Summer and road trips go hand-in-hand for many families, including those who own a dog. When it comes to traveling with pets, advanced planning can mean the difference between fond memories and a ruined trip. If you know you’ll be hitting the road with your dog in tow, allow for as much time as possible to plan the logistics. This starts with a call or visit to Buffalo Trace Veterinary Clinic to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current. It’s also a good idea to schedule a check-up if your dog hasn’t had one in the last year.
To avoid coming home without your dog, make sure that she has a collar and tags as well as a microchip with updated contact information. Dogs like routine and may try to escape an unfamiliar environment. Without identification, it’s unlikely you will find your pet so far from home.
Packing a Bag for the Dog
While you’re packing a suitcase for yourself or your children, don’t forget to pack a separate bag for the dog. Even if you’re trying to pack light, keep in mind it’s better to have the things you need with you than having to try to buy them in an unfamiliar area. At a minimum, your dog’s travel bag should include:
● Food and water bowls
● His regular brand of dog food
● Flea and tick repellant
● Any medications he takes
● Pooper scooper and disposable bags
● Brush, shampoo, and his own towels
● Dog leash
● His favorite toys
● Dog treats
● Canine insect repellant and sunscreen
Staying Safe on the Road
Having a passenger hold the dog on his or her lap can compromise safety for the driver. It’s best for everyone, the dog included, to place him in a crate or seatbelt. You know your dog’s personality best and what he can tolerate. When you make stops, one person should remain in the car with the dog at all times. This is especially important on days with a high heat and humidity index. An unsupervised dog in a hot car is just a tragedy waiting to happen.
Rest Stops and Breaks
Your dog needs the opportunity to relieve herself at least once every four hours. She also needs to exercise to make up for long periods of inactivity in the car. If you’re unable to locate dog parks on your route, you can stop at a highway rest stop. Just make sure that you follow good etiquette by keeping your dog on a leash and cleaning up after her. When you can’t let her go off-leash, look for a groomed trail to walk her on before resuming your road trip.
If you’re staying in a hotel or another public location, make sure it accepts dogs first. You can check the website Dog Friendly just to make sure before leaving on vacation. Once you have checked in, plan to keep your dog with you or board him if you’re attending a people-only event. A dog left alone in a strange hotel room is likely to bark and cause a disturbance to other guests. You could be asked to leave if enough people complain. Fortunately, you can avoid this by following a few common-sense guidelines and remaining courteous of others at all times.
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