As summertime is just around the corner, you may be thinking about taking a vacation with your family pet. Leaving a dog in a kennel or even with a home sitter, may make you anxious versus bringing him along. Plus, he doesn’t want to be left behind!
Planning is the key to having a fun experience, making sure you have everything you’ll need. After all, cars weren’t designed with pets in mind … they generally don’t care if they can watch videos like your kids do.
Here’s some of our best travel tips if you are taking your dog on a road trip!
Before You Leave:
- Make sure he is up-to-date on all vaccinations.
- Although most pets get excited when you say “wanna go” because they love riding in a car, many dogs get anxious on car trips. Here’s a great article on how to help your dog overcome the fear of a car before you take a road trip.
- Food, water and bowls
- Collar with identification including your name, cell number, and his name plus a recent picture
- Leash for walking
- Harness for older dogs
- Pet first aid kit
During the Car Trip
- Fasten your seat belt. It is not a good idea for the dog to roam free in the car for either himself or the driver. If you have to brake quickly, the dog can go flying, plus if you have a small dog, he could end up too near the accelerator. Your best bet is to place him in a crate, dog restraint or seat belt. Do not place him with you in the front seat, because if the air bag deploys, it could injure him.
- Rest stops. Your dog will need frequent rest stops so he can do his business. Always keep him on a leash when exiting the car and make sure he has identification on his tag in case he makes a break for it!
- Food breaks. Many dogs are prone to motion sickness, so don’t feed your dog a lot until you are stopping for the night. Also, don’t feed him while the car is moving. Instead, give him small high protein snacks and let him run around on his rest stop to get rid of some of that pent-up energy. Make sure he stays hydrated with water on your break.
- Dog on board. Never leave your dog unattended in a hot car. According to the Humane Society, when it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes.
- Pet friendly. Many restaurants and hotels are now pet friendly so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a great place to eat or sleep if you make a reservation ahead. When making reservations, ask about their specific pet policies. Some hotels don’t allow guests to leave their dogs in hotel rooms unattended while others ask for a pet deposit or charge a non-refundable pet fee.
- Harness. If your dog is old or arthritic, he may have trouble jumping in and out of the car. He would benefit from a Help ‘Em Up Harness with Hip Lift which is a connecting chest and hip harness with sturdy lifting handles. Read how one of our customers successfully used the harness to wrangle her senior canine on a road trip.
Vacations can be fun to share with your best friends as long as you do your planning.