Traveling with Your Dog

Traveling with Your Dog

Traveling can be a blast, but it can also be stressful! Here are some simple tips to make your next cross-country, or home-state trip, more fun for you and your pup.

Traveling for vacation, to visit family or friends, or to move can be exciting! It’s a new adventure, and when you get to include your pets on a trip, it can add another fun element to the whole thing. Personally, I love traveling with my dog Jax. He keeps me safe (dogs are the number 1 deterrent of thieves and robberies), keeps me company, and he’s a good reason for me to make sure to take breaks and walk or exercise while on road trips (something I sometimes forget if I’m alone).

Going on a road-trip for your dog should be enjoyable, too. But for some dogs, this time will be stressful or just way too exciting! So, let’s cover a couple of tips to make the road a happy place for your pup too.

  • Don’t forget exercise. You want to avoid boredom in the car for your dog. Exercise prior to starting your trip helps you both! I recommend at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise before hitting the road.
  • Know your dog’s sensitivities. Younger dogs are prone to car sickness. If this is the case, you may want to consider fasting your pup before getting in the car so he or she feels ok. See our blog topic next week about how to combat motion sickness in dogs.
  • Get a travel pet bowl, or just use your dog’s from home, to give plenty of water while on the road. While you don’t want to give him or her a gallon at a time, make sure your pup stays hydrated.
  • Bring activities! Bones and toys are a great way to keep your pup occupied in the car.
  • If your dog isn’t travel-trained, he or she does need to be crated for his or her safety, and your own. If your dog is travel-trained, then feel free to make a comfy area for your dog to lay or sit in while in the car. Seats are made for humans, so I like to make a bed in the backseat for my dog so he doesn’t fall in the space between the seats if he’s moving, or if I have to “tap” the brakes.

Note: It’s always a good idea to secure your dog in the car. So if he’s on the seats, get him a safety harness that attaches to the seat belt. This is a fairly new concept, and some people seem to think it’s silly. However, a large-breed dog in the backseat when you have an accident going just 35mph can turn into a few tons of projected force; hurting you and your dog. So stay safe!

There are a lot of dog-friendly restaurants on the road. Go to BringFido.com to check out some good recommendations. A lot of places that have patios allow dogs there, but be sure to ask before settling in.

Hotels that are pet friendly are kind of rare, surprisingly. Luckily, LaQuinta allows animals in their hotels free of charge. Many other hotels, like the Ramada or Best Western, allow dogs for an additional fee.

Always be sure to travel with copies of your dogs’ health records when you’re traveling far distances, especially over state lines. A secure collar with ID on it is important too, and be sure that if your dog has a microchip the info on the registration is up to date.

If your dog is stressed about the car travel, there are a lot of different calming supplements you can get from pet supplies stores. You can also talk to your vet about a more heavy-duty anxiety medication as well. Personally, I’ve never drugged a dog to travel, but I have seen clients in the past who have dogs who are so frightened of travel that I would recommend giving them a little something just to calm down and avoid injury.

Remember, all forms of behavior and fear can be conquered with time and patience, but if you’re in a bind and need to travel before putting the time into helping your dog overcome his fear, medication is a resource for you.

While we’re not in road-trip season just yet, these tips will help you get ready for the summer time fun!