Dogs are indeed a man’s best friend and if you are especially attached to your canine buddy, even a day’s estrangement can be difficult to deal with. So we can imagine how much more difficult it must be for you to mull over the idea of a vacation without your pet.
But arranging for any kind of trip with a furry friend along can be quite a tough task given that most travelling options tend to pet-unfriendly. This, very often, leaves you with just the option of road trips in your own vehicle so that you can avoid the hassles of transporting your dog in small, confined, uncomfortable cages over long distances in planes or trains.
Here we have compiled a list of ten tips you can follow to make road trips with your dog a memorable experience for both of you.
Book an appointment with the vet
If it has been a while since you took your dog for a check-up now would be the perfect time to visit your veterinarian. Ensure that you are up to date on all the necessary preventive medical care including vaccinations and check to see if there are any other medical precautions you should be taking against diseases your pet might be susceptible to on course of the journey. Carry your dog’s medical records and extra medicines in account of a delay. Also find out the contact details of a reputed veterinarian at your destination in case of emergencies.
Plan the route very carefully
Travelling in a confined area can get quite uncomfortable for a canine if he can’t get out once in a while and stretch his limbs – just like you. So plan your route such that you can take breaks of 15 minutes to half an hour so that your dog can get some exercise and relieve him as well. Alternatively you can choose to travel on a route that is dotted with pet friendly areas like a small dog park, or a cafe that hosts your dogs as well. There are mobile apps to help you identify such locations, so make sure you harness the power of technology to your benefit.
Check with the weather man
This is an absolute must ahead of every trip you take. You need to be prepared for emergencies like chances of rainfall, storms, etc. You also need to make sure that you steer clear of the paths of impending natural disasters like tornadoes and cyclones. Moreover, if it is going to be hotter or colder than usual, you need to account for your dog’s comfort which means packing adequate drinking water, necessary garments, etc.
Find pet-friendly places to stay
With the basics of the travel plan worked out, now is the time to decide on places to stay along the route as well as at the destination. The accommodation has to welcome pets and have adequate facilities to host a dog like yours. Most hotels, and even some campsites, often have restrictions about pets so you either have to contact them in advance to make things clear or find out hotels that allow pets to ensure that you and your pet don’t end up sleeping in the car.
Arrange for dog care where you are going
If you travelling to attending an event like a wedding or funeral, and will be away from your dog for the major part of a day at the destination, make sure to find out about dog care and boarding facilities at the destination because the animal is highly likely to get more antsy and anxious than usual at the unfamiliar location.
Carry a crate
Since the journey involves long hours of travel in a car, it is a good idea to pack a crash-proof crate certified by veterinarians and tested for quality to provide your pet a comfortable spot to curl up inside. Your dog can also sleep inside the crate at the hotel or campsite. The crate will also provide a super safe environment for the animal during the on-road journey.
Pack a bag specially for the dog
Packing a separate bag for the dog will make it easier for you to access the things your pet needs on a regular basis easily. Also, having the dog’s medicine and clothing separate from your own will save you a lot of hassle and mess. Pack in water bowls, treats, kibbles, leashes, dog blankets and comfort wear, medications, and necessary insect repellents for your canine companions.
Update your dog’s paperwork and identification
While most people may think of this as a redundant idea, it is very important to update your dog’s identification tags and paperwork in case of emergencies. You would want to find him as quickly as possible in case he gets lost and only an updated collar or tag with the latest contact details can help in this regard. Also, make a tag especially for the trip, listing not just your contact details but also the phone number for a friend or relative who lives in the area.
Prep your dog for the trip
Many dogs get panic attacks at the mere idea of travelling in cars. So, take your pet out on frequent short drives to prepare him for the journey – mentally and physically – before you actually set out on the road trip. Also, pack in regular exercise schedules into your dog’s daily activities, starting a few weeks ahead of the trip to have him in good physical condition.
While it might not be possible to follow our normal routine during the trip, try to stick to it as much as possible. Ensure your dog’s mealtimes as close to the ones at home as possible. Also, try to keep the daily play time and walk timings similar to ensure your dog enjoys the trip.
Hope these tips help you enjoy the trip with your canine companion to the fullest!