Whether you are a world traveler or prefer local trips, there’s nothing better than going out on a venture with your best friend. We’re talking about dogs. From Virginia Woolf and her dog Pinka or Robert DeNiro, who flies on a private jet with his dog Yeti – there’s something about dogs that makes travel more enriching and engaging. But how do you prepare a dog for a road trip? That’s why we’re here to offer these simple tips to help you gear up and get rolling down the highway to your next adventure with your best furry friend by your side
1. Make a Test Run
Some dogs just aren’t road worthy. It’s not that they don’t want to join you on a road trip. It’s just that certain breeds simply can’t handle the stress and turbulence rocky road adventure might pose. For instance, Chihuahuas tend to be a bundle of nerves and get a little sickly on the road, whereas a hardier breed such as a Redbone Coonhound can be a total road warrior. Settle the score before you map out your road trip by taking your dog out for a test drive. This is the best way to assess whether or not your dog can handle a trip on the road. A test run might also reveal that it might be prudent to leave your dog with a trusted caregiver instead.
2. Pack for Your Dog as You Would for Yourself
Dogs need stuff. Therefore, you should think about packing the essentials for your dog on a road trip as much as you think about packing for yourself. In the same way you might pack food on a road trip for your human needs, you’ll have to do the same for your dog too. Think about packing food, treats, and chewing toys before you hit the road. And don’t forget to pack dog bowls and maybe even dog beds while traveling. Remember too, that dogs have a keen sense of smell. This means that blankets or favorite toys that have a familiar scent might make the road trip easier for your pup.
3. Plan for Contingencies
Before you put one mile on your vehicle on a road trip with your dog, make sure you’ve taken care of contingencies. This means getting all your dog’s vaccines up to date and their tags current. If you can, consider getting them “chipped,” which entails getting a microchip implanted under their skin. This is invaluable in case your dog gets loose on your road trip, because a simple scanner can locate your dog and verify its identity if it becomes lost. You may also want to pack a basic first aid kit for dogs that includes wipes, antibiotics, pain relievers, or medications your dog might need on the trip.
4. Map Your Destinations
There’s nothing worse than taking a road trip and finding out you’re stranded because you can’t find a place to stay for the night because the hotel doesn’t accept dogs. Of course, if you’re camping, that’s not an issue. But if you’ve got a long road trip ahead and you need to stop at a hotel, do yourself (and your dogs) a favor and research accommodations that are dog-friendly before you go. This will save you and your dog loads of time and relieve stress.
5. Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Dogs don’t sweat. They regulate their body temperature by panting. As such, they need water to keep themselves cool and balanced during a road trip. Be sure to pack plenty of water for yourself and your dog (and a water bowl) before you set off onto your great road journey. Stop every few hours and give your pooch a drink. If he or she doesn’t take a sip, that’s okay. Just do your best to make sure they are hydrated along the way.
5. Be Selective About Pit Stops
As a dog owner, you know that whatever goes in, must eventually go out. That equates to having to make a pit stop somewhere down the line. If you can, try to avoid common rest stops along the highway. To explain, these have been hugely populated by thousands of dogs before you got there. That can be overwhelming for your dog. Instead, look for green spaces that aren’t as populated by other dogs. This will give your dog a better chance to do its business without undue stress.
6. Be Mindful and Have Fun
No matter what the breed or status of your dog, you’re apt to have a good time on a road trip with your pooch if you properly prepare ahead of time. Furthermore, you will have a more enjoyable trip if you pay attention to your furry baby while on the road. If you see signs of anxiety or duress in your dog, take the time to pull over and take a break. Ultimately, a well-traveled trip equates to a pleasurable journey along the way. Therefore, take your time, be mindful of your canine companion, and be safe as you go the open road with your dog.