Taking a road trip is a great way to holiday and spend quality time with the family. So why leave your dog behind when you take that next trip away? Having dog-friendly travel shouldn’t have to be a hustle for anyone. Here is a list of tips and tricks to make road tripping with your dog more enjoyable for everyone.
What’s the biggest challenge of having a pet dog at home? As any pet parent and the most common answer will be – traveling with your dog. Of course, they fill your life with happiness, laughter, and cuddles. But they put you in a dilemma every time you plan a trip with your friends and family.
Of course, you can’t leave your dog alone at home while you enjoy a relaxing beach vacation. But bringing them along on your trip isn’t easy either. Things can become particularly challenging if you have an anxious or fearful dog.
But that shouldn’t stop you from making travel plans. In fact, if you judiciously plan a trip, you can bring your dog with you and make sure they have fun too. You just have to know the right way to prepare for a trip with them.
If your dog has been averse to the idea of travel, taking them on a road trip might be a good idea. This is because it gives you more control over the journey and ensures that your dog is comfortable. You can make plenty of pit stops, play around with your dog, and even let them enjoy their favorite music in the car.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at a few useful tips to help you have fun on your next road trip with your canine friend. Let’s get started.
Tips For a Great Dog Friendly Road Trip
Whether you are looking for cabins or campgrounds, using websites like Tripadvisor, PetFriendly Travel, and Hyatt hotels can help you find suitable places to visit. Look for the location of dog-friendly beaches and forests and access to national Parks and recreation areas.
Before you take off, check your dog’s tolerance to car travel. Some dogs adapt well and, after the initial excitement, often fall asleep. Unfortunately, dogs can get motion sickness. If your dog suffers from car sickness, start with short trips to build up your dog’s tolerance. You could also speak to your veterinarian for advice on antinausea medication. Also, make sure to pack enough staple food, dog sure will love it!
Safety is the most important thing to consider for your dog. The safest place for your dog to travel is in the back seat, with a harness restraint clipped into the seat belt. A harness rather than a collar will prevent serious neck injuries if you have a car accident. Some people prefer to use a crate, but ensure this is secured to prevent it from tipping over.
I highly recommend microchipping your dog as it is a permanent Identification. Have an extra dog ID tag with an alternate phone number in case your dog gets lost, and you are out of phone range. A photo of your dog will help a search party.
5. Check with Your Vet
You shouldn’t take your dog on a road trip without first confirming if they’re physically fit. It’s important that you take them for a routine checkup with your go-to veterinarian. Let them know about your upcoming travel plans and ask if it’s okay to take your dog on the trip.
Your vet should be able to identify any underlying physical or mental health issues that might worsen on the trip. Also, they can check whether your dog is up-to-date on important vaccinations. They can even recommend specific vaccines depending on where you’re planning to travel.
This is also a good time to ask the doctor about any preventive or palliative medicines you need to stock. For instance, if your dog has anxiety, the vet might recommend a few doses of drugs, such as fluoxetine and clomipramine before the trip.
Take a copy of your vaccinations. If you decide to use a doggy daycare or pet minding service, they may ask for vaccination records. Take along your dog’s medications, as you may not be able to get them on the road.
6. On the road
Once you are on the road, plan to stop every 2, 3 hours. Give your dog a chance to stretch his legs, have a toilet break, a treat, and a drink of water. Before getting your dog out of the car, have the leash attached, as dogs can bolt and may run in front of traffic.
Be mindful of the outside temperature. Dog are very sensitive to hot temperatures. Travel with the air conditioner on, put the windows down to let the breeze in, and park in the shade when you stop. Don’t leave your dog in the car! This is very dangerous and your dog can die from heatstroke very quickly. Consider a sunshade on the back window if you travel on hot days. If you are going to the snow, consider a warm jacket and even some doggy boots.
8. Go for a Test Drive
Before you plan a long road trip with your dog, it’s important that you familiarize them with the idea of sitting traveling in a car. The easiest way of doing this is to use a step-by-step approach and reward them after completing every step.
For instance, on the first day, you could just take your dog near the car and give them a treat afterward. The next day, make them sit inside the car for a few minutes. Depending on how they react to the car, you can take them out for a short drive around the neighborhood.
If your dog adjusts well to the process, the next step is to plan a short trip with them. It could just be a drive to a dog park a couple of blocks away from your house. Also, don’t forget to reward your dog after each step.
9. Stock Enough Medication
The last thing you want to do on a trip is to hunt for your dog’s medicines in a new city or town. If your dog suffers from any chronic health condition, ask your vet to prescribe sufficient medicines for the entire trip.
Also, check with the vet about medication for motion sickness, anxiety, ticks, infections, and various emergencies. If you don’t have the time to go to a pet store or clinic to fetch these medicines, you can order them online on PetCareRx.com. This is also a good time to order supplies for a handy pet first-aid kit.
10. Plan Your Route & Itinerary
You can’t go on a road trip without first checking the route and planning a tentative itinerary. This is all the more important when your canine friend is accompanying you on the journey. Once you have a clear idea of the route, check the weather and road conditions.
Also, find out if there are enough pet-friendly places to make pit stops during the trip. Check for open areas, such as parks, where your pet can relieve himself or herself.
Likewise, if you intend to be on the road for more than a day, make sure you design a dog-friendly itinerary. The key is to give your dog enough time to recover from the exhaustion and stress of a day-long car ride.