For many of us, our furry four-legged friends are much more than “pets.” They’re treasured members of the family. So when we pack up the car to go on vacation, visit family and friends, or embark on a new adventure, we naturally want to bring them along. Before you hit the road, read these tips for a fun, safe ride.
Ready, Set…NOT YET!
What can you do to prepare before you take off for parts known or unknown?
- Talk to your vet. Make sure all of your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. If your travel plans include outdoor activities, such as hiking, ask about effective tick and flea treatments so your trip is as pest-free as possible.
- Talk to your GPS. When you’re planning your route, factor in rest stops every few hours. Leash your dog up and let her take a walk around to stretch her legs. (It’ll do you a lot of good too!)
- Talk to your hotel. If you’re staying at a hotel, motel, inn, B&B, or campground, make sure they allow pets. There are more dog-friendly accommodations available today, so you can all enjoy comfort and convenience. Find one at or near your destination at BringFido.
If you’re staying with friends or family, check and double-check that they are fine with your pooch coming to visit.
Speaking of Crates
The safest way to travel with your dog is to place her in a crate or carrier. It should be large enough for her to lie down, stand up, and turn around -but not much bigger than that. Secure the carrier in your vehicle so it doesn’t shift, or worse, become a projectile if you have to stop short.
The crate can also pull double duty as a sleeping area. This helps provide your dog with the comfort and security she needs – and it helps keep her out of trouble!
It’s a good idea to get your dog used to travel before the big trip. If she’s new to it, start with short drives (to fun destinations, like the dog park or hiking trail) to familiarize her with the crate and the car. This will also give you a heads-up if your dog gets carsick. Symptoms include drooling, trembling, hunching over, and vomiting. If you notice these signs, ask your vet about anti-nausea medications.
What should your dog pack in her luggage?
- Water and food dishes.
- Favorite toys.
- Waste bags.
- Insect repellent.
- Vaccination records (some accommodations require them).
- First aid kit.
- Water. (If your dog has a sensitive stomach, bringing your own water can help avoid upset.)
Ready to Go?
Give your dog a light meal and a good walk a few hours before you depart. This will help relax her for the trip, and it can help reduce car sickness. Don’t feed her in the car; at her normal feeding time, take a break and allow her to eat and walk.
Remember, never leave your pet in a car if it is warm or cold. Your vehicle can turn into a refrigerator in the winter and an oven in the summer. A mild 70-degree day, for instance, heats a car up to 110 degrees. If you have to stop and can’t take your dog, lock her in, turn on the climate control, and make it quick!
Now that you’ve done your pet prep, secure your dog, hop in, and head off on your adventure. Even if you’re in a new place, try to stick to your routine. Feeding, sleeping, and playing at regular times can keep her calm – and ensure everyone has a great time.