Bringing your dog along on vacation can be fun and save you money and worry. Instead of paying for expensive pet boarding or worrying how your dog is doing without you, they can be right there with you, along for the ride. However, if you're traveling with your dog for the first time, there are a few things to keep in mind. In order to make the most of this situation. Here are five tips for taking a road trip with dogs:
You don't want to be surprised by how your dog acts in the car just as you're starting an epic cross-country road trip. Does your dog bark at pedestrians or just sit politely in the passenger seat? Does your dog fall asleep as soon as you pull out of the driveway or become anxious in the car? Does your dog get car sick?
Knowing these things will make planning your road trip much easier and help avoid unwelcome surprises. Start with smaller trips around town or day trips to local state parks, and gradually build up to longer road trips. Another benefit of starting small is that an anxious dog will become more comfortable in the car the more time they spend there.
Plan a Less Strenuous Route
If you're traveling alone, you may enjoy pushing yourself to make very good time and get as far as possible on your trip before stopping. This is a bad approach to take with dogs, however, as they need frequent bathroom breaks and fresh air. Not only will they be more comfortable and happy if they get to stop frequently, but the fresh air will help prevent car sickness. You may find you actually enjoy the more relaxed pace of a dog-friendly road trip.
Find Parks and Other Pet-friendly Spots
Planning ahead of time can help you break up your trip with stops at dog-friendly parks, restaurants, and other stops. By doing a little research and making a list of dog-friendly places along your route, you'll save yourself the hassle and gas money of driving around aimlessly looking for places that are dog-friendly.
If your road trip involves over-night stops, go ahead and pre-book stays at dog-friendly hotels as well. The road trip planner feature on the site Go Pet Friendly can help you find dog parks, as well as restaurants and hotels that take pets along your entire route.
Don't get a hundred miles away and then realize you forgot something essential for your dog. Instead, make a packing list to keep you on track. Start by packing blankets or towels to lay on the car seat, giving your dog a comfortable place to sit and making clean-up easier if they happen to get sick.
Other road trip essentials include dog food and water along with their food and water bowls, treats to reward them for being a well-behaved car companion, their collar and leash, and any medicine they need to take. If you're going to the beach, sunblock for dogs might be a good idea as well.
Rent a Car
If your car isn't big enough or generally set up well for accommodating pets, a great option is to rent a car. If your car is older, renting a car is an especially good option, since the last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road with mechanical issues when you have a dog in the car. Be sure to carefully protect the car seat and floor with towels or blankets, so that you don't have to pay an extra fee due to your dog getting sick.
By following these tips, your first road trip with your dog will be as fun and stress-free as possible.