Traveling with your dog can come with many complications. In fact, it can get to a point where you might prefer to leave your canine friend at home or with a dog sitter instead of taking them out with you. Of course, it depends on where you’re going, but you should never feel like traveling with your dog is a hindrance.
So to help you out, we’ve prepared 9 tips for stress-free travel with your dog.
1. Strap your dog safely into the car
If you’re going to be driving around, then it’s incredibly important to strap your dog into the car. Make sure you get a tether that clicks into the seatbelt. It works like a harness that keeps your dog safely in the car and prevents them moving around too much.
This can cause distractions that take your eyes off the road, or your dog could get a little too excited and start playing with other passengers. Whatever you do, keep your dog safe by using a harness and not just a collar! You’ll also want to ensure you get a high-quality harness that actually fits your dog comfortably and doesn’t make them suffocate.
2. Keep them hydrated
If you’re hitting the road, make sure you bring plenty of water to help keep your dog hydrated. As a small tip, you can also bring ice cubes to help keep your dog hydrated and it will make less of a mess than water. Ice cubes will also help keep your dog cool during hot weather–it’s much more effective than lukewarm water that’s been baking in the car!
Of course, if you don’t have access to a cooler and no other way to bring ice cubes along, water is good enough and should always be a priority.
3. Keep poop bags handy or consider alternatives
Make sure you bring plenty of poop bags, especially if you plan to go out for a long period of time. The alternative is to consider dog diapers. You’ll need to measure your dog and get the right size, but this helps greatly with keeping them clean in the car and preventing them from having an accident in the car. You can see Pet Parents® for details if you’re interested in getting your dog a pair of dog diapers. If you’d prefer to stick to poop bags, then make sure you take breaks if you’re driving along a long stretch of road.
4. Let your dog stretch their legs
Being stuck in a car for long periods of time isn’t good for you or your dog. Make sure you take regular breaks to let your dog run around and expend some of that energy. If you do this before you have to travel, then your dog will likely take a long nap in the car and this makes it easier to control their excitement.
5. Bring their favorite toys and blankets
Your dog might feel homesick if you’re gone for long periods of time, so make sure you bring something from home that they love. This could be their favorite blanket, a toy they love or perhaps even some snacks. If you’re driving in the front and your dog is at the back, they’ll miss you and might even whine until you give them some attention. Bringing their favorite toys along can help calm them down and a blanket will make them feel comfortable in their car. Dogs are very sensitive to smells, so even something simple like a shirt can help soothe their behavior if it reminds them of home or even you.
6. Remember a first-aid kit
A first-aid kit for your dog should contain basics such as bandages, surgical tape a towel, cotton buds and so on. If you’re out in a forest or somewhere that your dog could injure themselves, then you need to remember to bring emergency supplies for their injuries.
In addition, exploring the great outdoors could be dangerous if your dog loves to nibble at things. They could swallow something poisonous by accident, and it’s best to prepare some medication. If you suspect they’ve swallowed something such as a mushroom, then make sure you take them immediately to a vet.
7. Plan ahead with your trip
The key to stress-free travel with your dog is to make sure you plan ahead for them. For instance, if you want to stay at a hotel for a couple of days, you may want to check if you’re allowed to bring your dog. Some hotels and venues have a “no pets allowed” policy, but others are more welcoming and will gladly take care of your dog for a small fee.
8. Learn to calm your dog
Whether it’s the unfamiliar territory or the long drive, your dog might be restless throughout the trip. Make sure you learn to calm your dog so that should they be restless, you can keep them well-behaved. Exercising your dog and letting them use up their energy will keep them from being hyperactive in the car, and there are soothing aids that will help them calm down. Music can also be an effective way of keeping your dog calm, especially if there are loud noises around such as traffic. Chew toys can also be an effective way to keep your dog relaxed.
9. Remember name tags
The last thing you want is for your dog to get lost in an unfamiliar place. Remember to attach an emergency tag to their collar that has information such as your phone number, any medical details that strangers should know and so on. This can also be kept in your first aid kit.
Dogs can be very curious animals that love to explore, hence why it’s important to prepare for any situation that could potentially arise. It’s best to keep an eye on your dog with a collar and leash, but if you let them roam around then they might get lost because they’re not familiar with the area or the smells.