Our pets are such important parts of our lives, it’s hard to imagine taking off on a trip and leaving them at home. That’s why many people choose to bring their dogs along on vacations and road trips, even mapping out special places to stop that are perfect for a pup to take a play break in. However, it’s important to remember that animals have very different needs than we do, especially when they’re away from the comforts of home. Keeping in mind these needs–and preparing for any others that might pop up–will keep the trip from being stressful for you and overwhelming for your pet. (Photo via Pixabay by Domiyanto)
The first step is to take your animal to the vet for a full checkup and to make sure they’re healthy enough to travel. After that, it’s simply a matter of preparing your pet for a long trip and making sure you both have everything you’ll need. Here are a few tips on how to plan a road trip you’ll both remember for a long time.
As much as your dog may want to roam around the car and stick his head out the window for fresh air, it’s important to remember that it’s dangerous and against the law in many states to have a loose animal in a moving vehicle. If your pet isn’t used to being crated, put the carrier in the car, open the door, and encourage him to get in when he’s ready. When he does, close the door and take him for a little spin around the neighborhood to get him used to the motion of the car. Remember to give him lots of love and praise when you get home so he will associate good things with the vehicle and carrier.
It’s also a good idea to have your pet’s ID tag updated and bring along any paperwork pertaining to shots or medications. Keep everything in one envelope for easy access.
After you’ve packed for yourself, put together a bag for your dog that includes food, a collapsible water and food bowl, bottled water, snacks, toys from home, towels, bedding, a leash, and any medications he may be taking. Also bring along several plastic bags to pick up after your dog and a couple extra ones to put wet towels or blankets in if you’ll be stopping by the beach.
Plan your route
Do some research to see where the best dog-friendly places are along the route to your destination. These can include beaches, dog parks, and restaurants that allow pets; don’t forget to check on whether pets are allowed all the time or only on certain days, and do the same for your accommodations. Many hotels allow small pets with a cleaning deposit, but you’ll need to book it well ahead of time because usually only a few rooms are reserved for animals.
Maintain your routine
It might not be possible every day of your trip, but keeping your pet on roughly the same sleeping, playing, and eating schedule will help keep anxiety at bay and ensure your dog is comfortable, safe, and happy during the trip.