Who Wants To Go For A R-I-D-E - 8 Tips for Successful Car Travel with Your Dog
Are you planning a road trip with your dog? Taking your dog in the car can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. Many dogs love exploring new places, and of course, your dog will be pleased just to be going where you are.
Before you embark on your journey, be aware that there can be challenges to taking a dog on the road. These eight tips will help you and your dog have a better experience as you travel together by car.
Visit the Vet
Take your dog to the vet before you leave on your trip. That will ensure that your dog is healthy and up to date with any medical care.
While you're there, ask for new copies of vaccination reports and any other vital information. Also, ask your vet for recommendations on what to do if your dog seems carsick or anxious about travel. There are medications available for dogs who find car travel stressful, and your vet can help prepare you for this possibility.
Your pet should always wear proper identification, and it's crucial when you are away from home. It can be challenging to find a missing pet in new surroundings, so be sure that anyone who finds your precious pooch will be able to contact you immediately.
You should always keep your pet on a leash when you stop for exercise or to use the bathroom, but even that doesn't guarantee your dog won't get lost.
Pets have been known to jump out the window of a car in traffic or run away in the midst of a traffic accident. Proper identification, including ID Tags like these here, can mean the difference between getting home with or without your pet.
Introduce the Car
Some dogs rarely, if ever, go for rides in the car. If you live within walking distance of your veterinary office and other places your dog visits, your dog may have been on only a few car rides.
A few days before travel, let your dog hang out in the car and get used to the feel and smell. Take short car rides if your dog doesn't have much experience with travel.
Ask yourself where your dog will be riding in the car and how you plan on keeping your pet secure. Like with people, it is safer for a dog to be strapped in or confined when riding in a car. This is to ensure that your pet is not thrown when the car suddenly stops and so you can be sure that your dog won't get anxious and try to climb into your lap while you are driving.
You can buy seat belts for your dog that attach to a harness. You may also want to consider transporting your dog in a crate or carrier. If you choose a carrier, be sure it has plenty of ventilation.
Bring Medical Records
Always bring along vaccination certificates and other medical records when you travel with your dog. Hotels, campgrounds or other businesses could ask for them, or the police may even want to see them if you encounter any problems.
That is particularly important if you are driving into another country as part of your travel. You may be required to provide proof of vaccinations to cross the border.
Car rides can get dull, and it will help your dog to have something to do. Bring a favorite toy for security and comfort, and pack something new and interesting as well. Offer this new toy partway through the trip to keep your dog busy.
You may want to have your dog skip a meal before car travel to avoid an upset stomach, but you definitely want to provide plenty of water.
Bring along some bottled water from the store or tap water from home (if that is what your dog is used to). You can't always be sure that water will be available at rest stops, and water from new places can upset a sensitive stomach.
You will want to stop every couple of hours to provide your dog with a drink, some exercise, and a place to go potty. Look for rest stops that have grassy areas where you can walk. With some advance planning, you might even be able to find a dog park where you can throw a ball for a little while.
Plan to eat at rest stops or in the car so you can avoid leaving your dog alone while you go into a restaurant. Cars can get dangerously hot in warm weather, and your dog might be anxious in new surroundings.
Dogs can be excellent companions on car trips, and you and your pet can have a great time together finding adventure and exploring new places. Careful planning will help you avoid pitfalls and issues, so use these eight tips to keep your dog safe and happy while traveling on the road.