Travelling, and especially road trips, are some of the most fun you’ll ever have. If you have a dog, though, this time can be painful because your little companion is far away from you. People say it’s hard to bring pets, and especially dogs, on the road with you, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you really want your dog to accompany you on your next road trip, all you’ll have to do is prepare a little better than you usually would.
Pet-friendly road trips are possible, so let’s see how you and your pup can enjoy your next great adventure together.
1. Pack up
Packing for road trips is fun, but you have to remember to pack everything. You should pack yourself first because you already know what you need, and then focus on packing everything your pet needs. You’ll need to make a list of all of their essentials and then see if you need to make a couple of more purchases. Your dog will need their things so as to feel more comfortable and familiar with the environment. New smells and sights might be exciting for them, but they can also cause severe anxiety which result is problem behavior and a ruined trip.
Aside from packing their favorite blanky and some toys, you should also pack enough food. When it comes to water, it might be a good idea to find spill-proof water bowls so that your pup can enjoy a refreshing drink even while you’re driving. If you drive a pick-up truck or a big car, you can even buy a pet ramp so that your dog has an easier time getting in and out of the vehicle.
If you’re carrying your dog in a harness, you may want to include an old shirt of yours, so they have something that smells like you to snuggle. This is also a good idea if your dog is generally anxious, as it will help make them feel safe and calm them down.
2. Go with the flow
You can plan all you want, but some things will simply be up to life and not to you. When things go sideways, don’t fret. Instead, try going with the flow. Road trips are all about fun and adventure so there’s no reason not to join in the fun life has presented you with. How many places you see along the way and what the outcome of your adventure is, depends entirely on the circumstances you’re in.
Your focus on this journey should be to have fun and to make sure your dog is content and safe. Everything else is just a new experience and a new story to tell. You’ll grow closer to your pet than ever before on this journey, so don’t let something trivial ruin the bonding experience. Whatever happens, you’ll know you have your best friend to count on and that they’re looking out for you as much as you’re looking out for them.
3. Be considerate to others
When travelling with your dog, you’re representing all the people travelling with pets whether you like it or not. People are quick to judge, and if your dog is not nice or if you’re inconsiderate, they certainly will judge. Your careless behavior could mean that other travelers have a worse time travelling with their pets, as people will expect and assume the worst due to the negative experience they’ve had with you.
So, always be kind to others and make sure that your dog is too. If your pooch doesn’t like strangers, but someone wants to pet them, kindly let them know that this is not appropriate and that your dog won’t enjoy it. People aren’t monsters, they’ll understand- as long as you keep your tone friendly and voice leveled. Remember, you and your dog aren’t in danger, so there’s no reason to act like it.
4. Have a schedule (and keep to it)
It’s always much smarter to have a schedule that will help you stay on track of your road trip. Your dog responds to routine and you should devise your schedule so that it follows their routine. This will make them more comfortable as well as give you peace of mind while you’re driving. You’ll know they won’t have to go to the bathroom because they just went and because you have another break coming up soon.
Keeping to your schedule will save you a lot of headaches and will ensure your dog stays comfy and snug the whole journey. You should also set an alarm for mealtimes and allow regular intervals for walking and stretching.
5. Reinforce training
A well-behaved dog is a dog you want by your side on your road trip. This is why you should reinforce your pup’s training before you go. Remind them of all the basic commands, be sterner when it comes to walking on the leash, and don’t let them get away with shenanigans. This might sound too stern or cruel, but it’s necessary if you want to guarantee your pup’s and your own safety on the road.
Them listening to “heel” the first time you say it might be the difference between having a nice time at a cafe somewhere or them wandering off after a squirrel. This is unfamiliar territory for your dog, so it’s important for them to listen to you and stay close. If your dog spooks easily, don’t let them off the leash and make sure they know their manners.
6. Pet-proof your car
Pet-proofing your car is good for both the pet and the car. You want to minimize the chance of your dog getting hurt and the chance of your car getting dirty. You’ll want to have a harness or a carrier which will keep your dog in place so that they don’t roam around freely. This will stop them from sitting in your lap or distracting you while driving and keep both of you safe.
If you drive a pickup or minivan, you’ll want to place high-quality ute mats under the carrier or your dog. Not only will this keep the car from getting ripped up, but it will also keep the carrier or dog from slipping. It may even provide some comfort to the dog, as they’ll get a place in the car that’s just theirs. If they have an accident, it will also be much easier to clean up.
7. Talk to your vet
Before you leave, you’ll want to make sure that your pup is healthy and can withstand the journey ahead. If your vet clears them for the road, you’ll be good to go. Talking to your vet is also good because you’ll get to ask everything that was troubling you about the road ahead. They’ll be able to give you solid tips on how to control your dog’s behavior and will tell you how to calm them down and keep them happy.
As well as that, you might need to take some medicine with you if your dog has allergies or if they’re taking medication for any reason. Whatever the case, you definitely can’t miss the vet appointment, as you’ll have a much better time travelling with your dog knowing that they’re happy, healthy, and safe.
As you can see, you and your dog don’t have to be apart just because you’re travelling. Thanks to these tips, they can join you on your next adventure easily. As long as you take all the necessary precautions to keep your pup safe, there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t come with you. We’re confident this will be your greatest adventure yet and that your dog will enjoy it every bit as much as you. Their little world just got a whole lot bigger, all thanks to you.