There are reasons dogs cannot get driver’s licenses–cars are not designed for our four-legged friends. There’s that, and they struggle with noticing when the light has changed from green to red. Jokes aside, cars are designed to keep people safe… As for our dogs, there are some extra precautions you should take if you’re planning a summer road trip. To keep your dog safe as they ride along, at rest stops, and once you arrive at your destination, keep these tips in mind.
- Don’t Let Your Dog Travel Unrestrained
As we mentioned before, cars aren’t designed for dogs, and dogs aren’t designed for cars. So, to keep you, your family, and your dog safe, you will want to use dog-appropriate methods to keep your pup from wandering about the car as you drive. The last thing you want is your dog distracting you, bumping the gear shift (or pedals), or flying uncontrolled should you have to brake hard.
The easiest way to keep your dog safe in the car is to crate them and secure the crate using a seatbelt or safety straps. Plus, the crate will come in handy once you arrive at your hotel or other accommodations. Help your dog pass the time on the road with some treat puzzle toys.
If you have the time, get your dog used to car travel in the crate before you set out on a longer trip.
- Go for a Test Ride
Many dog owners are surprised to learn their dogs get car sick. Many dogs suffer from light to severe motion sickness. Before you plan on driving hundreds or even thousands of miles from home, take your dog on a test run. If your dog struggles, they may be better off staying home with a friend or family member.
- Bring Along Your Dog’s Vet Records & Prescriptions
When you’re preparing for your trip, be sure to map out veterinary clinics nearby your hotel and along the way. You will also want to bring along a copy of your dog’s vaccination records just in case you get in an accident or need to see an out-of-town vet. And don’t forget your dog’s medications as you’re packing for your trip.
- Check Your Pup’s Microchip & ID Tag
Travelling can be disorienting for some dogs, which can lead to a great canine escape while you’re at a rest stop or from the hotel. An up-to-date, well-secure ID tag is vital for a prompt return.
Should your dog wiggle out of their collar or ID tag break off, you want to be sure your dog is microchipped (and the microchip registration is up-to-date), so you can get your dog back quickly.
- Take Plenty of Breaks & Bring Water
Plan on stopping about every two hours to let your dog use the potty and have some water. It’s also important to encourage your dog to stretch their legs and get a little exercise in along the way. A bit of fun gives your dog a break from the monotony of the car and a chance to burn off nervous energy.
- Arrive Ready to Make Your Dog Feel at Home
No matter how often we try to explain it to them, dogs just struggle to understand the concept of vacation–they’re homebodies. They love the comfort of their own beds, the smells they’re used to, and their regular toys. So, even if you’re staying with family, bring along items that will help your pup have a bit of home-away-from-home. These include:
- Their own bed
- Familiar toys
- Their normal food and treats
- A blanket that smells like home
- A t-shirt that smells like you
Are You Ready for a Road Trip?
Fact: You deserve a vacation. Preparing your dog for car travel can keep the fun in your vacay. If your dog needs a refill of their medication before you leave, give us a call or check out our online pharmacy. Otherwise, enjoy your trip, and we’re here for you and your dog if you should need anything.
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