If you want to travel with dogs, you have 2 choices for your big dog: the cargo bay of a plane or your car. Given the risks of air travel for dogs many people opt for the road trip, especially for nearby destinations.
So how do you make a doggie road trip a success? Here are 6 things you can do before the trip to make sure it's fun for you and Fido:
Make Sure Your Dog Is Used To The Road
Dogs who aren’t used to being in a car get nervous or antsy. This is often because they associate the car with the only place it takes them – the vet! Long before the road trip begins, get Fido used to the car and create positive associations. Shower praise and treats on a well-behaved passenger; take Fido in the car to a dog park, a friend’s house, other places where he’ll be happy to go.
Have The Right Equipment.
Keep the car dog-friendly and dog-safe. If yours isn’t the best car for dogs you can still make it a good place. Use a Back Seat Hammock to keep your seat protected and keep Fido from sneaking into shotgun. Keep a Collapsible Dog Bowl handy so that Fido can stay hydrated and nourished. Have a canine first-aid kit on hand just in case.
The Key To Prevent Car Sickness
It's generally best to keep your dog on the same feeding schedule as at home - same times, amounts, and type of food. But on the road, there's a chance that your big dog may suffer from car sickness. If your dog is one that gets queasy, make sure you leave a gap of 3-4 hours between feeding and getting on the road. Work this into your schedule for the day.
Not all dogs will demand a pit stop when they need one. Even those that are trained to scratch on a door to be let out could have difficulty knowing how to signal that it’s potty time. Remember this isn't your dog's usual habitat. Schedule pit stops for potty and stretch breaks.
Use A Road Trip Planner
Road trip planners include a lot more detail than a map will. It will let you know if Fido is welcome at rest stops –not all rest stops are happy to host your dog. Better to know ahead than be unpleasantly surprised when you’re already there and desperate for a break. A road trip planner will also help you identify hotels and restaurants that will allow you to stop with your big dog.
Know Where The Emergency Exits Are
Ok, not literally. But like on a plane where the flight crew tells you all the emergency info, you want to do the same thing here. Know where vets are near where you’ll be staying and at any major stops along the way. You don’t want to be searching for these details in an emergency situation. Remember the credo: Always Be Prepared.
Get A Pre-Trip Checkup
Take your dog to the vet ahead of the trip and make sure your dog is up for the challenge. If your dog gets nervous easily, talk to your vet about options for keeping your dog calm.
Know The Laws Of The Land Before You Travel With Dogs
Some areas have laws in place regarding specific breeds of dogs. Denver County, for example, has banned pit bulls; having one in your car within county limits is technically illegal, even if you just drive through. If you have a breed that has been targeted by breed-specific legislation - like pit bulls or Rottweilers - do your homework before you go. You may need to change your route to keep your dog from being confiscated.
With the right preparation, a road trip with your dog can be a big success. Aftrer all, what kind of family trip is complete without all the family members there?
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