There are many benefits to traveling with your dog on vacation. Our pets are already major companions in our lives, so it’s all the more opportunity to make memories away from home with them. With more and more hotels and lodging accommodations pet friendly and with the increasing cost of boarding or pet-sitting, you’ll also save some money by bringing your furry friend along for your next road trip.
But traveling with a pet also comes with challenges. Dogs are creatures of habit, and they may not always respond well to a change in their normal routine. To ensure a pleasant trip for everyone involved, we’ve put together some tips for helping your pet have a safe trip in the car on the way to your vacation destination.
Check Medical Records and Visit the Vet if Necessary: Check your dog’s records for the last time they completed a check-up. Also make sure they are up-to-date for all vaccinations. Depending on where you travel, additional vaccines may be required to prevent conditions such as Lyme disease from being contracted at your destination or along the way.
Get Them Used to Riding in the Car: Take your dog for a series of short drives around the neighborhood and the city leading up to your trip. Gradually lengthen the time in the car with each ride. If you’ll be traveling to another state, be sure to bring your pet’s rabies vaccination record.
Keep Your Pets Safe and Secure In a Well-Ventilated Crate or Carrier: This crate should be large enough for your dog to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure this crate in your vehicle around other luggage to prevent it from sliding or shifting in the event of an abrupt stop. If you decide not to bring a crate, at the very least keep your dog buckled into the back seat with harness attached to a seat buckle.
Prep a Pet-Friendly Travel Kit: Pack your dog’s food along with a bowl, leash, waste bags, grooming supplies, first aid supplies, and any necessary medication. Bring a few toys or a pillow in the car to give your dog a sense of familiarity on the road. Pack plenty of bottled water, as this will be better for your dog to drink to prevent stomach discomfort from drinking from sources they aren’t used to.
Never Leave Your Dog Alone In a Parked Vehicle: No matter the time of year, your dog should never be left in a parked vehicle. The summer, even with windows open, can turn your vehicle into a furnace. During the winter, a car’s insulation can turn it into a refrigerator, holding in cold air and causing animals to freeze to death.
Check the Weather Report Before You Leave: Not only will this help you be prepared for conditions like rain or snow that could slow your travel, you’ll have a better idea of what to pack for your dog. Depending on your breed and the climate of where you live, you may need to pack specific clothing or accessories to keep them comfortable in conditions they aren’t used to.
Have Fun and Make Memories: Our dogs are special creatures that connect with us in ways that others can’t. Take pictures, share them on social media, scrapbook, blog… whatever helps you remember these trips. These will be the parts of life that you remember for years to come.
Are you an experienced traveler with dogs? Let us know in the comments of any other tips you have for road trips with your best friend.