10 Safety Tips For Traveling With Your Dog
We may be stuck in the midst of winter right now, but we’re already dreaming of the upcoming road trip season. Spring and summer bring new opportunities to hit the road and see some new sights, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to bring your dog along for the ride.
But traveling with your pup isn’t quite as simple as opening the door and letting him jump in. Before you hit the road, make sure everything is in order with your dog to ensure you’ll both have the best possible time.
1. Contact your vet
Make sure your dog is up-to-date on exams and vaccinations… most pet-friendly hotels will request proof of this. If it’s been awhile since his last check up, get that done before you depart. If your pup is on any medication, make sure it’s refilled before you go. And if you’re going anywhere where he may be exposed to something (like Lyme Disease, for example), extra vaccines may be required.
2. Make sure your dog is road-ready
Have you road tripped with your dog before? If not, try taking her for a shorter drive, perhaps an hour or two…she might get car sick easily, which is something you’ll definitely want to be aware of. If your dog gets anxious or worked up, exposing her to more car trips should help.
3. Research pet-friendly accommodations
Plan your route. If you’ll be driving to your destination over the course of several days, make sure each pit stop has pet-friendly hotels you can stay in. Check with each one to see about paperwork or additional fees.
4. Download road trip apps
There are some really great pet-friendly road trip apps out there. BringFido will help you find dog-friendly hotels, restaurants and events, while DogParkFinderPlus will assist you with finding places where you and your dog can stretch your legs.
5. Think about arranging for dog care at your destination
Will you be going to a wedding or other formal event that doesn’t allow dogs? If your pup has separation anxiety or doesn’t enjoy new places, make things easier by hiring a dog sitter to stay with her for awhile. Ask friends and family at your destination for their recommendations, or look on Rover.com for professional pet sitters. The peace of mind you’ll feel knowing your pup is being cared for will help you relax and have fun.
6. Pack wisely
You’ll have to pack some extra things when you bring Fido along on your road trip. Here’s a list to help you stay organized:
- Food dish, water dish and portioned out food for each day of the trip
- Extra water
- Blanket for sleeping
- Proof of vaccinations and medical care
- Medications and dog back brace if needed
- Collar, leash and ID
- Doggy waste bags
- Crate if you’ll have to crate him
- Flea and tick meds
This probably seems like a lot, but remember, your pup will appreciate having the comforts of home.
7. Invest in a seat harness or crate
Just like you use a seatbelt, your dog should have a seat harness in case you have to slam on your brakes or get into an accident. Driving with a loose dog is very risky. Search for the best options for seat harnesses—make sure the one you buy has been crash tested and scored well. Many dog owners like the seat harness option because it keeps the dog safe while allowing him to sit up or lie down.
You can also crate your dog for the duration of the drive—it may not be as fun, but it ensures he’ll be in a safe spot. There are a wide variety of crates on the market designed for transportation.
8. Don’t allow your dog to hang out the window
We’ve all seen the blissed out dogs poking their heads out car windows, jaws flapping in the breeze. Unfortunately, this is extremely dangerous and is not recommended. There are too many stories of dogs falling out of car windows to risk it.
9. Keep the temperature in the car comfortable
Is your pup too hot? Too cold? Check on her often to make sure she isn’t panting or shivering.
10. Watch the radio volume
Keep the tunes at a comfortable volume for your dog….remember, their ears are more sensitive due to their heightened hearing.
As long as you stick to these safety tips and take good care of your pup, you can enjoy many road trips together. Happy driving!