Planning a vacation that includes your favorite canine pal? Road tripping with your dog this summer, or any other time of the year? No matter when, traveling with dogs requires a little planning and preparation to ensure both you, and your pet, arrive safe and sound.
Bringing the family dog on vacation can be loads of fun! But do your homework first before packing your four legged family member along for the adventure. Vehicles and airplanes are not designed with our pets in mind. It’s up to us to ensure Fifi and Fido are as safe and comfortable as possible en route. Here are top tips to minimize the stress, and maximize the fun, when traveling with your dog.
Essential Tips For Road Tripping With Doggie
We, like millions of others, are pet owners. Dogs, guinea pigs, fish, and even two toads call this house home! Most days, they are a happy crew, living their lives in comfort and style.
But when the suitcases come out, this particular family member becomes concerned. Who could say No to this sad puppy face? Before you pack him up along with the suitcases, consider these following five tips to ensure everyone arrives safe and sound.
Pack A Pet Essentials To-Go Bag
Our doggie road trip essentials bag includes a dog leash, poo bags, a few favorite treats, water bottles and water bowl, his favorite toy, and his blanket. Keeping Fido well-hydrated is essential, as is taking the edge off the hunger. You’ll also need quick access to his leash and a poo bag for breaks along the way. A favorite toy or blanket can help keep him comfortable in the vehicle. Remember to keep the to-go bag easily accessible!
Doggie Travel Tip: Consider restricting Fido’s food intake in the hours shortly before leaving. Like humans, dogs can also experience motion sickness. Also pack snacks your dog has enjoyed before. Now isn’t the time to try out new snacks.
Prepare For Proper Dog Seating
No doggies in the front seats please! Proper pet seating is vital to keeping all passengers safe when hitting the open road. The goal is to ensure your pet is both safe as well as comfortable for the long ride ahead. A free-roaming dog inside the vehicle is a potential projectile if you have to slam on the brakes or experience an accident.
The safest way to travel with Fido is in a crate. If your pet is crate trained, and the crate fits in the car, consider crating him for the drive. Pet restraints are another option when crating is not. A well-made harness can safely connect Fido to a seat belt, provide enough motion to sit up and lie down, yet not allow him to free roam in the vehicle.
Doggie Travel Tip: Ensure the crate is properly secured in the vehicle! Also keep the windows up and Fido’s head inside the car. Injuries from hanging out windows while speeding down highways are common, and certainly not how you want to begin your vacation.
Tag’em with Updated IDs & Tags
Are you prepared if your pet wanders off? It happens! Make sure Fido is properly tagged with current identification and contact information. If he takes off in pursuit of a scent or wanders off down the street, someone can contact you directly of his whereabouts. Include the phone number you will most likely answer when on the road.
Doggie Travel Tip: This might be the time to get your pooch microchipped. Snap a photo before leaving and keep it with you for proof of identification if he does wander off.
Ensure Vaccinations are Up To Date
Ensure your dog is healthy for travel and his vaccinations are up to date. If travel plans include boarding your pet along the way, a Certificate of Health might be required from your veterinarian. Proof of rabies vaccination will certainly be required! Discuss options with your vet for possible motion sickness issues, or if your pet is an anxious traveler.
Doggie Travel Tip: Pack a copy of Fido’s latest vaccination papers and your veterinarian’s contact information. You may not plan to board, but if the need arises, you are prepared.
Work Out Before Heading Out
Take a long walk before loading Fido into the car. Play catch, throw the frisbee, or whatever exercise your pooch prefers to shake off some energy. Whether your doggie is extremely anxious or overly excited when he realizes he’s coming along for the ride, expending some of that energy will go a long way to a calmer, ready to travel pooch. A tired out pooch is a more calm, ready to travel pooch. Well, at least the start of the adventure!
Doggie Travel Tip: If your pooch is prone to motion sickness, talk with your vet for recommended motion sickness medication and the proper dosage amounts for his weight. Then dose shortly before loading him into the car.
Pit Stops for Frequent Breaks
Keep your pooch comfortable with frequent roadside breaks. Let him out for a short walk to stretch his legs, and an opportunity to relieve himself. This is also the perfect time for a water break. If the road is long, a snack might be in order too! Last but not least, please don’t leave Fido alone in the car for your own pit stop, especially if the day is hot.
Doggie Travel Tip: Make sure you’ve packed that doggie essentials to-go bag somewhere handy! And snap on his leash before releasing Fido from the vehicle.
More Top Tips For Traveling with Dogs
Considering taking your four legged friend on an airplane ride? Here are several more tips for airplane travel as well as car and bike travel with Fido. The most important piece of advice for when Fido plans to take to the skies with you? Call the airlines in advance to confirm their specific pet travel requirements! Each airline is different and rules change over time. Don’t simply rely on an internet search, or you might be in for a rude surprise at the airport.
Doggie Travel Tip: Consider only direct flights when traveling with four legged friends.
Do You Travel With Your Pets?
We have road tripped multiple times over the years with our canine pals. One was an extremely anxious traveler and preferred to never be in the car. One would always get car sick. And this doggie? He’s so excited to join in the family adventure he’ll jump into practically any vehicle with its door open to ensure he’s not left behind!
Do you travel with your four legged friends? Share your favorite travel tips with us.
One last travel tip: Enjoy your vacation with your four legged friends! Save travels!
Images by C.Biederman.