Dogs are part of our families, so of course, we want to take them on our road trips with us! Pups can make perfect car companions, but if you’ve never traveled long distances with your furry friend, there are some steps to take to make sure your trip is successful for the two-legged and four-legged family members alike. Check out our list below to be completely prepared before your road trip!
Practice with Shorter Trips in the Car
If your dog doesn’t travel around with you often, you should take some shorter trips with them to the park or just driving around the neighborhood. If they are scared of the car, start by just getting them into the car and giving them a treat and work up to going somewhere fun for them, like the dog park. Practice often until they are more comfortable, and if they are still showing signs of anxiety, you can try some calming treats or in extreme cases, some prescription meds from the vet.
Invest in a Seat Belt Restraint or Crate
Your dog should always be restrained in the vehicle, either with a seatbelt harness or in a crate. You wouldn’t allow a child to not be in a car seat or wear a seat belt, so don’t let your dog do it either! This doesn’t just protect your dog, it protects everyone else in the car as well. According to experts, a 60-pound dog traveling at just 35 miles per hour can turn into the equivalent of a 2,700-pound projectile during an accident, which can severely injure both the dog and anyone nearby.
Pack a Bag of Dog Essentials
Your dog needs all of the comforts of home to feel as safe and entertained as possible, which also helps keep them out of trouble. They need travel food and water bowls, a variety of treats, their favorite toys, a leash and harness, potty bags, any necessary medications, and if you are traveling to a colder climate, maybe a sweater or jacket. To keep them entertained in the car to prevent chewing or other misbehavior, long-lasting bones or chews like bully sticks are the perfect solutions.
Take Frequent Potty Breaks
Your dog is going to need plenty of potty breaks and time to stretch their legs, walk around, and work off some of the pent-up energy that builds up from sitting in the car. Make sure you know where any rest stops or parks are along the route so that your dog has a safe area to go potty in. And don’t forget to always clean up after them!
Microchips, Tags, and Shot Records, oh my!
It is so important to take all precautions with your dog, and that includes preparing for the possibility of disaster. Make sure your dog is microchipped before you leave in case your dog gets away from you. Your dog should also wear a collar at all times with rabies tags and contact information, and ensure that they are completely up to date on all shots, just in case they come into contact with sick dogs or any other animals. You should also know of highly rated veterinarian offices in the area for any emergencies.
Research Dog-Friendly Spots at your Destination
If your dog is going on your road trip with you, you’ll need to know lots of dog-friendly places along the journey and at your destination city. There are many hotels that will let your dog stay with you, but some have weight restrictions, so make sure you do your research. There are also lots of restaurants that allow dogs on patios, along with parks and other outdoor areas, so search those out and let your dog join in on all of the fun!
NEVER Leave your Dog in the Car Alone
Whether it’s hot or cold outside, the temperatures in the car can rise or fall to extremes quickly. For example, in just an hour on a sunny 80-degree day, the temperature inside the car can get up to almost 120 degrees. It is never safe to leave your dog in the car, so make sure your dog has somewhere safe to be at all times!