Dog is My Co-pilot: Road Trip Tips for Traveling with your Canine Companion
Embarking on a road trip with your dog is an adventure that creates unforgettable memories and helps to strengthen the special bond between you and your four-legged family. Whether you're headed to a breathtaking national park, a scenic beach, or simply exploring, traveling with your dog requires some extra planning and preparation. Here are some tips to help you have a successful and enjoyable trip, before you even grab the leash and buckle up.
Are you even the least bit surprised that "Plan Ahead" is the first tip? ;)
Start by researching and mapping out your route. Check that each place you plan on stopping is pet friendly. If you don't see pet friendly on the website, give them a call. Get an idea of where rest areas and parks are.
Pack your supplies, including food, water, medications, treats, leash, weather appropriate dog clothing (rain coat, sweater, etc), collar with ID tags, bedding, toys, towel, poop bags, and a first aid kit.
Is your dog healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations? If the answer is NO, then you need to schedule a trip to the vet before hitting the road.
It's also important to be prepared for motion sickness, anxiety, and having plenty of any prescription medications that your fur-baby uses.
Get Your Dog Comfortable with the Car
If your pup doesn't regularly go for car rides, it's important to gradually acclimate your dog to the car by taking short drives and increasing the duration. Use positive reinforcement, treats, praise, and more treats to create positive associations with the car.
-Have your pup eat every meal in the car while it's parked at home
-Go for short drives to get a pup cup or chicken nuggets
-Play fetch with your pup running through the car
-Take short trips to the local pet supply store
Use a secure and comfortable crate, carrier, or seat belt harness to restrain your dog in the car. Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car, as temperatures can rise quickly and vehicle thefts happen, even when there's a dog present.
Plan stop for 15-30 minutes, every few hours, to allow your dog to stretch their legs, have a bathroom break, and hydrate. Look for pet-friendly rest areas or parks where your dog can safely explore and get some exercise.
Stay Hydrated and Fed
Keep fresh water available for your dog during the journey. Using spill-proof bowls helps you to keep your hands on the wheel if you and your pup are journeying solo.
It's important to stick to your dog's regular feeding schedule to help your pup enjoy the trip with minimal stress, while also avoiding feeding your dog large meals before travel to prevent motion sickness.
Comfort and a Piece of Home
Bring your dog's bedding or a familiar blanket to provide a sense of comfort and familiarity.
Pack their favorite toys or chews to keep them entertained during the trip.
Provide interactive toys, puzzle feeders, or chew toys to keep your dog mentally engaged. You don't want your fur baby looking to you for ALL their entertainment when you're driving.
Remember, every dog is unique, so adjust these tips according to your dog's specific needs.
With Puppy and Kitty Love,
Lily the Dog Mama