Traveling with a dog is a fun and rewarding experience, but it takes a bit more planning than a typical car ride. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about ways to keep your pet calm during the trip.
A few key things to remember include feeding your dog a small meal about four hours before you hit the road, and packing some ginger chews for tummies that get queasy easily.
1. Bring Your Dog’s Favorite Toys
Whether it’s to the park, the beach, or somewhere new, most dogs love taking a ride in the car. But long trips require some planning and a few dog travel accessories to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the trip.
For example, bring one of your pup’s favorite toys to keep them occupied during the drive and happy once you arrive at your destination. Plush pet toys like this squeaky squirrel or the Hide A Squirrel puzzle toy are fun for any dog and are easy to pack.
It’s also important to have some of your dog’s favorite treats handy. These can serve as a reward for good behavior during the trip or help calm them if they’re anxious or nervous in the car. If you’re going to try a new food for your pup on the road, introduce it a week or two before the trip so they have time to get used to it.
Another great idea is to give your dog a few extra walks before you leave. This will give them an opportunity to use the bathroom and get some energy out before the trip starts. You’ll also want to make sure that they have enough water with them throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
If you have a small breed, consider packing a collapsible water bowl to save space in your trunk. These are easy to fold up and can be stored away in a back pocket or under the seat, making them a convenient addition to your dog’s car travel supplies. Also, don’t forget a soft dog blanket for the car to keep your pup comfortable. This blanket is washable and can double as a pillow for your dog once the trip is over.
2. Pack a Portable Water Bowl
One of the most important things you need to remember on big car trips or if you are camping or hiking with your dog is a water bowl. A quality travel bowl will allow you to keep your dog hydrated on the go without adding a lot of extra weight to your bag.
There are many different types of dog travel bowls on the market. You can get a bottle and attach a plastic bowl to it, you can buy a collapsible travel bowl that folds down flat and fits into your pocket or you can even buy a tiered pot system like this from Youthink. All of these travel bowls are made from safe materials, are easy to clean and store, and can be used for walks or on the go.
The Prestige Road Refresher non spill bowl is a great option for car journeys as it is specifically designed to prevent water spills in the car. It has a weighted floating tray to ensure that only a small amount of water is released at a time and the wide lip stops any slobber from getting on the floor. The large version holds up to 1.4L of water and the smaller is perfect for dogs of all sizes.
The PetFusion stainless steel travel bowl is a hardy choice that will last on your adventures. It’s insulated to help your pup’s drink stay cool, and it comes with a screw-off lid that doubles as a bowl. You can also spot clean it or machine wash it, though it takes a bit of time to dry out. It’s not as compact as the other options and adds half a pound to your pack, but it’s still pretty durable and does its job well.
3. Bring a Recall Line
Some dogs find being in the car stressful and may show their anxiety with whining, heavy panting or even refusing to get into the vehicle at all. If your dog is nervous about travel, a recall line can help them feel safe and secure. This is especially important when traveling in new environments, or around high distractions. This long leash will allow your dog to be seemingly free but under control, allowing them to explore whilst remaining a safe distance away from the dangers of the road. This is also a great tool to use when training recall, and for controlled socialisation in cars and on walks. This is a must-have for any pet owner who travels with their dogs regularly.
Many people choose to use a crate for the trip or at least for part of the journey. This is a good idea, as it will prevent your dog from jumping into the driver’s seat, which can distract the driver and lead to accidents. The best crates are crash tested, designed to fit in the cargo area of the vehicle and built to protect both human and dog in case of an accident.
Remember to keep your dog’s microchip and collar up-to-date, especially when traveling with them. You should also bring both electronic and paper copies of your dog’s medical records, and a health certificate from your veterinarian in case you need to take your dog to an emergency vet during your trip. This is particularly important when traveling internationally with your pet. It is a good idea to make appointments at your veterinarian before you leave to ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
4. Bring a Car Ramp
If your dog is older or has health issues, they may not be able to jump into your car like they used to. In these cases, it’s best to bring a ramp or pet stairs for your SUV to help them get into the vehicle. This will also reduce the chances of them injuring themselves trying to leap up into the seat or causing stress on their joints.
You can find dog ramps for SUV’s in many different varieties, including folding and telescoping models. Make sure to choose one that fits your vehicle and has sufficient storage space for when it isn’t in use. Some models also fold down so they’re easy to carry, making them ideal for those who travel a lot with their dog.
When selecting a dog ramp, look for one with a smooth and sturdy surface that’s comfortable for your dog to walk on. You’ll want to avoid one with a steep incline, as this can be too difficult for dogs and put too much strain on their joints. You should also check to see if the ramp will work with your vehicle’s side doors.
For example, the Joyrally Extra Wide Lightweight Dog Ramp is designed to fit through back and side doors, and it can also be folded down for easy transport in your SUV. This ramp also features rubber stoppers to keep it securely in place while in use and a safety latch for secure transport. It can hold up to 200 pounds and has a non-slip surface to give your dog traction while walking on it. It can even be wiped down with a damp cloth for quick and easy cleaning.
5. Bring a Blanket
Just like you wouldn’t leave for a trip without your driver’s license, neither should you leave with your dog without its travel documentation. Paper documentation, including a photo of your dog, is crucial if anything should happen during the car ride. Other travel essentials include pet tags, microchip information and emergency contact information for your pet. Having this documentation will help your dog get back to you if it gets lost during the trip, and ensures that any medical or emergency care needs can be met.
It’s also a good idea to bring a blanket for the car so your pup can have a comfy place to sleep during the drive. Having something familiar can help make them feel safe and secure, which is particularly important if they’re prone to motion sickness. Additionally, a blanket can help trap the heat inside, keeping your dog comfortable during colder weather.
Finally, it’s a good idea to bring any medication your dog might need for the duration of the trip. If your dog is prone to car sickness, you may want to consider having some Dramamine handy. However, it’s best to consult your vet first so they can advise on the proper dosage.
Taking your dog on road trips can be a fun way to enjoy some quality time together. It’s a great way to see new things, smell fresh air and let your dog experience the world outside of their regular routine. If you’re planning on traveling with your dog this summer, preparing ahead of time can be the key to a stress-free trip for both of you. Just be sure to pack all the necessary supplies, including a ramp if your dog has mobility issues. This will help the journey go more smoothly and prevent you from having to lift your dog in and out of the vehicle over 20 times a day!