Embarking on a road trip with your dog is an exciting thing, yet an enjoyable journey with your pet requires a plan ahead of time and anticipation of sometimes-unexpected experience. Here are some tips to make your next dog road trip fun, pleasant and safe.
1. Research pet-friendly hotels and attractions
Researching and booking a pet-friendly hotel, if needed, is the first step to planning a dog road trip. This is because not all hotels accept pets and even some campsites have restrictions. Therefore, you must carry out a research in advance and ensure that the accommodation you pick allows pets. It is also true for other activities, such as parks, trails or restaurants, you plan to visit en route or at your destination. You can make use of the following pet-friendly websites or apps to find the right accommodations while on a road trip with your dog.
- Bringfido: This is a trusted resource for dog owners looking for the best pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, attractions, parks and trails.
- VetFinder: This is the comprehensive veterinarian search tool for every pet owner.
- Dog Vacay: This free app connects you to local dog boarding or daycare around the country in case you ever need it.
2. Pack all stuff and get your documentation organized
Getting all pertinent information about your dog is a necessity while planning for a road trip. There are so many apps like the Red Cross First Aid that helps you note your pet’s medical records, vaccination, medications, license number, microchip numbers, medical insurance and other vet information.
Also remember to pack your dog’s items – food, treats, collar, leash, harness, food bowl, bed, blankets, toys, waste bags, first aid kit and medications. It is not a good idea to experiment new food or treats during your trip. Try to pack items your dog is already familiar with.
You may want to try our Yoho dog bag to help organizing your dog’s goodies .
3. Prepare for motion sickness
Motion sickness is common in puppies and young dogs. It can be caused by stress especially that attached to traveling in a car for a long time. Signs of motion sickness in dogs include uneasiness, yawning, excessive drooling, vomiting, fear of car and many more. To treat motion sickness, vet usually recommends any of the following:
- Use a canine seatbelt to strap your dog and get them faced forward while traveling
- Keep the vehicle cool at all time by switching on the air conditioner or lowering down your car window to equalize the inside and outside air pressures. For safety, do not let your dog hang their head outside the window.
- Reduce their food and water while traveling
- Give your dog a toy that he or she enjoys and can have only in the car
- Stop a ride every 2-3 hours, or even more often, for a bathroom break and water
4. Secure your dog while in motion
While driving it is essential to keep your dog restrained. DO NOT let your dog sit on your lap while driving ever. This isn’t for the safety of the dog alone but also for that of everyone in the car. You can use one of the following methods to secure your dog.
- Seat Harness: Harness is specially constructed to use existing seat belts in protecting your dog against shock or impact.
- Crate: You can also use a crate, which is specifically designed for transporting of a dog in a car.
- Dog car seat: This is a portable dog carrier that can be secured with the car seats. In some models, you can also use it with the existing seat belt.
5. Think before leaving your dog in a car
Laws: Many states have laws that make it “illegal” to leave a dog unattended in a parked vehicle. Some of these states further specify certain conditions that put the dog at risk. So it is important for you to be aware of laws in the states you are visiting. You may check out this website for more details for each state.
Hot weather: As we know, dogs are susceptible to heatstroke. According to the Humane Society website, on an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside the car with windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.
Cold weather: Same thing for the winter, a car can also cool down fast to under freezing. Dogs with short hair or those that aren’t familiar with cold weather are more vulnerable to hypothermia. Temperature below 50 degrees can be harmful to your dog.
6. Along the way
Here are some rules to follow
- Take a break: Just like people, dogs need to take a break from sitting in the car for a long period. It is vital to let them do their business every 2-3 hours. You can make your journey more enjoyable by stopping at locations that are pet-friendly or even a dog park.
- Keep your dog hydrated: Ensure that you have water in your car to keep your dog hydrated.
- Stick to their routines: It may not be easy to keep their routines while traveling, but when possible try to stick their normal feeding times, walk and exercise.
With all these tips, you and your beloved dog will have a smooth ride, and the road trip will be memorable for both of you!