Summer’s here and you know what that means—road trip! And no four-wheel drive would be complete without your four-legged member of the family. Before you pack up the car and head out for a road trip with a dog, use these simple tips to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time.
Checkup, Meds & ID
To make sure your pooch is up-to-date on all vaccinations and preventative meds for fleas, ticks, and heartworm, schedule a vet visit at least 30 days before you take off. While you’re there:
- Talk to the vet about getting your dog micro-chipped if she or he isn’t already.
- Ask for an updated copy of your dog’s records in case a hotel asks to see them or if you need to visit a vet while on the road.
- Use the LINK app to store your dog’s info.
Crates & Restraints
Even if you don't normally use a crate at home, one with soft bedding where your dog can stand, turn, and lie down makes for a calming place if he or she gets restless or overexcited. It might also be required by some hotels.
And though you don’t need a doggie car seat, a dog car harness can be the seat belt that means the difference between your pet staying safe or being injured if you need to slam on the brakes or are involved in an accident. Just be sure to follow the instructions on how to measure your dog to get the perfect fit.
Many road trips include staying with family and friends, but if you’re booking hotels and motels, you'll need to find ones that are pet friendly. When booking, carefully review the property’s rental pet policies, including extra fees or breed and size restrictions. To avoid any surprises at check-in, be sure to double check that the hotel lets pets inside, if that’s what you want. Some say they are “pet friendly,” but that doesn’t always mean they allow animals into the rooms.
Many attractions also don’t allow pets inside, so be sure to check the website or call ahead to see if your dog can be accommodated.
Food, Water & Treats
Your dog won’t be especially active while in the car, but that doesn’t mean she or he doesn’t need the same nourishment they’re used to at home. Many breeds do develop car sickness, so try to schedule feeding early and late enough to avoid eating while you’re driving.
Keep the car well-ventilated or have the A/C on so your pooch doesn’t overheat, and have plenty of water available at all times. Don’t forget to pack enough of your dog’s favorite treats in case you can’t find them while on the road.
Finally, long stretches in the car can be stressful for humans and dogs alike! Be sure to schedule in plenty of breaks and spend some time playing with or walking your furry friend. It’s human nature to want to get to the destination in record time, but if you remember that it’s the journey that makes the destination, your family and your pet will have a much more memorable and enjoyable time.