First, you will need to determine whether long distance car travel with your dog is possible without having major issues. If you’ve only taken your dog in the car to travel places around town, do a longer test drive. You want to make sure your is okay riding in the car for an extended period of time. Some dogs are overly anxious while in the car, others can suffer from car sickness. If this is the case, you’ll be better off leaving him at home.
Plan for a destination about an hour away. Drive on highways and country roads to get a sense of how your dog handles them. Make your destination somewhere fun, like a dog park to help build a positive experience for your dog. If your dog is just fine with traveling, then read on for some tips to help make car travel with your dog better.
Make Frequent Stops
Map out your route and plan to make frequent stops so that your dog can have a potty break or just stretch his legs. The breaks are good for you too! Plan for a stop every 2 – 3 hours. Offer him some water so that he stays hydrated during the trip. Some of the larger rest stops offer areas where dogs are allowed to go off leash. Bringing along a ball or frisbee is a good idea, so that he can get some fun and exercise in.
Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car Alone – Ever
Never leave your pet unattended in your vehicle, even with the windows open, not even for a few minutes. In the summer, the car can heat up very quickly – within a matter of a few minutes and can be deadly for dogs. Remember that dogs do not have sweat glands and they wear a fur coat! In the winter, your car can drop below freezing very quickly.
Secure Your Dog in the Car
For safety, small dogs should be kept in a carrier or kennel. Larger dogs should be strapped into a dog seat belt harness or if you have enough room in your vehicle, kept in a kennel. This is just as important as you wearing a seat belt while driving. An unrestrained dog can be injured in the case of an accident or even if you need to stop short. He can also be thrown forward in the case of a sudden stop or accident, which will turn him into a projectile, with the potential of seriously injuring you.
Plan Your Entire Vacation
It is important that you pre-plan every aspect of your trip with your dog in mind. Don’t leave anything to chance. You will have to have your dog with you at all times, so it’s best to have reservations made ahead of time. You’ll also have to plan your own meal breaks and times. More than likely, you won’t be able to go into restaurants while you have your dog with you and you won’t be able to leave him alone in the hotel room. This will mean a lot of take-out and room service meals. Vacationing on the fly is a lot harder to do when you have a dog with you.
Clean Up After Your Dog
Remember to be a good citizen and be diligent about cleaning up after your dog. Leaving behind dog poop contributes to the spread of dog diseases and worms, some of which can be passed onto you or your children. And nobody wants to stumble upon your dog’s mess!
Read on >> Flying with Your Dog