Guest post from Michael Kelly
Planning a long road trip with your dog? Road trips are enjoyable as such and the addition of your cute little companion is going to make it memorable. But, remember, your furry friends have some needs while traveling, which you should take care of so that they are comfortable throughout the journey and let you be comfortable too.
Here are a few traveling tips for taking a long road trip with your dog.
1. Get Your Dog Comfortable with Car Rides
First things first, this should not be your dog’s first car ride, as it will get really tough to manage the dog. Start taking your dog on short car trips so that they are already comfortable traveling in the vehicle. Slowly increase the travel time to see if the dog is ok to be in the car for so long. Once the dog gets comfortable to travel, you can plan a long road trip.
2. Don’t Feed Your Dog Right Before
Do not feed your dog right before you start of your road trip. In the worst case scenario, the car’s movements could lead to stomach twisting, which can be fatal. Your dog is also more likely to experience car sickness. In any case, your dog will want to a toilet break soon after you start. It’s best to feed your dog at least an hour before the start of the trip.
3. Have Up-To-Date Dog Tags
Whenever you travel with your dog, such as when you take a long road trip, you should update your dog’s tags, if they need updating. If by chance your dog gets lost, the chances of your dog getting back home safely are higher with an up-to-date dog tag. Include your name, address and phone number (preferably mobile phone number) on the dog tag.
4. Give Them Their Space in the Car
Do not pack the car too much so that your dog gets very little space. Your dog needs some space to move around; hence keep the backseat empty, if possible. The more room they get, the more well-behaved they will be.
5. Keep Treats Handy
Your dog may get riled up in between the travel. Just to make sure your dog behaves, keep treats handy. This will help your dog stay calm throughout the journey.
Carrying treats that last for hours is a great way to travel hassle-free. Himalayan chew is one such treat that is safe and lasts for long hours. Alternatively, freeze a stuffed Kong toy and give it to your pet, which will again keep them engaged. This will tire their mind, and they will be off to sleep in no time.
6. Take Regular Toilet Breaks
Remember to stop for a toilet break every three hours on the road. Your dog needs to relieve itself more often during travel. Find a gas station or rest area where you can stop and walk your dog a bit for it to get down to business.
7. Pick Up After Your Dog
Remember to pick up after your dog rather than leaving it there – that’s just gross! Pack a supply of poop bags in the car ready for use at toilet breaks.
8. Don’t leave Your Dog in the Car
If you take short breaks during the trip, give your dog a break too. Especially on a hot summer day, do not leave your dog inside the car without switching on the air-conditioning. Overheating of the car can be fatal for the dog. Remember to crack the window open if you have stepped out just for a minute.
9. Be Aware of Wildlife
Always let your dog out of the car on leash. You will likely be stopping close to the highway where the traffic flow is on the higher side. This is a new area for the dog so it is better to control the dog with a leash. You should never let your dog wander off as you will not be aware of the local wildlife in the area.
10. Avoid Danger
If you are stopping at gas stations, remember there may be gasoline and oil on the road that can be poisonous to your dog. Do not let your dog lick anything on the ground. It’s best when letting your dog out of your vehicle, to park off to the side.
11. Bring Toys that Will Last
Toys are really important, and you should bring along your pet’s favourite toys on the trip. It’s best to have some indestructible toys that do not need your supervision. Your dog will be spending hours in the back of the car with their toy, and if it is something they can destroy and chew, better keep it away.
12. Use a Pet Car Cover
It’s best to put up a pet car cover for your dog’s use in the car. A pet car cover fits like a hammock, meaning that your dog will be more comfortable. They will also have space to walk around and be free, with no danger of accidentally falling in between the seats.
A pet car cover will also protect your car seats. Dogs can be messy, and make a mess of your car. Luckily, if you have a pet car cover, you don’t need to clean your car seats as often, whether you have a high-shed retriever or a low-shed hypoallergenic breed, like a doodle or poodle. (Find out more information about doodles at We Love Doodles.)
13. And a Dog Seat Belt
Don’t also forget to get a dog seat belt. One corner of this belt is connected to your dog’s collar or harness, and the other is fixed to the car seat buckle. This will ensure that when you open the car door, your dog can’t escape, plus it protects them and yourself in the event of an accident.
14. Give Them Limited Water Access
Remember to always carry water for your pet and let them sip a little water regularly so that they don’t get dehydrated. But it’s best not to give them free access to water or else they will need more toilet breaks than ever and might have an accident in the car.