Dogs may love car rides to the park, but is your furry friend up for a long vacation? Adding your pet to the excitement of a trip brings a whole new element of adventure, but it requires a lot of preparation and thoughtful choices along the way.
Never fear, though! We’ve put together the top ten tips for traveling with dogs for you and your fuzzball to have the adventure of a lifetime.
Tips for Traveling With Dogs: Before the Trip
Traveling with your dog isn’t as simple as opening the car door and letting your pet jump in. Several preparations need to happen before you head out.
1. Take a Day Trip
If you assume your dog will be able to handle long car rides, you may find your trip off to a rough start. Plan a smaller day trip that gives you a chance to see how your dog handles longer stints in the car. 2-4 hours is plenty to give you an idea of whether your friend would enjoy your trip, or if it would stress him or her out so much it would make for a miserable experience.
If your dog can’t handle a short trip, it’s probably best to find a dog sitter or a boarding kennel.
2. Get a Clean Bill of Health
Take your dog to the vet to make sure your buddy is in good enough shape for the trip. Your vet might also have recommendations if your dog gets motion sickness (more on that in point 10). And while you’re at the vet . . .
3. Get Things in Order
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are all up to date and ask the vet for a hard copy of your dog’s medical records. If something happens on the trip and you need to go to a different veterinary clinic, it’s good to have your friend’s health records available.
Your dog’s tags should have your name and number on them as well as their vaccine information in case you get separated.
If you’re crossing the border, you may need to provide paperwork for your dog. Documentation is always a good thing to have.
4. Pack the Essentials
Just like packing your own bags, make sure you pack everything your dog needs. This should include dog food, water, collapsible bowls, a leash, and something that smells like home.
This will give your dog something familiar. This can be a blanket, dog bed, or favorite toy.
5. Be Ready For Motion Sickness
Looking out the window may help a queasy canine, but to avoid the floor of your car being vomited on, sometimes outside help is in order. There are many different options available for motion sickness in dogs.
There’s Dramamine, an antihistamine designed to combat motion sickness in humans, but some vets will recommend it. There’s also CBD oil, like this product that will help your furball with nausea.
Tips for Traveling With Dogs: On the Trip
Once you’ve hit the wide-open road and started your music, podcast, or audiobook, it’s important to remember your furry buddy’s needs and be ready for them.
6. Pit Stop
You may pride yourself in your need to only take a bathroom break when the gas tank needs a refill, but dogs (especially smaller ones) may not be able to hold it as long.
When traveling with dogs, it’s also good to take frequent stops to let them stretch their legs. Many gas stations and rest stops have areas specifically designated for dogs.
7. Secure the Leash Before Opening the Door
When you stop, make sure your dog’s collar is on, and secure the leash before opening the door. It’s hard enough when your dog runs off in your own neighborhood, but if your dog gets lost in a new place (especially close to a highway), you may never see your furry friend again.
8. Know Which Stops Are Pet Friendly
Unless you’re camping or RVing, you’ll probably need to rent a hotel room or Airbnb. Many hotels are pet-friendly, but don’t assume; when in doubt, call ahead. There are several apps designed for pet owners, like BringFido that can direct you to the nearest pet-friendly lodging.
9. Take It Slow
Even short trips can be overstimulating for your cuddly canine, so remember to take breaks and give your pet a chance to rest and take in all the great new smells.
10. Be Considerate
When you travel with your dog, keep in mind that not everyone is as huge a dog lover like you. Some might be uneasy around dogs and others might be petrified of even a puppy. Keep your dog close and on a leash at all times.
Let the Canine Adventures Begin
Now that you know the top tips for traveling with dogs, you’re more than ready to take your furry friend on the experience of a lifetime.
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