No one wants to leave their dog behind when they go on vacation. Finding a reputable pet sitter or trustworthy boarding house can be a hassle, and not to mention the fact that we just end up missing them the whole trip. But why go through all this trouble when you can just bring them along? Taking your four-legged friend on a road trip doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. In fact, by just following this handy list of tips, you’ll be on the road to having a successful trip with your furry pals in no time.
Go On A Test Drive Or Two Around Your Town
1. Go on a test drive or two around your town
This road trip may be your dog’s first or second time riding along in a car, and it can be an anxiety-inducing experience for some. A road trip is not the right time to get your dog acquainted with car rides, so do a couple of local test runs to make sure they’ll be comfortable with the long drive. Make it fun for them and stop by places that your pet enjoys, like the park. If you find that your dog is still experiencing anxiety, you might consider packing some calming treats or talking to your vet about medication options.
2. Ensure That Your Dog Is Up-to-date On All Of Their Shots
We hope that routine shots are already a part of your dog’s care, but if you’ve fallen behind, now is the time to get caught up. Because your dog may come in contact with other animals or sick dogs on the trip, you’ll want to take extra precautions. Make sure that your dog’s tags are current and provide the correct contact information, just in case Fido makes his great escape. And for added peace of mind, you might consider getting your dog microchipped if you haven’t already done so.
3. Look Ahead For Places That Welcome Dogs
It’s never fun to bring your dog on a trip only to realize that your destination isn’t pet-friendly. Make sure you look into the pet policies ahead of time with hotels, eateries, roadside stops, and attractions to ensure your dog will be welcomed anywhere you plan on taking them. You’ll also want to check on specifics like weight restrictions or leash requirements.
4. Make a Doggie Essentials Box
The last thing you want is to get on the road and realize that you left the dog food back at home. To avoid things getting left behind, pack all of your dog’s necessities ahead of time so you don’t have to run around last minute trying to remember you should pack. Here’s a nifty starter list of items you’ll probably want to throw in the box:
- Water and food bowls
- Dog food and treats
- Bags for poop
- Collar and leash
- Brush or other grooming supplies, if needed
- Blanket or dog bed
- Chew toys
- Towel for swimming, rain, or cleaning dirty paws
- Booties or sweater, if traveling to a cold climate
- A recent picture of your dog, in case they run away
- Copy of health and vaccination record
- Any medications that your dog takes
- A first aid kit for dogs (read more about this below)
Whew, that probably seems like a lot! However, if you take the time to neatly pack, you shouldn’t run into trouble making extra room for your pup and their stuff!
5. Create A Special First Aid Kit For Your Dog
If your trip includes embarking on some outdoor adventures, it’s especially important to have a small first aid kit handy, just in case your canine gets into some trouble. Here’s a good list of things to start with, but feel free to include whatever you think will help keep your dog in tip-top shape.
- Dishwashing soap for bathing
- Medical tape
- Blunt-end scissors
- Disposable gloves
- Absorbent gauze
- Antibiotic ointment
- Oral syringe
- 3% hydrogen peroxide for inducing vomiting
- Styptic powder
- Small flashlight.
Don’t forget to include the names and phone numbers of vets and emergency hospitals in the areas you’ll be traveling to. It is always better to be prepared for an emergency than to hope one doesn’t happen!
Tips for the Road Trip With Dog
1. Wait to Feed Your Dog
Even if it’s your dog’s normal feeding time, it is not recommended that you give your dog food right before hitting the road. Just like humans, a dog can get car sick. To reduce the risk of vomiting, don’t feed your dog within four hours of leaving. However, DO make sure your dog drinks plenty of water. If you’re not using a travel bowl, get them hydrated whenever you stop.
2. Don’t Let Your Dog Roam Around Freely In The Car
At 35 miles per hour, a 60-pound dog becomes the equivalent of a 2,700-pound projectile. That means that if your dog isn’t properly restrained, even a minor car accident could have disastrous consequences for your pup and those around him. If you don’t already have one, invest in a seatbelt harness or a crate so everyone can travel safely.
3. Stop For Breaks Regularly
You’re not the only one who needs to stop to stretch their legs and go to the restroom while on a road trip. Make an effort to stop for potty breaks often while on the road. Be on the lookout for any of your dog’s typical signs of having to go to the bathroom and pull over when necessary. And if you’re able, give your canine some exercise whenever you stop. Play a quick tug-of-war game or throw the ball a few times so that they spend a little of their pent up energy.
4. Never Leave A Dog Alone In A Hot Car
This may feel like an obvious piece of advice, but it’s that important. Even on days that seem mild, a car can heat up to dangerous temperatures within half an hour. And on hotter days, temperatures can climb to deadly numbers even quicker. Always, always, always make sure your dog has somewhere safe and cool to be if they aren’t with you.
5. And Perhaps The Most Important Piece Of Advice…Have Fun!
Traveling with your dog should be a unique, exciting experience. No matter if you’re gearing up to go on a cross-country journey or just want to see the sights in your state, get ready for lots of laughs, love, and memories when you bring your dog along for the ride!