For most dogs, announcing a car ride provokes feelings of unparalleled excitement and joy! However, some dogs experience fear and distress when they must travel in the car. Regardless if your dog is good or bad with traveling in a vehicle, there are important tips to organize the most enjoyable, safe ride possible!
Prepare at Home
Before heading out on the open road, first create a checklist of the basic essentials. It is important to pack everything you will need to make your dog feel comfortable for any given circumstance. A good basic list of essentials will consist of:
- Water bowl & water bottle
- Food (Make sure to use your dogs regular food)
- Appropriate Size Kennel
- Blankets & towels
- Poop bags
- Any necessary medication
- Updated identification, collar & leash
- Familiar toys!
No Roaming Free in the Vehicle!
As fun as it may seem for yourselves and the dog, you should absolutely not allow your dog to roam free in the vehicle while driving. Ideally, an appropriate sized crate/kennel is best for your dogs safety. It will also provide a safe, comfortable place for your pup to sleep should you be in a hotel or somewhere unfamiliar. If you cannot accommodate a kennel on your travels, Pisces recommends: Canine Friendly Vented Vest Harness 2.0. Keeping your dog restrained isn't just safe for the dog, it is safe for everyone in the vehicle. Loose dogs are in danger of injuring themselves, and can be a distraction to the driver. A 60 pound dog travelling at only 55 km/h can turn into a 2700 pound projectile in an accident. So for the safety of everyone, including the dog, keep your pup secure!
Comfort is Key
Making sure your dog is as comfortable as it can be is the key to success! Take your dog for some shorter car ride to see how he handles. It is common for dogs to suffer from car sickness, so it is better to feed your dog 3-4 hours before beginning your decent. If your dog has a history of feeling sick or anxious during car trips, pack anxiety/car sickness medication and administer before departing. Pisces recommends: HomeoPet Travel Anxiety. Keeping your dog cool in the summer or day and warm in the winter or night is influential to your dogs comfort. Have a water bottle prepared to keep your dog hydrated, and a comfy, warm pet mat for your pup to rest on. Pisces recommends: Achy Paws Self-Warming Pet Mat.
Plan Your Route
If you are taking a long trip, plan out 15-30 minute breaks at least every 4 hours. In preparation, teaching your dog to release on command will help your dog go to the bathroom in unfamiliar places. Going for walks on breaks may help curb any travel anxiety and relax them for the next trek. Naturally, you should book pet-friendly hotels and accommodations. Whether you are staying at a hotel, hostel, campground or B&B, you should always call ahead to ensure your bookings are dog-friendly.
By now you have checked off your checklist and everything is looking great! So relax and enjoy the journey alongside your 4 legged best friend!