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If you're like us, you want to bring your dog anywhere you go, especially if you're going on a road trip.
Dogs are another form of family member so it only makes sense you would want your dog with you so you can enjoy the trip together. Sure, a boarding kennel is an option. But, if you have your heart set on traveling with your dog, the Dogly Advocates want to help you do it in a safe and responsible way that sets both you and your dog up for success.
What to consider before going on a road trip with your dog
There are a few things you'll want to consider before you take your dog for any type of car travel. Things like:
- Whether or not your dog will be able to handle the trip. Is your dog good in the car? Does your dog get anxious when meeting new people or being in new environments? Will your dog be ok on a long trip or would your dog prefer to travel short distances instead?
- The type of car you have. If you're driving a sports car, it might not be the most comfortable type of car travel for your dog. You want to make sure there's enough room for your dog to either sit or lie down comfortably in the back seat without being cramped.
- If your dog is up to date on all vaccinations including rabies shots.
- Your final destination. Not all hotels or Airbnbs allow dogs (service dogs are usually allowed, however). Check beforehand to make sure dogs are allowed.
- All the essentials you'll need to bring for your dog.
When dogs travel, what do they really need? Let's take a look at a few of the essentials to stock up on when you travel with your dog.
Here's a list of essential items you'll need to bring if you're traveling with pets:
Dogs are like kids, they have a lot of stuff. Especially if you're taking them to a new strange place, you'll want to make sure you're prepared with everything your dog may need. Including:
- Collar with your dog's ID tag and rabies tag (to make sure they never get lost!)
- Harness (a seatbelt harness is best)
- Seatbelt (remember dogs should never be in the front seat!)
- Crate or carrier if your dog needs one
- Water dishes
- Your dog's regular food
- Treats for the trip (including any calming treats if your dog tends to be anxious)
- Toys and chews to keep your dog occupied
- Poop bags
- All medications for your dog
It may seem like a lot, but it's important to be prepared when taking your pets traveling. If you're looking for recommendations for any of the above items, we've created a list of our favorite travel gear here.
Now that you have all the stuff your dog will need to travel with you, let's talk about how to make sure both you and your dog have a good time.
Here's how to have a good road trip with your dog
The Dogly Advocates outline four tips to help you avoid the common mistakes a lot of pet owners make when traveling with dogs. This is a general overview of what they've shared but check out the in-depth guide here.
Tip 1: Plan your route ahead including rest stops
When it's adult humans traveling, it's much easier to just jump in the car and drive wherever the road takes you. Not so easy when there are pets involved, unfortunately.
The Dogly Advocates go into why in the full guide here but the best way to guarantee a good trip with your pets is to make a plan. Here are just a few things to think about when you're travel planning with pets:
- Your dog's age
- Your dog's exercise needs
- All of the places you're going to be stopping and staying and if they will love your dog as much as you do
- How many pets you're traveling with
Once you've started your pet plan, it will be much easier to avoid any stressful situations for both you and your dog. The Dogly Advocates go into more detail and give you a little bit of homework to help with your travel planning in the full guide linked above.
The next tip from the Dogly Advocates when traveling with pets is all about acclimation once you arrive at your destination.
Tip 2: Allow your dog to acclimate before you do
This is one of the most important tips when traveling with your pets. Imagine if you were plopped down in a new country with no idea what was happening around you. That's how a traveling dog feels when you get to a new place. It's important to give your dog a few minutes (or hours) to adjust to the new surroundings before you do.
The Dogly Advocates share tips on how to help your dog acclimate in the full guide here but a few ideas are:
- Give them a tour of the house or hotel room so they know where everything is and where they're allowed to go
- If you're staying at someone's house, introduce them to the family slowly
- Make sure they have a comfy place to sleep and a toy or two to keep them occupied
Melissa Dallier who is a certified force-free dog trainer shared a really interesting tip on making sure your dog can always see you while getting adjusted to a new environment in the full guide. Read it in the link above.
After your dog has had a chance to adjust to the new surroundings, it's important to make sure there's nothing that could hurt them. Especially if you're in a place that doesn't typically have dogs, you'll want to make sure there's nothing unintentionally lying around that could be a safety hazard to your dog.
Tip 3: Check for anything that could be dangerous to dogs
Many dogs like to explore new places. And normally that's a good thing! Before letting your dog roam free make sure you've checked not only for wires and things that could hurt them but situational issues like other dogs, outside temperatures your dog may not be used to that could cause health issues like heat stroke, or new wildlife that may be intriguing to your dog.
If you're unsure if something could hurt your dog, it's always better to be safe than sorry and keep your pet on a leash or in a crate.
Now that you've made it to your destination, you've settled in, your dog is acclimated and safe - it's time to relax and enjoy the trip!
Tip 4: Have fun and relax with your travel companion
This may be the most important tip of all. The whole point of bringing your pet with you on your trip is to enjoy your time with them. Make sure you take some time each day to just relax and play with your dog. Get out and explore new places together!
The Dogly Advocates have a lot of great ideas on how to make the most of your trip with your dog here. And if you want more tips, follow Travel Manners here on Dogly to get updates every time a certified professional adds more to the channel.
Check out more in the Manners Channel on Dogly
To continue learning about Food Manners, Holiday Manners, or even Basic Manners for your dog - check out the full Manners Channel on Dogly here.
And if you have any questions, hop in the discussion to ask the Dogly Advocates any time. You should never worry or stress about your dog. There is a whole community of certified professionals here who want to help you.