Are you thinking of taking your pup on your summer getaway? Read on for some travel tips to ensure you both have a fun journey.
Take a Test Drive
Just as some people prefer to stay home, dogs can have preferences too. If car trips aren't the norm for your pup, it may take him several hours or even days before he can break through the initial fear and can settle to enjoy the ride. Ease him in with at least a week's worth of practice drives before the long trip. Some things that can help: soothing music, blocking the sight of oncoming traffic by draping a sheet over his carrier or over the headrests to create a comforting tent, or by taking an alternate route, as your dog may react differently to traveling on a city road, highway, or country road. If your pup is still shaking, panting, or excessively barking throughout a 30 to 60-minute trial run, you may want to rethink bringing him along.
Check in With Your Vet
Discuss your plans with the vet and make sure to have ample supplies of your pet's medications for the whole trip. Ask what to give should your dog get carsick or anxious during the trip. Make sure to have your pup's vaccination records with you on the trip, so ask us for copies. Some campgrounds, state parks, and hotels require them.
Along with waste bags, water, food, travel bowls, treats, and a spare leash, remember to bring pet wipes, odor-eliminating spray, and paper towels in case of accidents. Also pack your dog's bed or blanket, plus a toy or two. Another must is a first-aid kit outfitted with sterile gauze and bandages, scissors, tweezers, chlorhexidine solution to clean up cuts, styptic powder in case of broken nails, and Benadryl in case of a bee or wasp sting. Make sure to ask what your pet's Benadryl dose is prior to your trip so you're able to help him should an allergic reaction occur.
Who doesn't enjoy seeing a dog with their head out of the car window, tongue flying, enjoying the wind on their fur? But for everyone's safety, you should keep your pup in a crash-tested carrier or a safety harness that buckles into your car's rear seatbelt system. See CenterforPetSafety.org for approved devices.
Whether you're heading to the beach, mountains, or the city, do some research and find dog-friendly places in the area, such as hiking trails, parks, restaurant patios, etc. If you're staying multiple days, make sure your lodging will accommodate your dog. Some hotels won't accept dogs over a certain weight limit even if they're listed as pet-friendly. If you can't bring your pup on all your excursions, look into local doggie daycares where your pup could spend the day. He'll come back to you ready to snuggle for the night after a long day of play.