Are you planning to take a road trip with Fido? Road trips are a fun and great way to explore new parts of the country. While it can be fun and memorable to bring your dog with you, the long rides can wear out their attention, and present unique challenges.
Where kids may ask, “have we arrived there yet,” dogs will express their restlessness in unsafe ways, like jumping on your lap when cruising at high speeds or hanging dangerously out of the window. Therefore, to avoid this and other challenges, a dog-specific prep will ensure that your dog is on his best behavior during the long road trips.
Tips on How to Enjoy The Open Road With Your Furry Companion
Visit your vet
When was the last time you took your dog to the vet for a check-up? If it has been a while, now is the time to take them in. Ensure that all vaccinations are up-to-date, and ask your vet if there are additional vaccinations needed for the road trip since your dog may be exposed to different threats along the way or at your destination.
It is also important that you request a copy of the medical records of your dog and carry extra medication, just in case your trip takes longer than you planned. Spare some time to update your phone contact list with information like the address and emergency contacts of a dog vet at your destination.
Work on your p’s and q’s
Many things can happen along the way, and teaching your dog reliable “Quiet,” “Come,” “Heel,” and “Settle” commands can help you avoid dangerous or embarrassing situations. To prepare your dog for the trip, practice is essential. Before you can set out on your next escape on the open road, test your dog by taking them somewhere with a lot of distractions like a dog park or an outdoor café.
Plan a dog-friendly route
Before you hit the road with your dog, it’s important that you plan a dog-friendly route with rest stops that have dog areas for them to play, stretch, and go to the bathroom. When planning your route, your schedule should accommodate time for regular breaks. Your dog will enjoy the road trip if they are comfortable and happy, and one of the best ways to do this is to schedule a time for your dog to walk around and go to the bathroom.
Book dog-friendly accommodations
While planning a dog-friendly route is essential, it’s not enough. You also have to plan for lodging. Keep in mind that not all hotels will accept pets, and some campsites have restrictions. To avoid surprises, ensure that you contact individual hotels well in advance to inquire about their pet policies, including rules, breed restrictions, and any possible fees. However, most pet-friendly websites will avail this information on their website.
Practice for your trip
If your dog gets anxious or nervous during car rides, there are behavioral training techniques that you can try before you rush to your vet for tranquilizers. A good way to prep your dog for the trip is to take a few short practice trips and ensure that your dog enjoys the experience. Rides to the pet store or dog park will help your pet to build their comfort and familiarity. Car rides should not only be for visiting the vet.
Combat motion sickness
You now know that it’s a good idea to take your dog on short trips to practice before you can embark on your road trip. This will not only help your dog to familiarize itself with car rides but also help you know if they are prone to motion sickness. If your dog isn’t feeling too well after a short trip, it’s crucial that you talk to your veterinarian before you take the long road trip. Your vet will prescribe anti-nausea medication and provide you with the right feeding plan. This means that you may have to adjust mealtime to avoid feeding your dog just before you start driving.
Get weather updates
This will help you to prepare yourself for changes in weather that could slow your travel and alert you in case of a potential natural disaster like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. It’s also important to take weather into consideration when you’re packing for your dog. In case the weather gets colder than your dog is used to, ensure that you pack some clothing.
Put your dog’s safety first
As a dog owner, the most important thing you can do for your dog is to keep them safe throughout the trip. Therefore, you may want to consider getting a crate for them. However, if you don’t get a suitable crate or carrier, then you may get a pet safety belt.
During the road trip, avoid leaving your pet alone in the car, as temperatures can quickly climb up, even if you just want to grab something in a store or restaurant. Alternatively, you can bring another person on your road trip. This way, when you have to go to the bathroom or into a restaurant to get some food, the other person can stay with your dog.
In order to arrive safely at your destination, ensure that your dog keeps his head inside the car. Although they may enjoy the fresh air, it can be dangerous for them to stick their heads outside while you drive. Flying objects and oncoming traffic can injure your dog. Therefore, it’s safer if your dog remains seated in a dog seat belt or crate and not roam around the vehicle.
Carry dog gear
Because long trips can bring about anxiety in some dogs, it’s crucial that you carry something familiar for your dog. For example, to ease their mind, you can bring their favorite toy or blanket. Additionally, it is important that you bring food, water, water bowls, a health certificate, a pet first aid kit, medications that your pet is taking, an extra leash, and an up-to-date identification tag.
It also goes without saying that you will need enough diapers for your dog. These are especially important if you don’t want your car to smell like a dog urinal. You can get more information from petparentsbrand.com on how to avoid diaper urine burn.
Don’t forget Fido’s nerves
If you notice that your dog gets anxious or stressed when riding in the car, there are some natural remedies that you can use. You can use pressure wraps or add certain pheromones to their water or food an hour before you set out.
Entertain your dog
Keeping your dog entertained will make the ride easier. For this reason, there are some items that you shouldn’t forget to carry. Ensure that you carry something that your dog can chew on like a favorite toy that will keep them busy and to avoid chewing on car seat belts.
You may also want to bring a tug toy for your dog to play with at rest shops. This toy will give you the opportunity to train your dog on how to drop and improve their game of tug. Additionally, playing with your dog will also wear them out both mentally and physically, which will help them rest better between stops. Dog fetch toys are also good at entertaining your dog, but you should only use them at rest shops with lots of space for your dog to run.
Make frequent stops
How frequent you stop will depend on your dog. Potty-training pups and senior dogs may often require frequent stops. However, it’s a good idea to stop after every few hours to let your dog stretch and relieve themselves. You can also take advantage of the breaks to take a cup of coffee to keep you awake throughout the rest of your journey. When planning a road trip that includes your dog, you may want to limit spending long days in your car and divide your trip with stops at friends/family or dog-friendly hotels.
While things may tend to go a little sideways, you can choose to let them ruin your trip, or you may opt to see them as a new adventure. Your dog can be a great teacher, mainly because they’re not attached to the outcome. Therefore, regardless of where you end up or how many fascinating things you see along the way, they‘re all irrelevant to your pooch. They just want to spend time with you and have fun. By embracing this mindset, you’ll see every detour as a chance to have a good time with your dog.
What could be more exciting than bringing your furry friend on a fun road trip? Just remember to carefully plan out all the essential things before you embark on your trip. Plan your route, accommodation, packing list, pack your dog’s medication and favorite toys, and craft the perfect road playlist. Although planning a road trip is a good way to treat your pooch, don’t forget to plan for your pet’s needs as well.