Travelling with your canine friend brings a totally new experience to life on the road, but it also brings a few unique challenges that you don’t normally run into chauffeuring your dog around town. After all, it’s a trip for two; you must pack and plan for the journey with that in mind.
With that said, a long road trip with your furry friend can be an extremely rewarding experience that both you and your dog will love. It gives you a chance to see new things and meet new people while allowing your dog the very same treat. And if you’re the sort to seek an adventure, we have some important suggestions to keep in mind when starting a trip with your four-legged friend.
Scout your Route Carefully
Like it says above, a full-on road trip with your dog requires more thought than just loading them into the care and driving them around town. Your dog will get restless. Where will you stop along the way for its comfort? Where will you sleep? What hotels allow pets?
Planning these stops should be your first priority. Local dog owners can be a great help with your preparations if you can find one to talk to. Checking online for local blogs where dog owners discuss things. If you’re visiting a city well-known for its dog lovers like Portland, Seattle or Las Vegas, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. And when in doubt, the BarkHappy app can help you find friendly spots along the way.
Visit the Vet
Be sure to take your dog to the vet before embarking on a trip. This is especially important if your dog is prone to motion sickness – and many dogs are – since the vet will be able to provide medication and guidance for that.
You want to ensure that your dog is healthy not only for fun’s sake but because scrambling to find a vet you’ve never met is stressful. If your dog has a medical condition that needs monitoring, be sure to ask your vet for referrals in the areas where you will be staying just in case of an emergency.
Plan for Play Stops
We all get restless during long car rides and dogs need to stretch their legs even more than you do. A good way to go about it is to stop every two hours or so in a rest area or park where you can allow your dog to run around for a bit.
This is why it’s very important to plan ahead and find locations along the way. If you don’t, you might find yourself veering off course and stressing out in search of a park.
Pack everything – and then some
When traveling with a dog, you should think about it like you are traveling with a toddler. Planning for their comfort might even require things that you would not assume they’d need. For example, it might occur to you to bring a toy or two for your dog, but they need their favorite toys and blankets to truly feel at home. They may not even sleep well in a hotel unless they have familiar smells from home all around them.
If they are picky with their food, be sure to pack a lot of what they love to eat so that you do not stress trying to find the right brand of kibble. Beyond that, make sure you pack a first aid kit for them as well as grooming supplies. You’ll also want to crate them in the car; it’s for their safety, but it also makes those park trips even more important.
If you take care of the little things, you’ll set yourself up for the trip of a lifetime for you and your dog. They may be a bit guarded at first, but if you stay positive and encourage their curiosity throughout the trip you’ll both make new friends and many, many memories.
Samantha Tung is a contributing writer and marketing specialist for Caliber Collision. She regularly produces content for a variety of car and travelling blogs.