What would a family road trip be without your pets? Don’t leave them behind in the care of a stranger, take them with you to enjoy all the fun that traveling can offer. While taking your pets on a road trip with you may seem daunting, if you follow our tips for traveling with pets you will find it may be easier than traveling with your kids!
5 Useful Tips for Traveling with Pets:
If your dog always associates car rides with going to the vet, or gets unnecessarily anxious or nauseated while riding in the car, take him for a few practice rides. Let him get used to the feeling of being in the car, all the sounds and vibrations, the feeling of the breeze on his face, and the way he is able to get comfortable in the seat. If you are planning a long road trip, allow your practice drives to get longer and longer, and have a reward at the end, such as a trip to the dog park or the pet store for some yummy treats. You want the car to be a fun place, not a scary place.
Get a Crate
It doesn’t matter what size your dog is, if you are traveling with pets you want them to be safe and sound in your backseat. If anything were to happen, you want to know that your dog is as safe and secure as they can possibly be without wearing a traditional seat belt. If you have an extra large dog, you may need to put down the last row of seats in an SUV to ensure there is plenty of space for the crate. You want your dog to be able to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around in his crate. Be sure to secure it carefully so it isn’t sliding around! You can easily buy small water bottles to attach to the side of the crate so your pup isn’t getting dehydrated on the drive.
If you aren’t a fan of crates (which many people aren’t) be sure to secure your dog to the seat in some way. There are plenty of travel harnesses available for pets, but the Sleepypod Clickit harness is currently the only one that has been field-tested to be the safest for your pet. The harness or the crate also helps to keep your pet from getting into the front seat when they get bored or hungry.
Pack a Travel Kit
If you are taking your dog on a longer trip, make sure you bring everything he will need for the duration. This includes food, medication, and his favorite treats. You will also want to bring a copy of his pet license, rabies vaccine, and any other pertinent medical information in case of emergency. Make sure you bring a hairbrush, as the stress of travel can often cause dogs to shed. If you have a naturally shedding breed, like a husky, use a seat cover to keep the majority of hair and dirt off of your car seats. Bring along your furry friend’s favorite toy or blanket to help them feel at home in the car.
Before you even think about getting into the car in the morning, make sure your pooch has plenty of exercise. You don’t want him bouncing off the walls while you are trying to drive across the state or across the country. If you burn off all of his excess energy, he will be more than happy to succumb to the vibrations of the car and take a nice long nap. If you take a pit stop for lunch or gas, make sure you let your dog out of the car to take a potty break and stretch his legs. If you can find a dog park nearby, it is worthwhile to take a little bit of extra time to let your dog socialize and exercise.
If you aren’t staying with friends and family, there are thousands of hotels that happily accept pets. Most of these are chain hotels, like Super 8 and La Quinta Inn, and they usually have reserved pet rooms that are only rented out to guests with pets. There is usually a small fee involved in bringing your pooches, but it is worthwhile for a good night’s sleep. Make sure you bring in your dog’s favorite blanket or toys so they feel comfortable in the hotel for the duration of your stay. To find pet-friendly hotels across the country, visit Go Pet Friendly.