Are you planning on taking your dog on some road trip adventures this summer? Here are some tips to keep your pooch happy and healthy while traveling! After hearing what air travel has been like the past few months, car rides are the way to go! If you didn’t know, I was a flight attendant for 16 years – I miss the travel and the friends I made, but I don’t miss being stuck in packed airplanes full of tired and angry passengers with lengthy flight delays. I embrace road trips these days, and the peacefulness of them!
1. Practice Makes Perfect
If you have never taken your dog on a road trip, don’t let the very first one be an 8 hour drive. Get them used to travel. Get them used to the car. Have your dog get into your car and just hang out there for 3o minutes with a comfy bed and a frozen Kong stuffed with peanut butter. Don’t even go anywhere. Just teach them that the car “brings good things”. Then do a few shorter trips to may your favorite hiking trail for a walk. This will get them excited for the car… especially with the ride not ending in a scary vet visit.
2. Plan Dog Friendly Stops
Plan ahead. Check out dog friendly parks, trails, beaches or other safe places you can stop along the way. Every hour or so is great! This will give you a chance for you and your pup to stretch your legs and get a little playtime in. Our first trip with my dog, Kota, was when she was about 6 months old. I ran the Lake Placid half marathon and it was about a four and a half hour drive. We found this great little rest area to have a picnic and it was perfect for Kota to do a little exploring. Lake Placid is one of our favorite places to travel with Kota, and we stopped here every time we did this trip.
3. Keep Your Dog Restrained While Driving
We all do it, but it is dangerous to keep our dogs loose in the car. If you can fit a crate in , that is super helpful. We have one of the dog hammocks that we use that keeps Kota in a smaller, securer spot. When we fostered a husky mix, Karma, I did a lot of training with her. She loved her crate! Below is a picture of her wiped out after a hiking adventure. Yes, there are no clean cars in our household!
4. Stop the Leash from Hanging
A loose leash can cause tragedy, if on your dog in an accident. Yes, I have hear horrific stories that I can’t even imagine. Please consider removing your dog’s leash while in the car, and putting it back on before you open any car doors.
5. PREPARE (Even for emergencies!)
Be prepared for the weather or any special accommodations you’ll need for your dog. Do you need something for car anxiety or motion sickness? (check with your vet first) Your dog’s prescriptions? Make sure you have all of that packed up ahead of time. If nothing else, pack a pet first aid kit, vaccination list, medical records and current photos.
6. Food and Water Travel Bowls Are a Must
I can’t even begin to tell you how many travel dog bowls we have! If you have done a photo session with me, you might have Pant the Town Photography travel bowl that you keep in your car. If possible, leave that water out while driving too so you pup can have a drink whenever thirsty. I love the bowls with the carabiner clips that you can clip right to your backpack.
7. Stock Up On Chewies, Treats and Toys
You will want LOTS of treats available! We always want to positively reinforce our dogs when they do good things. Puzzle toys and games are great for mental stimulation. When you make a pit stop with your pup, play a little game of “find it” in the area using picnic tables and benches. It’s also great for them while you are driving, to keep them entertained.
8. Bring Something of Comfort
Bring something comfy and familiar for your dog. A dog bed, favorite blanket or cozy sleeping pad can do the trick.
9. Know the Rules
Make sure you check up on all the rules at your final destination. Always keep your dog on a leash when getting in and out of the car. Are there designated spots at your hotel or campsite that are “permitted” potty areas? Is your dog allowed everywhere on the grounds or in the building? ALWAYS have waste bags available to clean up after your pup.
The picture below is from several years ago, another road trip adventure to Lake Placid with Kota. We enjoyed staying at dog friendly Art Devlin’s Olympic Motor Inn. This was our balcony. Art Devlin’s does a nice job at sharing the dog policy on the website.
10. Play it Cool
It’s summertime and the heat is on! Please do not EVER leave your dog along in a hot car. Lots of dog friendly places offer dog sitting if it’s a challenge to leave your dog alone. A great resource for all things dog friendly is Bring Fido. You can search dog friendly places to eat, care, hotels, services, ect. before you make your trip.
Safe travels with your dog this summer and I hope you have a blast on your road trip adventures! If you are going to be road tripping with your dog in the New England area and would love to schedule a photo session, please let me know!
This post is part a pet photographers blog circle. This week is all about outdoor adventures from around the world! Next up I’m sending you out to the west coast as Seattle Dog Photographer, Holly Cook, introduces you to Chowder, the Skateboard Riding Bulldog! I’m headed over to Holly’s post as I can’t wait to check out Chowder! Enjoy!