A travel adventure with your dog can be a uniquely enriching experience for everyone involved. But of course, during preps, there are some special considerations you need to make about your dog’s comfort while traveling, especially if their breed isn’t a type that’s well adapted to the destination’s climate.
That being said, here are a few practical tips from PrideBites on keeping your dog comfortable on your journey and helping them adjust to the sudden changes in scenery, texture, and temperature:
1) Socialize Your Dog First
Properly socialized dogs are less likely to be anxious and blot off in an environment they aren’t bred for. If you have to travel with a newly adopted dog, having them wear customizable branded dog bandanas with messages for humans to be extra careful around them can go a long way in keeping them safe.
2) Look at Weather Reports
It’s one thing to take your dog to an unfamiliar climate and another thing entirely to expose them to a heatwave or a blizzard. If it doesn’t seem like the weather will be cooperating on a certain day, don’t force your dog to go out with you.
3) Take a Cooling Mat with You
Cooling mats are a hot weather essential, particularly for breeds that are used to temperate or alpine climates. Fortunately, there’s no need to stick newer cooling mats into freezers to activate them. Even if you don’t have immediate access to a freezer or refrigerator, you and your dog can take one with you wherever you’re going.
4) Take a Crate with You
If you’re traveling for more than a day, a crate will be essential for your dog’s safety and peace of mind. If you don’t already have a crate, get one a few weeks ahead of your trip and have your dog get used to it in the safety of your home.
Keep the crate open and feed your dog some of their meals in it so that they form positive associations with it. Store a cooling mat in the crate if you’re expecting hot weather, as well as a blanket for your dog to snuggle up to when they’re feeling cold. This way, they’ll have a safe and comfy space to retreat to wherever you may be staying.
5) Remember to Never Leave Your Dog Alone in a Car
During breaks on a road trip (which you should be taking every couple of hours), always take your dog with you. Dogs can easily get overheated or suffocate when left alone in a car in any type of weather. What’s more, leaving your dog in a car unattended is actually illegal in many places, regardless of whether you leave your air conditioner on or leave the window open a crack.
6) Bring Water and Collapsible Bowls
Make sure to frequently offer water to your dog, particularly during the hotter months at your destination. There are some water bottles out there that come with an integrated dog bowl, but a collapsible travel bowl made of silicone will probably be comfortable for more dogs. Also be sure to clean the bowls whenever you can so that your dog doesn’t get sick during your travels.
7) Offer Wet Food When You Can
Kibble is a lot more convenient than wet food when you’re traveling, but it could also dehydrate your dog, particularly in drier climates. Offering them occasional wet food will help keep their hydration levels up, which is especially important if they’re not the type to drink a lot of water.
8) Pack Well-Fitted Doggie Jackets and Blankets for Cooler Climates
A well-fitted insulated doggie jacket will help keep your furry friend comfy, encouraging them to go to the bathroom outside rather than indoors. You should also add a couple of blankets in your dog’s crate to ensure that they can stay warm and toasty when they’re in a car or a train.
9) Don’t Let Your Dog Walk on Hot Concrete
Always touch the pavement before you take your dog out for a walk. If it’s too hot for you to keep your hand on, it’s definitely too hot for them. If they really want to go for a walk, stick to grass and natural turf at your destination. Avoid hot sand or rocks since these will pose similar hazards as asphalt and concrete.
10) Consider Grooming Your Dog for Warm Weather
Dogs with thick coats can struggle in hotter climates, and a trim before your travel adventure may help them cool off better. Before you groom your dog, however, ask your vet if it’s actually the right thing to do. If they don’t recommend grooming, brush your dog daily to remove any loose undercoating.
11) Apply Pet-Safe Sunblock on Your Dog’s Exposed Skin
For longer walks in hotter climates, or for strolls to the beach or to a scenic lakeside destination, apply pet-safe sunblock on any exposed skin. Pay special attention to your dog’s ear tips, nose bridge, the area around their lips, and anywhere else where their fur is at its thinnest. Read the ingredient list on every product that you buy, and avoid brands with zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) in them.
Stay “Pawsitively” Prepped for the Climate
Low-stress travels with your dog come down to preparation, whatever the weather. Be properly aware of the risks your dog takes when they experience new climates, as this should help you plan out a safe trip that’s memorable for all the right reasons.