Are you planning a full-on, family road trip with furry members included? Hold on for a second, because while packing for yourself might be second nature, getting your dog ready comes with a few easily forgettable items and tasks.
For convenience’ sake, there is always the option of boarding your pet for safekeeping while you’re away on your adventure, but if you’re set to have your furry companion by your side – here are a few pointers on what you need to do before you leave your driveway.
- First Things First
Before you even start packing the doggy suitcase there is a couple of things you want to get done first. Book an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough – head to tail exam and to receive a good health certificate. This would mean checking the eyes, ears, temperature and making sure your pet has received all the important vaccines. Also, don’t forget to get a copy of your canine’s medical records. These could come in handy on the road if the need arises.
- Don’t leave anything to chance
If your dog is not chipped, make sure to get it done before you hit the road. This super small device is inserted just under the skin of your pet in a completely harmless procedure and holds all the important information that can be scanned by a microchip scanner. If your sidekick gets sidetracked during your trip, having the chip will substantially boost the chance of him getting found. Also, taking a cute picture of him and taking it with you will further ensure you are quickly reunited. While I hope you won’t have to go through the excruciating experience of losing your dog in an unfamiliar environment – it is better to take all precautions than just hoping for the best.
- Think Ahead, Plan Your Trip
When booking your accommodations in advance, make sure they are clearly marked as pet-friendly. While this might seem obvious, you would be surprised how many hotels have restrictions, and this goes for other facilities as well. Restaurants, stores, tourist attractions, even some campsites don’t allow dogs so make sure to send those e-mails and make calls on time. If you’re planning to do activities without your dog, provide your pet with someone to take care of him while you’re away. Professional daycares are an option and can easily be found online beforehand.
- Packing And Heading Out
Use a dedicated bin or bag and pack all the doggy gear and stuff you’ll need on the road. Here is a list of basic and other items that will come in handy while traveling:
- Two water bowls(one to take with you and one to be left in the car at all times)
- Regular food, snacks and treats
- Favorite toys to keep him occupied
- Favorite blanket to make him feel like at home
- Important meds (especially if he has medical issues)
- An ID Tag with your contact information
- A crate or traveling dog bed
- Protective clothing and socks to keep those paws safe
A leash and a harness (As The Dog Clinic notes, you should only use a crash-tested harness in the car)
- Eco-friendly dog waste bags
This is probably not the first time your dog is tagging along for a ride in your car, but if that is the case, then consider doing a few test drives before heading out on a long journey, especially if he or she is still just a puppy. Do a couple of laps around the neighborhood to get a feel for how your dog behaves. Before heading out, walk your pup and try to wear him down a little bit. This will ensure a much calmer demeanor and, if you’re lucky, he might just pass out for a couple of hours. Also, taking your pet for a walk just before the trip will probably make him do his business outside instead of the inside of your car.
- Safety First
So you’re finally on your way and your family vacation has started. While singing to songs on the radio and having fun is the goal, safety comes first when on the road. No matter how enticing or fun it may seem, it is never a good idea to leave your pet unrestrained while driving. This is for your safety and for theirs. While driving you don’t want anything distracting you and, if left unattended, your dog will probably try to come up to you and nibble your ear or grab your attention in some other way. If space allows it, consider getting a crate for your canine and putting all his favorite toys and blankets inside. This way you will separate yourself from your pet and actually make him less anxious because of the familiarity of the items inside. If you’re low on real estate, get a dog harness that can be attached to the seat belt. Keep this in mind no matter how heartbroken you feel when your furry friend is whining and whimpering in the back. Safety first!
- The Importance Of Hydration
Ensure your pup is always well hydrated, especially if you’re taking a summer vacation trip and the temperatures are higher. Keep your water supply cold and close by. According to a guide on pet travel from kobipets.com – a vast majority of dogs won’t drink warm water even if they are thirsty. Plan on taking frequent stops for some fresh air, play time and a chance to eliminate outside.
You have finally reached your destination, reward your canine pal with a treat and grab a drink yourself. Road trips are meant to be a fun and bonding experience. If you take care of all the things listed above you’ll be well prepared and it is always better to be prepared than leave anything to chance and potentially even ruining your vacation. This way you’ll guarantee your dog and yourself a care-free, fun and relaxing time which is exactly the point of the trip in the first place.