Road Trips with Fido
Taking your dog on a long road trip may sound like a lot of fun, but the idea of going someplace new and different can sometimes make man's best friend feel a little anxious after a few hours have gone by. Here are some tips you need to know before you head out on the open road.
Take Your Dog on Short Trips Beforehand
Spend more time with your dog in the car. Even if it's just to get gas or the post office, your dog won't feel so nervous when it's time for the big trip.
Vaccinations and Medications
Even if you're traveling for just a few hours, it's best to have all of Fido's shot records, vaccinations, and other medical records with you. If he hasn't seen the veterinarian in a while, this might also be a good time for a check-up – there's nothing worse than finding out something is wrong with your dog while you are hundreds of miles away from home. In addition, make sure not to forget any medications he may need.
Crates or Restraints
In your car, it's best to have your dog in a crate with soft bedding. He'll have his own space to stand, turn, and lie down. If there's no room in the car for a crate, it's still a good idea to bring one. Having a crate can keep your pet out of trouble wherever you're staying, and is usually the safest place for a dog.
If you are not traveling with your dog in a crate, try checking your local pet supply store for dog restraints. These inexpensive gadgets will not only help keep your dog safe if you need to slam on the breaks, but will also ensure your dog doesn't jump into your lap, or otherwise distract your driving. They will also prevent your dog from unexpectedly darting out an open window or door.
Food, Water, and Treats
Even though your dog won't be very active during the car ride, it's best to keep your car well-ventilated and have plenty of water available at all times. Dogs tend to get carsick, so a few hours before you start your trip feed and walk your dog, and then don't feed your dog again until you're done driving. You may also want to purchase a water-proof, absorbent seat cover in case your dog has an accident.
Bring New Toys but Keep the Old
It's simple – new toys will keep your dog entertained, while old toys will comfort them.
Nothing is more terrifying than losing your dog – especially in a strange and unfamiliar area. Make sure your dog has a sturdy collar with his name, your name, your cell phone number, and proof of vaccinations. Keep a recent photo of your dog in your phone in case you have to show people what your missing dog looks like. It's also important to have a couple leashes in case one fails.
Take Plenty of Breaks
Driving long distances can sometimes be stressful for both you and your dog, so make sure to take plenty of breaks and spend a little time playing with or walking your dog to get rid of some pent-up energy.
Once you arrive at your destination, pay attention to your dog's actions. There's going to be a lot of new sights, smells, and sounds, which can sometimes be overwhelming. Keep your dog either in your sights or in a crate. Hopefully, after a period of time you will both be able settle in, relax, and have a good time!