Just the act of traveling alone presents itself with some unique problems, let alone traveling with your unpredictable pup. As is the case with most things when it comes to our canine companions, traveling with a dog has its ups and downs. So how do you prepare yourself for an epic road trip with your best pal?
First off, a trip to the vet
Before you head on out, be sure to take your pet for a checkup. If your dog hasn’t had a checkup in a while, now is definitely the time. If any health complications occur when you’re out there on the road, you’ll want to be prepared for any and all situations to ensure your dog’s well being.
Also, if you’re planning on hiking out with your dog or heading down to the cottage, be sure you have the right medication to remove ticks, which will prevent treat Lyme disease and any other diseases that may pose a risk.
Account for variables
Before getting into all the logistics of traveling with your dog, make sure you know what to expect. For one, check the weather daily at least a week before you hit the road. One thing you will definitely not want is to be unprepared for bad weather. Checking the weather beforehand is good advice for any road trip regardless of the passenger.
The second thing you should check for is how much traffic there will be, this will help you gauge when you and your dog can take a break and whether or not you can afford to miss the next stop.
Maximize napping time
Now you can’t exactly force your dog to nap, but you can easily make them tired. Before heading out (and also do this at every rest stop) try tiring out your dog with a good game of catch or a long walk.
A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Do whatever you can to ensure your dog is peacefully exhausted for the trip to come.
Lay out the land (plan your breaks)
Quite often, your dog is going to need to use the bathroom, drink water, eat etc. That’s why it’s important that your route plan leaves tons of room for lots of breaks so your dog can run or roll off any built up anxieties that built up over the course of the trip.
Most frequently visited rest stops will have a designated dog area of some kind, so ensuring your dog has a place to run around won’t be an issue. Periodic breaks say 15-30 minutes every 4 hours is ideal.
If you’re planning on staying over at a motel/hotel or a campsite, check if the places are pet-friendly. Do they require your dog to be on leash for your whole visit? Even the places that are pet-friendly will have pet policies in place such as requiring your pet to be neutered.
Securing your dog
As mentioned earlier, dogs can be unpredictable creatures, which poses a significant risk for obvious reasons in a vehicle moving at high velocities. Keeping your dog calm and secure is vital for both you and your dog’s safety.
Before going out on the road, if your dog has never ridden in a car before or has very little experience with being in vehicles then you may want to consider taking your dog out for a couple test drives beforehand. Start slowly. Short trips are best in the beginning.
But the safest way to ensure your dog is protected is putting them in their crate with a cosy dog bed. They’ll feel a lot safer in their crate on the drive and you won’t have a hyperactive pup bolting from window to window at every squirrel they see.
Make sure your dog is occupied
If you thought long trips were boring, imagine how your dog might feel. Restlessness can be easily kept at bay by keeping your dog occupied. A nice chew toy or a classic bone can both work wonders with regards to keeping your dog occupied the whole trip.
Make sure your dog is cared for upon arrival
If you’re going to a relative’s or friend’s house, that’s perfect. But if you’re attending an event, such as a wedding, then you’re going to need to have an arrangement so your dog is looked after when you arrive. It goes without saying, but never leave your dog unattended under any circumstance.
Consider a daycare, pet sitter or a boarding service or even consider leaving your dog with a trusted friend or relative.
Car rides are can be timeless and memorable and with a a little preparation, they’re more so with your lovely canine companion. Just keep your dog’s needs in mind and you’ve got a recipe for a wonderful road trip. Send us pics!