Pet owners don’t always bring their dogs with them on long journeys, and this is often because they don’t know how to prepare for the trip to be easy and stress-free. In addition, it can seem daunting that bringing a pet will make the trip take more time, having to stop for bathroom breaks, etc. However, there is no reason why we can’t bring our furry friends along on one of our adventures.
If you’re concerned with bringing your pet along on your next road trip, there are plenty of measures that you can take to ensure that the trip is hassle-free and fun. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to enjoying the long journey with your dog.
You can help prepare your dog by taking them out whenever you can go in your car to help them get used to spending time there. The more often you can help them feel less anxious in a new environment, the better it is for them. Also, your dog will be much more likely to enjoy the long trip when it has spent enough time on car rides with you already.
For example, take your dog to the drive-thru for lunch, at the bank, or to a pet shop the next time you need to run an errand. Many of those little trips can promote a positive experience so that your dog won’t be anxious being in the car for more extended periods.
Remember The Essentials
It is crucial to ensure that you have all you need within close reach for a long journey for your pet. Having the right essentials when you travel should include:
- Water bowl
- Food bowl
- Food and bottles of water
- Blanket or dog bed
- Travel crate or kennel
- First-aid kit
- Dog’s medications and vitamins
- Dog tags, collar, and leash
- Documents (medications, vaccination records, prescriptions, microchip information, medical insurance)
- Supplies for grooming
- Extra treats
You can never be too prepared so feel free to pack extras of anything you think you may need. To pick up their waste, doggie bags are another helpful thing to bring since you don’t know exactly where you’ll stop and where your dog will need to go.
If you have a microchip for your dog, this is very helpful. Because you will be in a location that your dog is unfamiliar with, there is always the chance that your dog might become lost or run away. Even if you can instill a GPS dog tracker on your dog’s collar, that can go a long way to put your mind at ease for your dog not to become lost.
Toys, Puzzles, Games
Pets like to occupy their time just like humans do on a long journey, so if the big dog bone you packed along isn’t enough, consider bringing some of your dog’s favorite toys or a game. There are plenty of dog puzzles that can entertain your pup for some time, and if you have children, you should engage them in using these toys and puzzles to help keep your dog occupied.
The KONG Tiltz Treat Dispenser is one such puzzle game that will keep your dog stimulated for a long time. You should also consider bringing a ball or frisbee so that when you do make pit stops, your dog has a chance to release some energy and do some running around.
Ensure Accommodations Allows Pets
When planning ahead, it is crucial that you check (and double-check) that wherever you plan to go will have pet-friendly accommodations. There are plenty of locations that allow pets, so do your research and scope them out.
Maybe, for instance, you are staying with family, so you don’t think you need to be concerned with exploring locations that accept pets. However, you don’t know if, for any reason, your trip might become interrupted and take longer due to traffic delays, car issues, or something else. So cover all of your bases and do some research for pet-friendly locations if you have to stop along the way for an overnight rest.
Air Travel vs. Car Travel
When you travel with your pet by car, you should bring a crate or kennel, or at least ensure that you have a harness with a seat belt so that your pet doesn’t roam free about the car. Of course, it is unsafe for your pet to do this since it can distract whoever is driving and cause an accident if your dog isn’t secure. Ensure you also don’t leave your dog alone in the car on a hot day; have someone watching your dog at all times and during all pit stops.
If you have to do any air travel, you should review all the airlines’ guides and procedures regarding traveling with pets. They most likely will require that your pet is in a carrier or crate to be placed in a cargo hold, which can cause anxiety for your dog. In addition, you may need to ensure you create a separate list of essentials when your dog goes on a plane, such as puppy pads and medications for their anxiety.
Talk to Your Veterinarian
Before taking your dog on any trip, you should speak to your veterinarian. If your trip is overseas, then you will have to take your dog to the vet anyway for a health checkup and vaccines that may be necessary. The NYC vet clinic, Bond Vet, states that you should receive a certificate for authorities to review from your veterinarian whenever you are traveling internationally.
You might be concerned about your dog becoming anxious or stressed about the journey – your vet can provide helpful recommendations and medications if needed to ensure that your pet is relaxed and calm for your trip.
Train Your Dog To Listen To Commands
It’s helpful if you have a well-trained dog to bring along with you so that you can ensure it will follow commands in case of any situation, such as encounters with another dog, unfamiliar people, and more. You might consider instilling a marker word as part of your training so that you know your dog will be obedient upon hearing it.
Some of the more common commands you can teach your dog include Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Leave It, Get, and Come Here. Those fundamentals help your dog to learn that you are in control and help you both feel more at ease when in a new environment.
Be Prepared For All Scenarios
You must prepare for anything that could happen on a trip. Hopefully, even without your dog in toe, you would do this anyway, but the more prepared you are, the better you feel about the whole trip in general. Instill some of these tools and techniques for your next trip, and you will feel more at ease and enjoy your journey together.