Taking road trips with your best friend, your dog can be fun and challenging. Keeping your dog safe and relaxed when you're cruising the roads with these tips and tricks.
Road trips are popular nowadays, two out of three travelers intended to take a road trip in the next 12 months. And road trips are popular for a reason!
Not only is it a nostalgic way to travel without breaking the bank on flight tickets, but road trips offer amazing flexibility in visiting new towns and cities across the country and globe.
But what about road tripping with your dog? After all, boarding your dog can be expensive (although working at a boarding kennel can be an amazing dog-centric job) and you can have so much more fun with your furry friend by your side, anyway.
Top tips for traveling comfortably and safely with your dog.
Honestly, you’ll have way more fun bringing your furry family member along with you, too!
Bring Supplies for Road Tips with Dogs and...More Dog Supplies!
No matter how big of a planner you are, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When it comes to dog supplies on road trips, it’s important to over pack. Overpack on dog food, dog waste bags, treats, toys, and more!
As far as the essentials go, it can be a good idea to keep a small stock of each item in the glove box of your car within reach. This will allow you to grab them quickly when your dog needs a distraction or creates a mess.
Bringing along pet-friendly disinfecting wipes is essential to ensure that your dog and your car remain clean for the duration of the trip.
It can also be a good idea to bring copies of any vet and vaccination records you have for your dog along on the trip.
Hopefully, you won’t need these records during your trip. However, it's vital to have these on-hand if you end up having to make a veterinarian trip away from your local vet.
Some dog parks may require documentation to ensure that your dog is up-to-date on vaccines before allowing you to walk and play with them in their space.
Emphasizing Your Car as a Safe Space For Your Dog
Cars can intimidate for dogs and all animals. Do you remember the first time you drove a car and realized you had complete control over a piece of metal that weighs 2,800 pounds or more?
Your dog is also experiencing the speed and feel of riding inside a vehicle, without knowing how driving works! Before taking your dog on a road trip, it’s important to know how your pet reacts to riding inside a car.
At least a week or two before your long road trip, take your dog for a shorter test drive around your neighborhood or to a neighboring town. Monitor their mood and give them a treat when they are calm or otherwise behaving inside the car.
If your dog has a favorite comfort bed or toy, bring those inside your car as well and offer them to your dog while sitting in your driveway.
Emphasize the car as an extension of a safe space for your dog. This will help them feel more secure during your official road trip and make it more likely for them to respond to you when you are even farther away from home.
Dog Safety Inside Your Car
While road tripping with your dog, you’ll want to make sure they are always leashed with a good quality seatbelt and harness made specifically for dogs when inside your car.
When stopping at gas stations, double-check that you have your keys on you when exiting the vehicle without your dog.
The last thing we’ll want to do is lock our furry friend inside by mistake! Whether you leave your dog in the car with air conditioning depends on the temperature outside and your dog. Thankfully, refilling your gas tank while leaving your car on is highly unlikely to cause an explosion.
Feel free to leave your air conditioner on for your dog while you refuel, or turn off your car and crack a window open for them. Make sure the window is only open enough to let air in, and not wide enough for your dog to jump out of.
Identify Dog-Friendly Stops Along Your Route
Traveling with your furry friend doesn’t change the fact that they’ll need regular bathroom breaks and exercise. Unfortunately, we can’t communicate with our dogs about the lack of bathroom availability within our cars.
Thankfully, the internet has made it easier than ever to plan rest stops and routes in advance. Look for public dog parks or larger rest stops that often have dog-friendly rules and regulations.
Gone are the days of printing directions and inflexibility. So if you drive upon a rest stop only to find it closed or nonexistent, jump on your phone or GPS and search for a new park along your route.
Worst case, most neighborhoods are dog walk-friendly as long as you clean up after your pet.
Before leaving the car with your dog, try to ensure your dog is remaining calm. Then reward them in an excited voice before taking them on the walk.
The trick here is to make sure your pet recognizes the walk or park trip as a treat for wonderful behavior. Make sure you plan enough rest stops along the way so that your pet doesn’t have to beg or get mad along a long stretch of road.
Road Tripping With Your Furry Best Friend
Road tripping with your dog requires a lot of preparation time and care. But what better way is there to spend a vacation than with your favorite animal?
By stocking up on essential supplies and bringing your pet on a test drive, you’ll be ready to enjoy the great outdoors on wheels with your dog.
Don’t forget that road-tripping is more than just driving with your pet, too!
Curious what to do with them on destination spots along the way? Read our tips on safely hiking or backpacking with your dog today.
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