As the weather starts to warm up, we know it’s time to engage in that classic American tradition: road trip! And what better creature to share the highways and byways with than your lovable pooch? Here are a few tips if you’re planning on bringing your dog with you on a road trip this year.
1. Talk to your vet about where you’re going
Make sure to get your dog’s regular vaccinations, tags, and paperwork all in order, but it is also important to ask your vet if there is anything else you should be prepared for. There may be certain disease-carrying insects that affect dogs that are not native to your area, or common allergies that you may be aware of. Get a professional opinion before you get moving.
2. Pack your dog’s own bag
Not so that they feel special (you should already be accomplishing that on your own), but so you can access any of their things easily. Make sure all this stuff is together and easy to get to:
Food/water and bowls
Toys (both chewables to keep them occupied and fetching, if your dog likes that)
Dog safe bug repellent and sunscreen
A recognizable blanket and dog towel
Brush and flea comb
3. Map out proper breaks
Ideally, depending on their energy level, your dog should be getting a break to get up, relieve themselves, and burn off a bit of energy every 2-3 hours. They will probably need more early on, as they may be a bit stressed. Check for rest areas along the highways you’ll be traveling, and DO NOT let your dog off the leash unless you are absolutely sure they can handle it. Big trucks and highways are near rest areas, and even well trained dogs, might get overwhelmed and not listen to commands they normally would.
4. Have boarding options if you’re doing something without your dog
Not for every road trip, but if you are headed somewhere you need to leave your dog unattended for a while (like a wedding), do not leave them alone in an unfamiliar area. Stressed out dogs may destroy a hotel room if left alone for any period of time, due to anxiety and lack of comforting smells. Find a highly-rated daycare nearby and pony up for it; it will be much cheaper than paying for destroyed furniture in an AirBnB.
5. Wear them out beforehand
This goes for all dogs, but especially road trip newbies: get them a lot of exercise before hitting the road. New experiences can be scary for anyone, especially as most car trips for dogs wind up at the vet or boarding. Give them a good, long walk to save them (and yourself) some stress in the opening leg of the trip.
If you’re hitting the road this spring, make sure to pack an odor and stain remover like Bio-nihilator to take care of any stress related accidents in your car or where you are staying. Your host will thank you… Actually, they won’t, because they won’t know any accidents happened at all. Travel safely!