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On old dogs and road-trip tips

Dear Fisher:

I feel like an old dog. Pretty soon it's going to be hot out there, and my boy always wants to play like it's no big deal. I am older, and I really enjoy resting around the air-conditioned house. But I sure don't want to disappoint the lad. He's still young and full of energy, and I am his best friend in the world. Got any ideas?


You may be a little on the older side, but you are right not to overdo it in the heat of summer. My advice is to get up a little earlier each day — before the sun is bearing down and the humidity curls your hair even more.

If your boy is a slow starter, egg him on and do your puppy-hearted best to get him moving with you. A small boy who loves his dog is just as eager to please as you are. He just isn't aware that too much play can be harmful to you.

Here are some hot weather tips for dogs from

• Always know where your next gulps of water are, and never go romping out in the heat just after a meal. Stay off hot sidewalks if you are a city guy, and if you have your own yard, play in the grass, preferably under a big shade tree.

• Don't go to the beach — no shade trees there!

• As soon as you feel yourself overheating or dehydrating, grab your comb and coax the boy into the house for some quiet grooming time.

• Get a haircut if your coat is thick, but never get it shaved down to the skin, lest you join the rest of the sunburned crowd.

• Keep your walks to a minimum during the high-heat parts of the day and do not stand around on hot asphalt. That can heat up your body very fast and your sensitive paw pads could burn.

• By all means, stay alert for signs of overheating, which can include excessive panting and drooling, mild weakness and elevated body temperature. Sound serious? It is if left unattended, so keep a check on your activities.

• Repeat in the evening as the breezes come up and the sun goes down. Stay safe and happy!

Dear Fisher:

I love summertime and the road trips I take with my family, but sometimes I cause a few problems for them. About three or four hours into the trip, it happens. All of a sudden my stomach just turns, and "AAAAAAARRF" — I make a mess in the back seat. I never have this problem on our short trips. What can I do?


Thanks to the remarkable description of your problem, I fully understand your concern. The solution is quite simple.

It is common for humans to overcompensate for any meals you may miss while traveling long distances. Their solution is usually to load you up with an extra-big breakfast just before that early break out of town. This process naturally disrupts your own normal intake and output, if you know what I mean. The timing and the excitement of the trip only add to the problem.

Somehow you will need to refrain from eating everything they put in front of you and concentrate more on preparing for your trip. Here are a few suggestions, courtesy of

• Check directly with the hotel you are staying at to make sure they accept pets.

• Also check on emergency veterinary clinics in the area where you're headed.

• Make sure you have all the required vaccinations, and take your papers.

• Make arrangements for car travel safety, i.e. sudden stop protection.

• Never let anyone leave you alone in a hot car!

Remember now — just a small snack plus all that excitement is plenty to get you through the first four hours. Your people will definitely get more involved with your plan when they see the remarkable difference in the back seat.

— Fisher lives in Tampa Bay with her humans and loves to give advice. Send questions and a photo to [email protected] or visit

On old dogs and road-trip tips 04/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 1:28pm]
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