How to Prepare for Traveling With a Dog
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How to Prepare for Traveling With a Dog

Preparing and traveling with a dog. How to assure a good trip with your dog in the car.

Traveling with a dog can be a challenge especially if the pet is not used to being in the car for long distances. When you plan to travel with a dog or any pet for that matter you have to start planning early in order to make sure everything is ready for the dog’s trip and the dog is ready for the trip.

Book Hotels in Advance

There should be no traveling by the seat of your pants with a dog on board. If you are bringing a dog you need to plan out your route as soon as you can and then find hotels along your route if you plan to be stopping for a rest. You will need to search for hotels that are pet friendly, you can do this on line but be sure to call the hotel in person just to make sure their rules have not changed and their web site has not been updated. You don’t want to be stranded with no place to sleep if you get there and they say they don’t take pets.

Getting Your Dog Ready

Many dogs only get to ride in the car when they are going to the vet. While most dogs are excited to go I the car, some may be stressed out thinking they are headed for the vet and possibly a shot. Some dogs may also not be used to long car rides. About a month before the trip start taking your dog on car rides with you. Start out with a short 20 minute drive then keep adding a bit of time each time. Occasionally take them someplace fun like a dog park, so they will know all car rides don’t lead to the vet.

Unfortunately one of those trips should be to the vet if your pet is due for a visit. Make sure all of their shots are up to date and bring the records with you on the trip or a copy of the records just in case there is an emergency.

If your dog does not have a potty cue try to create one. Take them out on the leash in your yard or around the neighborhood and encourage them to go potty. If they do it on cue praise and reward them. This way you will be assured that they will do their business when you stop at rest areas. Be sure to clean up after your dog if they do it at the park or in a neighbor’s yard.

Packing for the Trip

Be sure to put tags on your dog. If you have a cell phone number be sure to put your pets name and any cell phone numbers you have that you will be taking on the trip with you. If you don’t have a cell phone make sure your current home phone is on there or if you are staying with a friend or a family member their telephone number. Most large Pet Stores such as Petco and Pet Smart have machines in the store where you can make the tags yourself in just minutes.

Bring at least one of your dog’s favorite toys from home. It will give them something normal that they are used to in their unfamiliar surroundings.

Get a portable watering bowl, they are not expensive you can get one for around $10.00.

Bring bags to place waste in and dispose of it in the proper areas of rest areas.

Don’t forget: The food, the dog bowl, a scoop, and the leash also you should get some kind of doggy seat or harness. You could bring two leashes one for times when it is important for the dog to stay closer to you, and a longer one for when there is a bit of space for them to move around a little more. Never let anyone open the car door until the dog has a leash on and someone is holding properly. My dog will leap out of the car so fast once the car door opens and she is pretty bit so it is hard to stop her. I emphasize making sure someone is holding the leash properly because I opened the door once and while I had the leash on my dog, and I had the leash in my hand, I did not have it by the handle. She ran out so fast the leash whipped through my hand and burned my skin, so make sure you are totally ready before opening the door. Also be aware of any other dogs that might be taking a rest break too, and stay clear.

If your dog gets motion sickness or anxious talk to your vet about prescribing some kind of motion sickness medication or a sedative. Don’t forget to bring it.

The Trip

Try to stick to your dog’s regular feeding schedule as best you can. Upsetting the schedule could upset their stomachs. Also this is not a good time to try a new dog food, feed them what they are used to eating.

Be sure to allow extra time on your trip for plenty of potty and exercise breaks. It will do both you and dog good.

Never leave a dog in a car alone for more than a few minutes. Always crack the windows as much as you can, but not enough where the dog can get their whole head out of the window. Be sure to lock the door and don’t leave your keys in the car. Do whatever you need to do quickly and get back to the car as soon as you can. Try to park the car somewhere where you can see it if possible. In the summertime try to park under a tree or other shady area.

Follow this advice and your trip with your dog should go smoothly.


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Comments (1)

Great guide but I would rather leave my pets at home and have family watch them while we're away.