How to Travel Long Distance With a Dog
The road trip has become a routine among humans. People of all age groups enjoy going on road trips. Be it a weekend or an extended holiday schedule, first thing a group of friends or family decide is to plan a road trip to a beautiful destination. However, few people don't enjoy the journey without their four-legged companion. Taking along pet dogs can be a task for the ones who wish to have the dogs on board. Therefore most of the pet dog owners usually leave their dogs at a dog caretaking center or a friend's place, but that is such a disappointing thing to do. Neither you nor the pet will be happy to stay away from each other for a longer duration. You need to take them along with you to make the most out of your weekend getaways or long drives.
A lot of pet dog owners have tried traveling with dogs in a car due to unavoidable circumstances and it usually turns out to be a disaster. This happens if you aren't well prepared with the idea of taking your dog on the long drives. Yes, taking dogs on a road trip requires preparation and proper planning. Ignorance is a shame if you think your dog can adjust just like your family members in the car for long journeys. No, they need special care if they are being taken on long journeys. However, to think on the brighter side, taking them on a road trip isn't an impossible task. It is possible if we prepare ourselves for our loyal canines. Following are some of the "To Do Lists" you'll have to prepare if you are opting for a long journey with dogs and these are the best ways to travel with a dog in your car.
Before Road Trip With Dog
The planning should start days or even months before your actual journey. These are some things that you might want to take note of during the preparation phase of your long road trip with your furry friends.
Soft-sided Collapsible Dog Crate
If you are maintaining a small or a pocket dog, it is advisable to buy a dog carrier if you are traveling by car. Make sure you inspect the carriers before buying them. Look for the carries which are well ventilated from the inside. Make sure you chose a container which you feel your pet will feel safe and secure getting inside it. Usually, the carriers come with a wire mesh and are cushioned on all four sides, thus keeping your pet safe and secure when you make hard turns or hit sudden brakes while traveling. Once you buy these carriers, make sure your four-legged family member gets used to his new temporary shelter. It is essential that the dogs should get used to the carriers. Otherwise, they feel uncomfortable if you put them in the carriers and travel for a long distance without them getting used to it.
Once your pet dog gets used to his temporary shelter, get them used to traveling in those containers by taking them on short drives. Make sure they feel comfortable inside the container. Gradually increase the duration of the journey as you get used to the container. I recommend you start this procedure 6-7 days before the trip if you are taking your dog for on long drive for the first time. Make sure you place the crate or container safely on the seat and make sure a passenger is sitting next to the container so that when hard brakes are applied, they can hold the container. If it is just you and the dog, make sure you place the container on the footrest in the backseat of the car.
If you are taking a dog of a bigger size, make sure you get them used to the small journeys made in the car for about 2-3 days and gradually increase the duration for the next three days, hence giving both the owner and the pet the confidence to travel a long distance in a car.
Make sure you maintain a folder for your dog containing all the medical papers of vaccination, checkups etc. These documents are important when you travel to different countries or state that requires proof that your dog is in the pink of health.
Since you are traveling to a different place, there are chances he may not get adjusted to the food, therefore make sure you pack enough supplies of food and their favorite bowl to feed them.
Depending on your dog breed, some may not be adjusted to the climate at your destination. Xola, my first ever pet dog, is a Xoloitzcuintli and is a hairless dog breed. Needless to say, it is not adapted to winter conditions. So I had to pack extra winter clothes for Xola when we head into the mountains where temperatures are lower.
If you are taking a cold weather breed dog to a place with hot weather, some accessories to help it keep cool is highly recommended.
The ugly side of keeping a pet that no one will tell you. Bring along equipment to handle their poop. A waste scoop and plastic bags will do the trick. Or you may want to consider dog diapers.
Yes, don’t forget to put their medicine if they are on any medication.
Bring along their favorite toy too to give them a sense of security while traveling. It also kills boredom and prevents it from distracting you while you are driving.
It is not advisable to feed your dogs in a moving vehicle, especially if you are traveling a long distance. There is a chance of them throwing up due to the continuous motion of the vehicle. I strongly recommend you to prepare their schedule for feeding. Give them a light food four to five hours before the departure. Along the way, you can pull over to feed them. If you plan it properly, you can make the stops at scenic spots and enjoy the view while your pooch enjoys its food.
During Road Trip With Dog
Make sure you don’t leave your pet alone in the parked vehicle. When you are going in the car, you ought to make stops for refreshments. Make sure you either take your dog into the restaurant or ask somebody to stay with the dog until you grab a quick bite as most of the restaurants don’t allow dogs inside. Leaving the windows open even on a hot day will heat your car, making it difficult for the dogs to survive the heat in the vehicle. Make sure they are out of the car if you are planning to have a long break before getting back to the driver seat.
Make sure your pet is sitting inside like a decent dog, enjoying the restricted space! Don't let the dogs stick their heads out. Yes, I know it looks cute when the dog puts its head out and symbolizing freedom, but it is not a cool thing to do. There are chances of them being injured by flying objects. Therefore make sure he is sitting safely in the car.
Make sure you have enough supplies of bottled water while traveling. Most of the pet dogs are sensitive to water, and drinking water from a new place may upset their stomach, so make sure you have enough supplies to quench your four-legged buddy’s thirst.
If you are crossing states, there are chances for the border security force to check for your pet dog’s vaccination record for rabies. So make sure they are up to date and are adequately documented.
Once you reach the destination, there are chances of your dog being irritated of the long journey in the car, and as soon as you let them out, there are chances of them running out in an unknown area. This is a problem for both you and the dog. Therefore it is advisable to attach a tag imprinted of your name and phone number in their collars so that whoever finds it can contact you to return your fluffy friends.
If traveling with your dog is an often activity, then you should consider buying rubberized floor mats and waterproof seats. This will help you keep your car clean. The products as mentioned above will be available in the auto parts shops. Also, make sure you clean the vehicle and car freshener is sprayed after the road trip is done because dogs usually shed their hair, and it is unhygienic to keep the dog's hair in the car. Some people are allergic to them, so if you wish to have a beautiful trip, make sure you clean the vehicle at regular stops if the dogs shed too much hair.
Make sure the dogs are kept along with the luggage. It is the safest way to for dogs to travel in the car. If you are taking big dogs, it is advisable to prefer a bigger car, so that they get a little more room to move around because they get restless if you are traveling a long distance.
Thus following were the steps that ought to be followed while planning and preparing before and after the road trip. It is also essential to pay more attention to the dogs while traveling because if they get health upset your whole road trip which you had thought would be fun will be a total disaster. Therefore make sure you are well prepared to take your four-legged family member on a memorable road trip.