Are you hitting the road this summer with your family for a little getaway? If so, there are a lot of factors to consider before your trip kicks off. This is especially true if you plan on bringing your dog with you on your vacation! Don’t worry, we have you covered.
To ensure you’re totally prepared for your road trip, explore 10 helpful tips for taking your dog on a long car ride today. Let’s dive in!
#1. Pack All of Your Pet’s Essentials
First and foremost, don’t forget to pack all of your pet’s essentials as you load up your car for your vacation. Here are a few things you’ll want to bring with you for your furry family member:
- Your pet’s food and water for the entire duration of the trip (don't forget their food and water dishes!)
- Your pet’s medications
- A spare leash, collar and ID tags
- Poop bags
- A dog bed and your pup’s favorite toys
#2. Don’t Forget the Dog Kennel
Although you may not want to spare the room in the car, most veterinarians agree that the safest place for your dog in a moving vehicle is a crate. If you plan ahead of time to bring your dog’s kennel, you’ll be able to fit it into your car easily!
Tip: Be sure it’s somewhat near an AC vent so your dog doesn’t get too warm during your trip.
#3. Is Your Dog Wearing their Seatbelt?
If bringing your dog’s crate or kennel isn’t an option during your road trip, then it’s essential that your pet wears a doggy seatbelt or harness restraint while you’re traveling. Sitting on a family member’s lap in the car isn’t safe while you take your dog on a long trip. Do your research beforehand and then order a pet seatbelt online!
#4. Plan Your Accommodations in Advance
If you’ll be staying in a hotel or two during your family’s road trip, it will be necessary to plan your overnight stays according to whether or not they allow doggy guests. Although that may seem impossible, don’t worry, websites such as BringFido.com and TripsWithPets.com can help. They can also recommend restaurants that are dog-friendly, too. Score!
#5. See Your Vet Before You Take Your Dog on a Long Trip
Has your dog had their annual vet checkup yet? Before you hit the road, be sure they’re up to date on all of their shots, and that they’re microchipped, too. This will ensure that if the worst-case scenario happens and your dog is injured or lost during your trip, they will be as prepared to handle the circumstances as possible. Also, microchipping is essential to being able to bring them home again!
#6. Plan for Mealtime, too!
If possible, allow your pet to eat their meals at least 2-3 hours before they’re in the car for a long stretch of time. For example, in the morning, if your pet typically eats breakfast, give them several hours to eat and digest their food before immediately putting them in the car for a long period of time. This will help them avoid an uneasy stomach or gas issues.
#7. Be Prepared to Stop Every Few Hours
Don’t forget, your dog needs a bathroom break, too! If your pet is an experienced traveler, you may forget that he is in the vehicle with you when you take your dog on a long car ride. Or, if he is a great copilot, you may be tempted to skip the bathroom breaks but always be sure to stop every 3-5 hours and let your dog use the bathroom.
#8. Give Your Dog an Activity for the Road
Just like your kids need activities during long car rides to keep them busy, so do your pets! It’s always better to be safer than sorry and pack treats and toys for your pet to enjoy during your car ride, if they choose to. Consider packing a Kong filled with a few bones to entertain them.
#9. What if Your Dog Gets Nauseous? It May Happen
A surprising number of dogs get car sick! Talk to us about a few medications for car sickness for your furry family member. Also, be sure you know a few of the warning signs to look out for, such as your dog acting particularly sleepy or gagging.
#10. Don’t Forget to Have Fun, too!
Although traveling with your dog on a long trip may seem overwhelming when you’re in the planning stages of your road trip, the more you prepare, the easier it will be! As long as you bring your pets essentials, and prepare for lots of scenarios, your trip will go smoothly. Don’t forget to have a fantastic vacation!