About 73% of Americans took a road trip in the summer of 2021. It’s a fun and exciting way to travel. Additionally, 38% of US households own dogs, so it’s safe to assume quite a few of these road trips include a canine companion. But have you planned your road trip with your dog in mind?
Let’s look at ways to travel safely with your pet while also making sure they enjoy the journey. Let’s dive in.
How Do I Keep My Dog Safe on a Road Trip?
Your dog is part of the family, and it is essential to keep them safe on a road trip. Dogs can sense change, so one thing to keep in mind is protecting your dog from themself. They may get nervous in new places, anxious in the car, and could easily run off and get lost.
Ease the anxiety by considering medication. Allow your dog to sniff around new places but carefully watch to ensure they don’t get into something unsafe. Have the proper travel gear to keep your dog safe while in the car. And make sure their collar has the correct identification.
How Do I Prepare My Dog for a Long Car Ride?
If your dog isn’t used to riding in the car with you, prepare them before taking a long road trip. Sit in your car in the driveway with your dog. Don’t go anywhere. Just let your dog sniff around, explore, and get used to the feel of the car.
When ready, take short trips around town. They should also get used to using seat belts or being in crates. Take small steps before expecting your dog to enjoy a long road trip.
Here Are 7 Tips to Avoid Mishaps with Your Dog on Road Trips
Whether you’ll travel a long distance between two places or take a several stop journey, there are some tips to help keep your dog safe on the road. You want the journey to be enjoyable for them too. Let’s look at these eight tips to help you and your fur baby have a great road trip together.
1. Contact Your Vet Prior to Departure
When going on a road trip with your dog, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet to make sure they don’t suggest a pre-departure visit. If it’s been a while since your dog has been to the vet, it could be a good idea to go in for a check-up.
The vet might also prescribe an anxiety medication for travel so that you have it on hand if needed. You’ll also want to get a printed version of your dog’s vaccination history and shot records just in case you need to show proof while traveling.
Finding vet care while you travel can be a challenge but is far from impossible. Check out our tips for finding vet care while on the road.
2. Plan Your Route Around Dog-Friendly Accommodations
Make sure to find dog-friendly accommodations. If you want to visit a specific destination and can’t find a hotel that allows dogs, you’ll need to stay in a different location. Don’t wait until the last minute to make reservations.
One easy way we love to travel with our dogs is by RV. RVing with dogs provides a consistent habitat for them to become familiar with, and you don’t have to worry about pet fees! Most campgrounds and RV parks are dog-friendly (with some rules) and some even cater to dogs with washes and dog parks on-site.
3. Crate Your Dog
Your dog may not like riding in a crate, but it’s a good idea to keep them out of trouble. Even if your dog is well-trained, a new place with new smells will pique their interest.
You don’t want to spend a night at a hotel or at a friend’s house to wake up to find toilet paper all over the floor or a chewed piece of chair.
Pro Tip: Want to go on an adventure with your pup, but don’t have an RV? Use these tips on How to Find Pet Friendly RV Rentals.
4. Pack All of Your Dog’s Favorites and Essentials
Going on a road trip with your dog means packing another bag. Bring your dog’s favorite things and essentials, including food, bowls, a leash, poop bags, and treats.
If you have room to pack their bed, then grab it, too. They will appreciate having a familiar place to sleep. And then bring the fun stuff that will keep your dog entertained on the journey, such as their favorite squeaky toy.
5. Stick to Your Dog’s Normal Daily Routine as Best You Can
Dogs, like children, do better with routine. You may not have the entire trip planned out when you leave, but as you consider things to do and places to visit, keep your dog’s daily routine in mind.
If you know it’s best to take them out for a nighttime stroll after dinner, make sure you’re in a safe location. Follow the same feeding schedule and use the same food to ensure your dog doesn’t have digestive issues. Your fur baby may have some anxiety visiting all of these new places. Help ease that by sticking to their routine.
6. Always Have Water Available
When you fill up your water bottle to head out for a hike, don’t forget to bring one for your dog, too. On travel days, when you pack snacks and drinks for the road, make sure to pack treats and water for your dog.
When you leave them alone in a crate, make sure they have plenty of water. Sometimes anti-anxiety medication can cause dogs to be more thirsty. Ensure you’ve provided the water your pet needs.
Pro Tip: Keep your furry friends safe on the go by following these 5 Rules for RVing with Pets.
7. Watch the Weather Forecast
Most dogs don’t like thunderstorms. When taking a road trip with your pet, watch the weather forecast. If you have to drive through stormy weather, take special care of your dog and be prepared to stop more often.
Try not to leave your dog alone in a foreign place during a thunderstorm. If you’ll go out to dinner with friends and leave your dog crated at their house, consider ordering take-out if a storm comes. You don’t want to leave them in a strange place alone and frightened.
Also, never leave your dog in a hot vehicle. Pay attention to the weather when going out to the grocery store or running errands. Even if it is nice outside, the temperature inside the car can double. Try to leave your dog in a safe location at a hotel or campsite instead.
Are Road Trips Bad for Dogs?
Road trips create some of the best memories. Whether it’s just you and your fur baby or your whole family traveling together, visiting new places day after day is adventurous. Your dog will enjoy the road trip if you follow these eight tips.
Your dog is part of the family, so you don’t always want to leave them at home or boarded at a facility. Just be prepared for a road trip with a dog. Make sure your pet is safe and has everything they need to enjoy the trip, too.
Have you ever taken a road trip with your dog? Where did you go? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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