So you’re going on a road trip and you want to bring alone your four-pawed best friend. Here are some basic tips for ensuring both you and your dog enjoy a safe and pleasant trip.
Consider if taking your dog is a good idea
Not all dogs are fit to travel. Sick, injured or pregnant dogs should stay back home. As hard as it may be to part temporarily with your pet, sometimes you’re doing the best thing for your dog by leaving him/her back home.
Get a vet checkup
Weeks prior to leaving, get your dog checked up at the vet. Make sure all vaccinations are in order and that you stock up on necessary medication. Then, ask the vet to issue a health certificate stating your dog is healthy and able to travel.
Don’t forget the essentials
Lead, collar, ID tag, food, bowls, water: you know the drill. Make sure you don’t forget to pack any of these. If you do, purchase them upon arrival.
Pack some extras too
Things like blankets for comfortable bedding or warmth and old washcloths for wiping muddy paws can come in handy. And don’t forget those baggies to pick up after your dog.
Tire your dog out beforehand
Depending on the length of your trip, your dog might have to be confined in the car for long hours at a time. The easiest way to make sure s/he is comfortable is to tire your dog out before the trip. That way, your dog will get in the car and want to sleep for the rest of the trip.
Your dog shouldn’t roam in the car
This one can be hard for most pet owners, but your dogs really can’t be roaming freely around the car. Especially with their heads out the window. In the case of an accident, this could put both you and your pet even more at risk. Unrestrained dogs can even be the cause for an accident. So choose a large and comfortable crate and invite your four-pawed buddy to rest there for a while.
The front seat is for humans only
Even if they’re safely protected in their crate, the front seat is no place for dogs. The airbag could seriously injure your pet. And dogs can be too distracting for a driver. Keep your dog in the backseat for a safe road trip.
Bring along a human friend
It can get lonely in the crate and your dog may get anxious. One thing that can ease this for your dog is to bring someone along on the trip and ask him/her to stay in the back next to the crate.
Allow for plenty of rest stops
Stop frequently for potty breaks and exercise. Especially if you’re road trip promises to be long, it’s essential that your dog enjoys the outdoors so they don’t get too anxious in the car.
Never leave your dog alone in the car
This can be tempting, but even if you’re stopping for a short time, never leave your furry buddy in a parked car alone. On a hot day, even if you leave the windows open, a car can become an unbearable furnace. On a cold time, a car typically holds in the cold and acts as a refrigerator. Not only is this unpleasant, but it can put your dog’s health at serious risk.