Going on a road trip with your dog can be one of the most exhilarating experiences that you’ll have had in a while. Not only will you be able to share an already fun-filled journey with your four-legged friend; the trip may also be the perfect opportunity for you to bond and strengthen your unique relationship as pet and pet parent.
But all road trips come with their fair share of challenges, and a trip with your dog in tow is no exception. Keeping a naturally energetic dog calm for the entirety of a long car ride, for example, can be difficult at first—especially if your pup loves to jump around and be playful in the back seat. Conversely, driving around with an anxious dog can be a stressful experience for driver and pawssenger alike. It’s in your best interest to prepare for both the ups and downs of your road trip so that you, your dog, and anyone else you’re traveling with will have a pleasant journey overall.
Are you and your pup anticipating your first long road trip soon? Here are some useful tips for keeping them safe and comfortable and therefore making your adventure truly one to remember.
Understand Your Dog’s Needs
To ensure that you’re taking good care of your canine buddy all throughout your trip, you have to have a good handle on their needs. Like humans, dogs have changing needs as they grow and age. As their owner, you’ll always have the challenge of creating an environment that considers your dog’s needs, and that includes the inside of your car.
If you’re traveling with a puppy, it’s a good idea to have another person join you so that someone can watch over your fur baby while you drive. Puppies are energetic and curious creatures, and they’ll require constant supervision so that they don’t hurt themselves while the vehicle is moving. They also require frequent stops for exercise and bathroom breaks.
Adult dogs are better at handling long journeys, especially if they’re used to riding in cars. All the same, they also need breaks to stretch their legs and some form of entertainment to keep them from being bored and restless. Finally, traveling with a senior dog means that you should go the extra mile and arrange your car so that they’re always comfortable, thus reducing the aches and pains that they may experience due to their old age. Prepare to take frequent breaks and to outfit them with dog diapers to minimize potty accidents inside the vehicle.
Buy the Right Dog Safety Products for Road Trips
Just like humans, dogs are at risk of getting injured while they’re in a moving vehicle. Protect your dog the way you would protect yourself and your human companions by investing in dog safety products that are specially designed for car travel.
Customizable dog car seat belts, for example, are designed to attach to any car seatbelt receptacle. Using one will allow you to easily secure your pup in the back or front passenger seat of your vehicle and keep them from jumping onto places they’re not supposed to. A dog guard, on the other hand, is a smart investment if you plan to place your dog in the cargo area of your vehicle. This dog safety product can be installed in your car’s rear seats and prevent them from being thrown forward in the event of an accident.
Bring a Variety of Dog Comfort Products
While you already know to look after the safety of your pup while you’re on the road, remember that their comfort is just as important. The long journey can be rough on your fur baby, and you’ll want to create a comfortable space where they can relax and rest if they need to. Consider placing a dog bed or dog blanket in the back seat so that your dog will have something comfy to lie down on. You should also bring a couple of your pup’s favorite dog toys to keep them both entertained and at ease throughout the journey.
For puppies, a blanket carrying the scent of home can make them feel extra secure and reduce their anxiety about going somewhere new. Senior dogs, on the other hand, may benefit from an orthopedic bed inside their crate to make the journey less difficult on their bones and joints.
Make All the Necessary Preparations Beforehand
Lastly, remember that your dog’s health, safety, and overall enjoyment of the trip will depend on all the other preparations you make before you start the ignition. Schedule a vet check-up to ensure your pup is in good health, is up-to-date on their vaccinations, and is in the right condition to go on a road trip. You can also ask your vet for additional traveling advice that’s tailored to your dog’s needs.
Next, stock up on pet travel essentials like food, water, waste bags, treats, and a pet first aid kit. Though you should start with what you have at home, plan emergency stops throughout the trip to replenish your supplies if needed. If your dog is taking any prescribed medications, add them to the list.
Do you have time to spare before hitting the road? If your pooch isn’t used to being in the car for a long time, practice for your trip by driving them around and getting them used to going in and out of your vehicle. Once they’ve warmed up to the idea of being on the road, you can expect a smooth journey together.
A road trip with your dog is definitely an experience worth looking forward to, but make sure that you’ve undergone all the right preparations. This will guarantee that you and your fur baby will have the road adventure of a lifetime.