The summer solstice is Saturday, and everyone at Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter hopes you have a wonderful summer planned for yourself and your pets.

If you are planning on taking a trip with your dog this summer, here are tips to plan a happy travel experience for you and your pooch.

  • If your dog has not traveled distances with you before, take him on increasingly longer drives to fun places before your trip so he associates drives with something he likes to do.

  • The cargo area of your SUV, van or hatchback is the safest place for your dog. Set up a nice spot for her, with a familiar bed or blanket and some favorite toys. A wire grate that holds your dog in the cargo area is necessary so she doesn't jump over the back seat and is protected if you must stop suddenly.

  • If you don't have a cargo area, secure your back seat so your dog can travel safely there. Most pet stores sell canine safety belts to keep your dog secure. Dogs should never travel in the front seat of cars, even with a safety belt. It is too dangerous and distracting for the driver and dog.

  • Keeping your vehicle windows open helps prevent motion sickness, however allowing your dog to hang out the window is dangerous. We've heard so many stories of dogs that have fallen out of car windows during sharp turns or at sudden stops.

  • Dogs should not travel long distances in the beds of pickup trucks because of the exposure to sun and wind, and for even short distances they should be tethered securely.


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  • Another way to prevent motion sickness is to withhold food from your pet for at least five hours before travel. Take frequent breaks (at least every two hours) to allow your dog to stretch his legs, drink some water and use the toilet.

  • Keep your dog's collar and identification tags on at all times while in the car and taking breaks. And, always pack enough water, food, toys and poop bags for your beloved canine pal.

    Enjoy your safe travels!

    Pet Of The Week: MARTIN is a sweet friendly neutered male looking for a rabbit-savvy family. He and SPECKLES are two rabbits that have lived in the shelter for almost a year.

    Dog Alley: There are 13 available dogs at the shelter. RED is a red Pomeranian mix about 7 months old that is a very handsome puppy. SPUD is a very cute little black-tan Chihuahua mix. He's about 1 year old.

    Cat Lair: There are 14 available cats at the shelter. CERSEI, TYRION, CATELYN, JAIME, BLINKY and BRIENNE are all 2 months old and adorable little kittens.

    RABBIT ROW: DULCE is a black New Zealander, CUBBY is a handsome brown rabbit and SQUASH is a good-looking gray fellow. All of the rabbits have been neutered.

    Mim Carlson is executive director of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. Visit the shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, call 510-337-8565 or visit www.alamedaanimalshelter.org to view the animals.