may help relieve motion-sickness including foods, flower essences, homeopathic or herbal remedies as well as medications, therapeutic massage and behaviour modification techniques. All are worth a try, singly and in combination as no single remedy is effective for all Havanese.

Popular remedies for motion sickness include Rescue Remedy, Ginger, Valerian Root, Benadryl, Bonamine and Gravol. Some of these remedies help relieve stress and anxiety, others cause drowsiness and still others relieve nausea and vomiting and help to settle the stomach. Do check with your Vet before trying any medications so they can best advise you about dosage and frequency of administration. Assorted massage techniques and/or Tellington Touch may be very calming and help reduce anxiety and relax a stressed pet; these however are only useful if you are traveling with at least two people. Never try to drive and minister to your pet at the same time. Keep everyone safe and pull over. Behaviour modification is another alternative. This may be a combination of slow acclimatisation to car travel as well as traveling with a confident relaxed companion.On a recent trip, I had occasion to see what a difference such a simple thing can make. Our two traveling companions were my young female and an older male puppy. While Cricket is a happy and relaxed traveler, till now, the young male has not been. Even short car rides for him meant heavy drooling and more often than not, vomiting as well. He hated the car. At home, if the family was going out the front door, he knew that meant a walk so was eager and excited to go along BUT, if they opened the door to the garage instead, he would instantly become stressed and be very reluctant to set foot out that door.These two pups are playmates and see each other often. Lately we have taken the two of them on a few out-of-town trips. Seeing Cricket settle so quickly and so thoroughly enjoy car rides has wrought positive changes to the over-stressed traveler. Dramatic changes happened over the few days we traveled together. After the first day, there was no more vomiting and even the drooling stopped and he became much more relaxed. Every time he got out of the car, things were always enjoyable positive experiences. Car rides started being Ok and then actually fun and finally something to look forward to and get excited about. In fact, his owner tell us that he now bolts out of the door to the garage and waits to get into the car every chance he gets. He has become very fond of traveling now. This happy result is very likely a combination of maturity, acclimatisation and stress reduction.

A combination of methods will usually give the best results. If you have a Havanese who suffers from motion sickness be sure not to scold or punish him for getting sick as that will only increase the stress level. Being prepared will make episodes of car-sickness easier for everyone. Experiment with different travel positions for your dog. Some sensitive Havanese are better in a soft sided carrier or small closed crate, others travel a larger open crate while yet others are more comfortable with simply a seat belt or puppy booster seat. Cover the car seat or crate floor with a washable towel or old sheet. Bring extras to replace soiled ones if needed. Bring paper towels, plastic bags, damp wash cloths and a water bottle for clean up. If your puppy gets sick, stop, calmly clean up and continue on your way. The good news is that most movement sensitive Havanese overcome this problem with maturity and experience.

A few special precautions are advised when traveling with your Havanese. When planning any type of travel take the time to make sure your Havanese is comfortable and accustomed to its travel case before you leave. If traveling by air, check first to see which size and type of carriers and crates are approved for airline travel. Most airlines have restrictions on numbers of in-cabin pets so be sure to check when making your reservations and book early to ensure a space. Having a few toys from home and a familiar blanket will help to make your Havanese more comfortable in his travel accommodations and new surroundings.

All Havanese should have at least one form of permanent identification. If your Havanese is microchipped, it's a good idea to periodically stop in and have it scanned to ensure it is active and that is has not slipped from its original location. Have microchips scanned before any out of town trips and even when not traveling, have them checked at least once a year. When planning your trip, research your destination to find out if there are any additional precautions you need to take to protect your Havanese. For instance, warmer southern climates may recommend Heartworm medication be taken year round as opposed to the 6 months that is the norm here. Depending on the area you will be traveling to, it may be prudent to have a vaccination against Lyme disease or to be prepared for flea or other parasite control. Bring a copy of your Health Certificate and vaccination record. Also the name and contact information for your Veterinarian. In the unfortunate instance that your Havanese is lost while away from home, be sure to have current pictures, pet identification and personal contact information handy. This will greatly facilitate the efforts to reunite you with your pet.

On short trips, it is generally a good idea to bring a supply of water from home or you can use distilled or bottled water to help prevent any digestive upsets. For an extended trip, you may choose to use distilled or bottled water for the length of your stay or you can slowly acclimatize your Havanese to the local water. The same goes for food. Bring enough food to last your entire stay or ensure that the same brand is readily available at your destination. Check ahead of time for any restrictions at hotels/motels and other accommodations. Many facilities happily accept well behaved pets; do be prepared for surcharges or damage deposits that may be required. Be courteous and keep your Havanese under control at all times. Make a positive impression and you will be invited and welcomed on return visits. Obey all leash laws and clean up laws. Its also good forethought to keep a spare leash and collar in the car for any number of situations... like if your puppy happens to chew his leash into several pieces while you aren't looking. Things happen! The more thought and planning you put into your travels, the better your experience will be for both you and your Havanese. Most importantly HAVE FUN!