How many of you have a countdown until your next vacation? I know for me as soon as I book my trip I go find a calendar and count how many days I have to wait until my getaway (right now it’s 25!).
But you know who else really needs a vacation? Your dog! I mean, that life of chewing toys, eating treats, and late night snuggles can get pretty exhausting! My husband and I love to take our dog along with us on trips whenever we can. Meeka is always up for new places to run, food to try, and people to sniff!
However, traveling with a dog has its challenges, that’s why it’s oh-so important to plan ahead so you can make sure your best friend is as safe and content as possible. To ensure everyone’s fun and well being on vacation, take a look at the following DO’s and DON’Ts for planning a safe road trip with your dog:
1. Health and Safety
DO bring their vet and vaccination records, DON’T assume everything will go according to plan: You know what they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Please please please make sure to pack a copy of your pet’s vaccination records and any other medical paperwork that would be helpful in case of an emergency. No one ever wants to make a trip to the emergency vet, especially when you are far away from home. However, heaven forbid something were to happen, having these papers readily on hand will make the process so much easier and more efficient, giving everyone more peace of mind while you adventure with your four-legged friend.
2. The Essentials
DO bring plenty of water, treats, and your pet’s normal food, DON’T plan on buying food at your destination or only getting water during restroom breaks: Food and water is important for us, and it’s just as, if not more, important for your furry road trip buddy! Make sure to pack a few water bottles and a collapsible bowl (I recommend the COMSUN Collapsible Dog Bowl), especially if you’re making this trip during one of those scorching summer months. It’s important for your pup to stay hydrated, and a collapsible bowl keeps everything neat and compact… it’s a road trip essential! Not only that, but pack a large supply of your dog’s food for the trip. You want them to have their own normal food to eat, and you never know if the stores where you are travelling to will have it in stock. Pack enough for a few extra days just in case there are any spills, travel delays, or especially hungry pups! Also, make sure to keep some mess-free treats in the car in case you get stuck in traffic and your dog’s stomach starts to growl… nobody likes to ride with a “hangry” passenger!
And just in case your dog makes a mess with food, water, or accidents (car sickness or inability to hold it until the next rest stop), pack a roll of paper towels or a pack of wipes. Keeping their area as clean as possible will help them relax and enjoy the ride!
3. A Place to Snooze
DO bring your dog’s bed or a familiar pillow, DON’T plan on your dog sleeping through the night in an unfamiliar place: It’s hard for me to sleep through the night in a new place, and it’s also hard for Meeka! We always make sure to pack her bed so that she has somewhere she knows is safe to lay down at night. If your dog’s bed is too big or not able to be packed up into the car, bring a pillow or some sort of cushion that has a familiar scent for your pooch to cuddle up with at night. Having this sense of familiarity will hopefully help to take the edge off and allow them settle down so they can get a good night’s rest. More sleep equals more energy for fun adventures!
4. Secure Gear and Planning Ahead
DO ensure your dog has a secure collar, leash and tags, DON’T assume you won’t need to make any stops or that your pup will stay by your side: Having your dog run away is every pet parent’s worst nightmare… so let’s take every precaution we can so it won’t happen! Travelling is fun, but it can also be extremely stressful for your dog. Make sure they are wearing a secure collar with tags that have your name and phone number on them. Any time you stop for a bathroom break, make sure to attach the leash to their collar securely before you even open the door. Being in a strange place with tons of cars whizzing by can give your dog a lot of anxiety and may cause them to want to dart off, so keep a tight grip on them. If they seem to be in distress, reassure them with a kind tone that everything is ok and to get their business done! And, if you are able to, plan out a few stops along the way at rest areas that are quieter and have enough grass for your buddy to stretch their legs. If you aren’t in a rush, try stopping at a park halfway through the drive. Go for quick walk so that you and your pup get enough exercise for the day. Who knows, maybe a little walk is just what they need to help them snooze the rest of the way!
And just like we need seatbelts, your dog also needs one! Make sure to invest in a dog safety harness for the car to ensure their safety!
DO pack a few toys or a bone to chew on, DON’T assume they won’t get bored during the car ride: It is a good idea to pack a few toys that will keep your dog busy during a long trip. If your pup is getting bored or antsy, try hiding a few treats inside their Kong or a puzzle toy. If they’ve been an extra good boy or girl, give them a nice big bone to chew on (Meeka loves antlers, and they don’t make a mess!). Keeping your dog entertained will ensure you have a more pleasant car ride and help prevent them from finding something more destructive to do (like chewing through seat belts… that’s no fun to discover!).
Where do you like to travel with your dog? What do you find is helpful for long car rides? Let us know for a chance to be featured!