Nothing like traveling with your tail-wagger to make a road-trip all the more fun, but it also requires some extra planning. Give yourself plenty of time to plan ahead, and consider the following advice before traveling the open road with your furry best friend.
Get started by making sure you plan to visit dog friendly locations. Both websites are great tools for finding dog friendly hotels, restaurants, stores, and rest-stops.
2. Don’t forget to pack the essentials
- Water Bowl
- Your dogs regular food
- Poop Bags
- Updated tags, a collar, and a leash
- Medical records and vaccination certificates (especially rabies)
- Grooming supplies and a towel
- A kennel
- Dog bed and/or blankets
- Favorite toys
3. Don’t let your dog roam the vehicle
Keep your dog restrained with a pet seat-belt, or in a kennel, while the car is in motion. Remember, this isn’t just for your dogs safety, but for the safety of everyone inside the vehicle. According to Consumer Reports, a 60 lb dog traveling at 35 mph can turn into a 2,700 lb projectile in an accident.
4. Bring a recent photo of your dog
A recent picture of your dog will be helpful if your dog suddenly goes missing.
5. Don’t feed your dog right before a long drive
For road-trips that cut into meal time, try and feed your dog a light meal 3-4 hours prior to departure.
6. Buy or make a dog first-aid kit
Keep a doggie first aid kit in your vehicle. Want to make your own? Follow this tutorial from Martha Stewart Pets!
7. Make sure your dog is microchipped before you leave town
A microchip provides an extra level of security, especially if your dog’s collar slips off.
8. Play white noise at night
If you are staying in a hotel and your dog alerts to noises at night, you may be asked to leave. There are many white noise apps available for smartphones that will limit the amount of outside noise your dog hears at night.
9. Stay organized with a doggie car organizer
Convert a toiletry bag into an over the seat car organizer and keep all your dog’s stuff in one place. It will make your life easier and help speed up rest stops.
10. Keep heads and paws in the vehicle
By letting your dog stick his head out the window, you run the risk of your dog jumping out of the vehicle. Additionally, high speed winds can be harmful to your dogs eyes and ears. Only have the windows unrolled if your dog is in a kennel, or restrained by a pet seat-belt.
11. Take a few short test drives before the trip
See how your dog reacts to riding in the car with a couple short drives before the trip. If you pet is fearful of riding in the car, the ASPCA provides some great advice, here.
12. Teach your dog to eliminate on cue
Teaching your dog a command like “go now” will speed up potty breaks and help your dog go to the bathroom in new, unfamiliar places. The ASPCA provides step by step instructions on how to do this, here.
13. Provide your dog with something to do in the car
Prevent excited, unruly behavior in the car by providing your dog with a stuffed Kong or food puzzle during the drive.
14. Download a dog first-aid app
If you have a smartphone, download the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App before your trip. It provides some great advice, and is free in the app store.
15. Be aware of nearby vet clinics
Have the contact information for nearby vet clinics saved to your phone and know where the closest emergency vet clinics are for any after-hour emergency situations.