Your dog will spend a lot of time in your car going to various places. During a short trip, you don’t need that many things to make your dog safe and secure.
However, when you are traveling longer distances you need to be prepared. We’ve got 4 tips to get your car ready for a road trip with your dog.
- Make sure your dog and car are safe
Having an unsecured dog in the car can have serious repercussions, like accidents. There are many seat covers that you can use that have a place where you can hook your dog’s collar. If you have leather or fabric seats, then you are definitely going to want to use a seat cover. Here’s our review of the 3 best dog seat covers to help you find one. You love your dog, but you also want to protect your property. A dog can easily leave scratches on your leather seats from sliding around while you’re driving.
Consumer Reports guides you in the type of car you should pick for long road trips (if you’re renting), what to add to these cars to keep your pet safe, and how to safely medicate your dog. You can always put your dog in a crate. If you have a larger vehicle it is easier to put them in a crate in the back, but you can also use your backseat. The goal is to have your dog safe and secure while you are driving down the road.
- Have dog-friendly apps handy
Smartphones make traveling so much easier than it used to be. In the past, you’d have to use a map and you wouldn’t know where dog-friendly establishments were. Sites like BringFido or Dog Friendly will let you know where local dog-friendly places are. Members of these sites also provide pictures and reviews. So, if you’re pulling over and need to find somewhere fast, these are the apps and websites you should be using. Sometimes your dog will need a rest stop immediately, and these apps are a lifesaver.
- What should you pack?
There are some basics that you should include on any dog trip. Below we list some of the main things you should pack:
- Dog bowls
- A water bottle
- Dog Bed or Mat
- Chew Toys
- Dog food
- First Aid Kit
- Leash and Harness
- Any outdoor gear
- Last but not least, pack your Poop Bags
Make sure that your dog’s collar has their updated information on it. It’s also a good idea to have medical records stashed inside your first aid kit.
Having a recent picture of your dog is also important. Most of us have a million pictures of our dog in our phones, but you need to make sure that you have a current photo. Accidents happen, and your dog could get away from you while you are traveling. Having a picture ensures that people will know what to look for if your dog goes missing.
- Watch your dog’s feeding times
When traveling with your dog you want to prevent them from getting car sick. We recommend not feeding your dog within 4 hours of getting in the car. However, you need to make sure that your dog has access to water while they’re in the car. If you do need to travel during your pet’s meal time, you can feed them a light meal before you travel. You could also feed them some treats along the way, just make sure not to overdo it.
Also, make stops so your dog can get out, walk around, and feel the ground. Traveling can be really stressful on pets, so always keep an eye on your pet’s behavior. If something feels off, pull over as soon as you can to check them out.
- Practice before you go
When you are going on a road trip with your dog, it’s a good idea to practice. If this is the first trip you’ve ever taken, start by going a short distance. Some dogs are better travelers than others, and you’ll find out immediately if your dog enjoys the car. Some dogs have separation anxiety and don’t like to be confined in the back of the vehicle. We recommend going on short trips and providing lots of treats and positive reinforcement.
Remember, never leave your pet in the car unattended. There are many places that you can stop where your dog will be allowed to go inside with you. One of the hardest aspects of road trips is stopping to go to the bathroom and not being sure what to do with your dog. Many truck stops will allow you to go in with your dog because truck drivers have dogs with them on the road. We hope that you use this information to have a safe and fun road trip with your pup!
- Jordan F.
Jordan started Natural Dog Owner, a website dedicated to eliminating the headache that comes with developing a healthy and loving relationship between you and your dog. His main goal is to help give your four-legged family member the best quality of life imaginable. When he’s not in front of a computer he loves to spend time outdoors with his goldendoodle, Carl, sharing stories and interacting with other dog lovers. Be sure to check out more on Youtube and Pinterest.