Road trips with dogs can be a lot of fun. The scenery is usually beautiful, and you get to visit new places and take your dog on adventures he might not have been able to enjoy otherwise. But even when you’re ready for the road, there are some dog road trip tips that can make a road trip with your dog more enjoyable for everyone involved.
#1: Crating on Road Trips with Dogs
When you’re planning a road trip with your dog, you’ll need to decide if you want to crate your dog or not. It’s important to remember when traveling with your dog is that a crate is not a punishment. It’s a safe place for your dog to be while you’re driving, and it’s also a great way for them to get some much-needed rest.
If you decide that crating is right for your dog, then here are some tips:
- Make sure the crate fits in your car and that it’s big enough for your dog. The crate should be large enough for them to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably
- Have a few toys and dog treats handy so that every time they go into their crate, they get something positive from it. If they do well with this at home, then hopefully they won’t mind going into their travel crate when you get ready to go on a trip!
- Add a dog bed to their crate to make your dog comfortable, especially if you’re planning long car rides.
#2: Grab a Harness for Back Seat Riding
If you choose not to crate your dog and you want them to ride in the back seat, there are several measures you should take to ensure your dog’s safety. Thanks to the harness and seatbelt, your dog can enjoy a ride in the car. If you’re going on a road trip or just heading out for a quick errand, it’s important that your dog be restrained properly.
The best way to do this is with a harness and seatbelt. While some people choose to use only a collar and leash, that can lead to problems if your dog becomes scared or excited while in the car.
There are many reasons to use a dog harness instead of a collar. The first is that it’s safer for your pet. Collars can slip off and choke your dog, or get caught on something and break his neck. A collar does not offer any protection from sudden stops or bumps in the road.
A harness fits snugly around the body and helps disperse pressure from the neck down to the shoulders. You’ll know it’s working if you feel less pressure on your hands when you’re walking your dog. Harnesses also help prevent dogs from jumping out of cars or out of crates.
And, don’t forget to grab a seat cover designed specifically for pets. You will be thankful for this if your dog is one that gets car sick while road tripping.
#3: Calming Supplements
It’s important that you keep your dog calm and comfortable on the drive, whether it’s to the next town over or you’re planning a cross country road trip. The following are two suggestions to help keep your dog relaxed:
Full Spectrum Hemp Extract
Hemp extract has a number of benefits that make it an excellent choice for dogs, including:
- Hemp extract promotes a sense of relaxation and mental alertness without drowsiness and supports normal emotional balance.
- Helps maintain contentment during separation, travel, motion sickness and tension caused by changes in your pet’s daily routine
- Helps animals maintain a normal and relaxed disposition
- Supports normal recovery from stress
Essential oils are the concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants. They’re extracted from flowers, fruits, leaves, and other parts of a plant through distillation or expression. Each type of essential oil comes with its own set of benefits, but the ones that are recommended for a road trip include:
- Lavender: Lavender is among the most popular essential oils and may help your dog cope with external stresses.
- Chamomile: Chamomile promotes relaxation to help your furry friend be more comfortable.
You can choose to provide a diluted essential oil by itself or in combination with other suggestions. If you’re using an essential oil on the drive, grab a diffuser specifically designed for the car so your dog can enjoy the aroma of the oil you’ve chosen.
#4: Plan to Stop Frequently
You should plan to stop at dog-friendly destinations every few hours, even if it’s just a quick walk at rest stops. Dogs need to go outside, and they can get carsick if they’re stuck in the car for too long without opportunities to stretch their legs, take a bathroom break, and eat or drink water. If you’re going on a long road trip with your dog, be prepared to take frequent breaks.
Stop every hour or two so they have plenty of chances for bathroom breaks and snacks, and maybe even some playtime. Who knows, you may also need a potty break, and it’s good for you to stretch on your journey. You’ll probably feel better once you reach your destination.
If you can find dog parks, that’s even better. As long as you aren’t in a time crunch, you can allow your dog to spend 15-30 minutes exercising with other pups. This can help wear them out a little so they won’t be as concerned with the road trip.
#5: Pet Friendly Accommodations
Finding dog friendly accommodations can be difficult, but fortunately, there are an increasing number of places becoming dog friendly these days. To find one close to where you want to stay, check out these tips:
Booking a Hotel
If you’re booking a hotel, it’s important to find one that allows pets. Some hotels have a strict policy against allowing them, while others are more lenient, but regardless of their policy, it is always best to ask before booking your room.
The first step in finding pet-friendly hotels is visiting their website and looking at their pet policy page. Most websites will have this information listed on their homepage under “What We Offer” or similar categories, so look there first.
If you cannot find a dog-friendly hotel, give them a call and ask about their policies directly to see if they’re dog friendly. You never know what surprises might await when speaking with customer service reps over the phone. You should also bring proof of vaccinations with you when checking into your room in case you’re asked what vaccines have been administered thus far.
Finding a Campsite
If you’re planning on camping with your furry friend, try looking into campgrounds that are dog friendly. Most national parks will allow dogs at specific sites, but they must be on a leash at all times. Be sure to ask about fees, if any.
While campgrounds aren’t typically designed for long term stays, they can make great overnight stops on the way to your final destination. Many campgrounds offer cabins or small houses that allow dogs and other pets. If you want to stay in one of these accommodations, consider booking at least two nights so that you can get settled before moving on to the next place.
Never Leave Your Dog
Never leave a dog or any pet in a parked car, even if you’re just running in to grab some snacks at the gas station. You want to keep your dog safe, and leaving your dog unattended is never a good plan. Even on the coldest days of summer, temperatures inside a car can reach dangerous levels within minutes. Even with windows cracked open, the sun’s rays can heat up the interior to lethal levels in just minutes.
Dogs are especially vulnerable because they can’t cool themselves off by sweating and panting the way humans do. They also have a higher body temperature than humans, which means they heat up faster and suffer greater effects from high temperatures.
The most important thing you can do to ensure your dog’s safety is to make sure he or she is properly identified with a microchip and rabies vaccination certificate, as well as their license and medical records. You should also grab the supplies you’ll need for your trip, including food, water, and some toys or treats. Also, get acquainted with where everything is in the car so it’s easier to find things when you need them.
Plan ahead. Write everything down you’re going to need for your trip. Grab the calming supplements, have a tentative route mapped out with dog-friendly accommodations, and be sure to never leave your dog in the car alone.
After you have all your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed, you can head out on your journey. Above all, don’t forget to have fun with your pup!
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