Traveling the road with dogs can seem pretty straight-forward at first glance. However, there are lots of factors to consider before embarking on your car adventure with your dog!
Like the friend who learned that her dog gets motion-sick on the interstates, or the family member whose dog got tangled up in their feet while they were driving, many dog owners learn the hard way that traveling long distances with dogs can be a lot of work.
We’ve come up with seven easy tips to check off your list of preparations before taking a road trip with your dog. These may seem pretty basic, but if you follow them, you are well on your way to a smooth and safe road trip with your dog!
1. Have Your Dog Microchipped
This is an important first step in preparing your dog for any length of time in the car and on the road, especially when traveling far from home. If your dog was to escape from the car during a stop, or there was an accident in which the dog got out of the car, it would be comforting to know that the local vet’s office could contact you if someone brought your dog in.
Another option that works well both at home and on the road is a Pet smart GPS tracker collar. These can be attached to your dog’s current collar and let you know where they are via an app on your phone should they manage to escape from the car (or even the place you are staying at your destination).
2. Take a Test Drive Before Long Trips
Some dogs experience motion sickness or anxiety when riding in the car. There are medications that can help in these circumstances, but you’ll need to know ahead of time if your dog would benefit from those. So, taking a longer drive on the types of road you’ll be traveling can give you a better idea of how well your dog does while driving.
3. Plan Ahead Regarding Stops
If you’re traveling during the day, you’ll want to plan ahead to avoid having to take stops that require you to leave your dog alone in the car for any period of time. Even running into a restaurant for a quick bite to eat could be detrimental to your dog if the sun is out. Cars can heat up very quickly, so it’s always important to leave the windows vented and only be gone long enough to use the restroom.
4. Have a Designated Seat for Your Dog
Having a dog in the car can be extremely distracting while driving, which is bad news for both you and your pup. Especially when dogs are excited or anxious, it can be hard to keep your attention on the road while driving.
It’s helpful to have a designated travel area for your dog that they are familiar with. There are dog car seats cover that strap your dog in safely. These are a great idea to protect your seats and also to contain your excited dog during their drive.
If your dog is too large for the car seat or doesn’t do well in that type of space, there are also seat protectors that can be a familiar indicator to your dog of where they are expected to travel.
A crate is also an option, but only use this if you can have if in the main part of the car with you—never stick a dog in a crate in the trunk of a sedan.
5. Plan a Walk Before the Trip
Work the time into your schedule to plan a big walk, run, or playtime with your dog before embarking on the trip. The more tired your dog is, the more willing they will be to rest during the drive.
6. Take Along a Treat for the Road
If there is a certain type of chewing treat that your dog enjoys, you could take a chew rubber toy on the trip to give your dog something to do during the hours you are on the road. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a good idea to try a completely new treat on a road trip, so try it out a few times at home before giving them to your dog in the car.
7. Pack the Essentials
When packing for a trip, don’t forget to bring the essentials you’ll need for your dog! Food and medications are a must. During the trip you will need a source of water for them during breaks. You may also want to bring a few of their toys to provide some comfort during the drive. Additionally, with lots of bathroom stops on the way, don’t forget a method for cleaning up waste.
With just a little planning and practice, you and your dog can take your drives up a notch with an official road trip. Dogs are great companions for visiting new areas, especially when visiting family or going on vacations like camping! When moving, it can also be a much more comfortable and calming way for them to travel than by plane.
These tips are proven to assist in keeping you and your pup safe on the road while traveling by car! Following them can have you well on your way to more adventures with your best furry friend.