Traveling with your pet can be difficult but it can also be so much fun! Many dog owners think they have to leave their dogs behind when they leave for vacation, but it’s possible to bring them along for the trip. Believe it or not, your four-legged friend may love traveling with you. Check out these tips for driving long distances with your dog to ensure the best possible experience.
Take Shorter Trips Beforehand
Taking shorter road trips with your dog before the long-distance drive can help you both adapt to traveling together. Your pup might not enjoy car rides right away, but taking short drives around your town can help them get comfortable being in the car. If you give your dog a chance to familiarize themselves with the vehicle before it’s moving, they may be more receptive to car trips.
For example, you can open all the car doors as it sits still in your driveway. Allow your pup to explore the car, and then take them on a short five-minute ride to get them used to riding in a moving vehicle. Believe it or not, some dogs get car sick; it’s better to know about it sooner than later when it comes to traveling long distances.
Visit Your Vet Before Leaving
You may encounter various situations during your travels, and making sure your dog is in tip-top shape is always a good idea. With that in mind, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure your pup is up to date on vaccinations and is in good enough shape to travel a long distance from home.
While you’re there, ask for a copy of your dog’s medical records and extra meds in case you’re gone longer than expected. Furthermore, you should find the name, phone number, and address for the local emergency vet clinic at your destination.
Plan Your Route in Advance
When you travel with your dog, accommodating their needs is one of the most important things to remember as you make your travel plans. For instance, you may have to stop more frequently than you’d like, and your pup needs places to stretch, go potty, and exercise a bit before getting back on the road.
It’s no secret that many rest stops aren’t pet-friendly; therefore, you may have to create an alternate route to ensure comfortability and ease for your breaks with your pup. If you plan your travel route in advance, you’re more likely to avoid the stress and hassle of finding dog-friendly stops haphazardly.
Prepare and Pack Accordingly
Although you may want to pack everything together for you and your dog, you should consider packing a separate bag for your dog and keeping it readily available in the car if your pup needs something on the trip. You may want to pack light, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your four-legged friend. Here’s a list of things to consider bringing along for your trip:
- Food and bowl
- Blanket and towel
- Necessary medications
- Collar and leash
- Poop bags
- Dog-friendly sunscreen and bug spray
- First-aid kit
Wear Out Your Pup
Consider exercising your dog before leaving for your trip because they’ll be more likely to sleep or at least lay down during the drive. There’s nothing worse than a hyper pup in the car, but some exercise and running around allows them to release energy before being stuck in the car for many hours. If you play a game of fetch at every rest stop, your furry friend will get tired and chill out for the duration of the drive.
Stop for Breaks Frequently
While you might be able to drive straight through, your pup needs frequent stops. You can expect to stop for 15-30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. You should use these breaks to use the restroom and stretch yourself, but you should also take the time to feed your dog, give them attention, and play fetch or another type of exercise.
Travel With Another Person
Traveling with your pup can be a struggle, but it’s even more difficult if you’re by yourself. With that in mind, traveling with at least one other person is always a good idea. It’s a safer option; you can split the responsibility of driving and tending to the pup. Whether it’s your significant other, a friend, or a family member, you won’t regret having another person to help you make it to your destination safely.
Keep Your Pup Out of Your Lap
While you might want to let your dog roam around the car during the trip, it can be hazardous for everyone involved. For example, your pup may distract you from the road, increasing the chances of getting into an accident. With that said, you should keep them out of your lap and from moving around too much. Consider a center console dog bed to ensure your pup stays put and doesn’t become a big distraction.
Bring Toys To Keep Your Dog Entertained
Just like kids, dogs can also become bored on road trips. It’s a long time to be in the car, and they may need some extra entertainment to prevent them from becoming antsy in their bed or kennel. Be sure to bring plenty of different toys for them to play with and keep them occupied for a while.
Dogs love playing with toys, but they may get bored with them after a while. Therefore, you should consider getting something savory for them to chew on or filling a kong toy with dog-friendly food.
Book Pet-Friendly Accommodations
This should go without saying, but it’s incredibly important to book pet-friendly accommodations along the way. Even though your final destination lodging arrangements may be dog-friendly, you must find a suitable place to stay if you plan on stopping somewhere overnight. Although you may be able to catch a few hours of sleep in your car at a rest stop, staying in a hotel or another place is always a good option.
Knowing these tips for driving long distances with your dog is the best way to ensure a successful road trip with your pup. While you might want to leave your furry friend at home, you may enjoy traveling and vacationing with them. Because they’re a part of your family, they deserve to come along on family trips.