Are you going to share your adventure of a lifetime with your furry friend? Or maybe you simply want to take a bit of a breather with him this weekend? No matter how long (or short) your trip is going to take, you must take special precautions if you wish to tag your pooch along.
As pet parents, it is heartbreaking to leave the family pet behind. But let us be honest. Bringing your four-legged family member along can be a struggle, especially if you have to do a long drive. There is good news, however. Instead of opting to send your dog to a doggie hotel or pay someone to look after him while you are away, you can do some things to ensure that your pup is comfortable and safe during the trip. Not only that, but these tips will also guarantee that you and your family will have a grand quality time with the baby of the family.
Let us reiterate how important it is to have your pet microchipped for identification purposes. This is crucial regardless of your destination and mode of transportation. As an added precaution, give your dog a collar and a tag indicating your name, phone number, email, or any other contact information you wish to add. If you need a new phone number or address upon reaching your destination, make sure to attach a temporary travel tag to your dog’s collar.
Now that we got that very important message out, it is time to learn about ways to make your road trip better and exciting for you and your dog.
Precautionary Tips Before The Trip
Below are a couple of things you ought to do before the actual road trip.
Prep Your Furry Friend First
Before taking him for a long drive, make sure that you have exposed your pet to short car rides, such as going to the grocery. Taking your pet on a series of rides will help him adjust slowly. At the same time, you can train him on how to behave properly during this period. As time passes by, slowly increase the time you spend driving around with your dog in tow.
Before any trip, go to the vet first. You need to make sure that your dog’s vaccines are up-to-date. Also, inform the vet where will you be heading. Chances are the vet might order some additional vaccinations to safeguard your pet further. Bear in mind that some vaccines need might require going through a series of injections, so you might want to get your dog checked as soon as you have decided to go on a trip. You also might want to check if the vet can recommend some products that can hinder your pooch from coming across parasites. This is a must if you are traveling to a tropical area.
Pack The Necessities
Make a checklist of what your dog might need for your trip. Since you are taking a car anyway, avoid setting limitations regarding what you can bring. Most people have the tendency to waive some things off their packing list, but this trick does not apply when traveling with your pooch. Read on below for some tips on what to include in your dog’s travel kit.
- Bring along your pet’s vaccination record whenever you are crossing state lines. While not all states will require this document, you might want to bring it just in case.
- Take your own dog food. Traveling imposes a lot of new and unfamiliar things for a pet. Food should not be one of them. You would not want your dog to experience diarrhea during a long car ride, right? In case the pet stores in your destination do not offer the specific food and treats your dog is familiar with, you would not worry since you had brought enough for him. Also, go with bottled water. The last thing you need is to make your dog sick. Some tap water can cause stomach discomfort not only for your dog but for your family as well.
- Bring a dog’s daily kit. Pack his pet dish, leash, plastic bags, grooming supplies, and a favorite toy. Doing this can avoid alienating your dog from his new surroundings since these can bring some sort of familiarity.
- If your dog is taking medications, then remember to take all of them, along with a first aid kit and his favorite supplements. For a first-aid kit, you can include gauze, pain medications, antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, baby wipes, and a towel.
Safety Tips During The Trip
These tips are helpful during the entire duration of the trip:
Secure Your Pet Properly
Purchase a crate or carrier that is adequate for your dog. It should be big enough for him to sit, stand, and move around a little. Secure the crate safely to prevent it from sliding down or shifting when the car goes into a sudden halt. If you skipped on the crate, make sure that your pet is secured in the back seat, and his harness is affixed to a buckle. Although it looks totally adorable, do not let your dog put his head out the window. He might encounter some injuries, so it is not really safe for him to do so.
Always Take The Dog With You Whenever You Leave The Vehicle
People often think it is a good idea to leave a pet alone for a short while inside a parked car. But it isn’t. Even if you think you will be back quickly, you should always take your dog with you when you exit your car. During summer, a parked car can be extremely hot even with open windows. And in winter, a car can be too cold to stay inside.
Set The Right Feeding Schedule For Your Dog
Sadly, you cannot feed your dog in a moving vehicle no matter how long it will take. Otherwise, he will feel queasy and might start vomiting. When traveling, give your dog a light meal four hours before the long drive.
Do You Travel Frequently With Your Dog?
If you enjoy going on road trips with your dog, you should get rubberized floor liners and choose waterproof seat covers to ensure that your dog and your car are both protected. Another thing is to consider choosing among pet-friendly destinations whenever you travel with your dog. Hopefully, doing so will result in an enriching experience for both of you.
Of course, you know your dog better than anyone else. So, if you think he might need something else that is not on the list, you should trust your gut and go with it.
About the Author:
Charles is a certified pet-lover who writes for RestoraPet.com. He, together with his wife, enjoys doing volunteer work in various animal shelters at his city.