Road-Tripping with Your Pet?
Here’s How to Keep Your Dog Safe on the Road
You’re planning a big summer road trip and your dog is calling shotgun. And why not? Dogs make great travel companions, especially when you’re headed to a destination with ample outdoor activities.
Before you hit the open road with your pet, there are a few things you need to know about keeping your dog safe on the go.
Prepare for the Trip
The right preparations make traveling with dogs much easier. Handle these tasks before you depart:
- – Search for a destination known for dog-friendly activities and amenities.
- – Familiarize yourself with leash laws at your destination.
- – Reserve a stay at a pet-friendly hotel or vacation rental.
- – Make copies of your pet’s vet records and update vaccinations as needed. This will come in handy if you need to use a pet sitter or doggy daycare while traveling.
- – Make sure your dog’s ID tags and microchip information are up-to-date.
- – Collect your dog’s things. You’ll need a crate, leash, portable food and water bowls, toys, treats, and other daily necessities.
Car Safety for Dogs
The safest way for dogs to ride in a car is in a crate that’s secured in the back seat or cargo area. This protects your pet from serious injuries in a crash, much like a seatbelt does for you. It also guarantees your dog won’t interfere with driving and cause a collision.
Schedule stops along your route so your pet can use the bathroom, stretch his legs, and eat and drink. Highway rest areas are a great stopping place if you’re traveling long distances. Allowing your dog to walk while traveling is essential to his health, but it can be challenging if you don’t have the right tools. Before you hit the road, purchase a good leash, as well as a collar or harness depending on what your dog prefers, to ensure you walk your dog safely. Additionally, always keep your pet leashed during the walks, and carry bags for cleaning up after your dog.
If traveling in warm weather, plan your stops to avoid leaving your dog in a hot car. Even if it’s not that hot outside, temperatures inside a car can climb to dangerous temperatures within minutes. Instead of leaving your dog behind, find pet-friendly restaurants, buy food from the drive-thru, or schedule curbside pickup at a grocery store when you need to stop for a bite.
Dogs in Hotels
It’s not hard to find a pet-friendly hotel, although you may have to pay a fee for your four-legged roommate. The trouble arises when you need to leave the hotel room without your pet. Dogs get nervous in new places, and your normally well-behaved dog may tear up the furniture or bark up a storm if left in a strange place alone. This is stressful for your dog and could land you in trouble with hotel management. If you can’t take your dog along on an activity, hire a local pet sitter instead of leaving your dog alone. You can search and screen pet sitters online in advance.
Traveling with Cats
Dogs aren’t the only pets fit for adventure — just ask the owners of adventure cats! Whether you’re traveling with your cat for fun or out of necessity, you need to pack the right items to keep your feline friend safe and comfortable on the road.
In addition to food and water bowls and a cat carrier, you’ll need a disposable litter box, a leash and harness for taking your cat out of the vehicle, and a bed for a familiar napping spot in your hotel room.
Many cats get skittish while traveling, so you’ll need to be extra cautious to keep your pet safe. Always secure your cat with a leash and harness or cat carrier before opening the door to your car or hotel room. If you have to leave your cat in the hotel room for a few hours, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign and keep your cat in the bathroom to prevent an accidental escape.
Traveling with pets can be a rewarding experience for both of you. Your dog gets to enjoy new sights and smells, and you have a loyal companion that’s always up for adventure. However, without the right safety measures, your fun trip could turn into a catastrophe. Put your pet’s safety first while traveling and your trip will be such a success that you’ll start planning your next pet-friendly adventure as soon as you return!
Image via Unsplash
Author Nick Burton