Planning a big trip with your pets? We put together a list of twenty helpful tips to remember when traveling with your dogs.
If you’re like 85 million other families in the US, you have at least one dog in your household. These furry pals are your best friends, your life companions.
Because of that, you probably want to take them everywhere you go, including on vacation. But you might not know what you need to ensure their safety and comfort and are worried you may not be well-prepared for an upcoming trip.
If you’re traveling with your dogs soon, here are 18 helpful tips to remember.
1. Research Vets
If you already know where you’re going and what stops you’re going to make, research a few vets who are on the way. Emergencies with your dogs may happen, so you want to be prepared, just in case.
Write down all the pertinent information and store it somewhere safe and easy to access.
2. Get a Clean Bill of Health
This is especially important if your dogs are on the older, frailer side.
It’s understandable that you want to bring your pooches on trips with you, but sometimes, it’s just not feasible. Make sure they get thorough exams before you consider bringing them with you.
If they aren’t in the best of conditions, it may be best to leave them home with a sitter instead.
3. Research Airline Policies
Are you taking a flight? Then make sure to read up on their flight policies regarding dogs.
Even if you’re sure of what their policies are, you should also call them up. Things can change, so it’s good to get verbal confirmation from a staff member before your trip.
4. Research Your Hotels
If you’re making multiple stops, you need to ensure the hotels you’ve booked are pet-friendly. You can really hit some snags in your plans if you plan to stay somewhere that doesn’t allow dogs, so make sure you do your research early on.
Don’t plan on winging it when it comes to accommodations. Although spontaneity can be fun for some trips, it’s not worth the hassle when you’re bringing your pooches.
5. Bring All Their Important Papers
Gather all your dogs’ medical records, IDs, and other important documentation. The best place to keep all these papers is in a large Ziploc bag. Not only are all the important documents in one place, but they’re also waterproof in case any accidents happen.
6. Pack a Squeegee
No, this isn’t for cleaning up liquid messes from your pets. It actually has a really great use: picking up dog hair from carpets and upholstery!
All you have to do is run this small tool over the carpet or upholstery and it’ll pick up all the hair for you. Plus, it’s very compact, so you won’t need to give up much space to pack it.
7. Get a Convenient Pet Travel Carrier
The pet accessories market is huge, considering how much people like to pamper their pets. One thing you should consider before going on a trip is getting a pet travel carrier.
The normal ones allow you to put your dogs in a crate-like structure, but there are many more that enable you to bring your pets along easily. For instance, there are carriers made like backpacks. Or there are some you can roll around on wheels.
8. Try a Short Trip First
If your dogs have never been in the car before, then it’s not ideal to bring them on a long road trip.
You need to make sure they’re comfortable with being in a car, especially for long durations. Take them out when you run errands to see how they tolerate it.
Start small, then gradually increase the lengths of your trips so they know being in a vehicle is no big deal. This will decrease the chance of them kicking up a fuss when you go on your actual road trip.
9. Tire out Your Dogs
If your pooches are the type to get very anxious and restless during trips, you may want to tire them out for the road trip.
In the days leading up to your journey, take them out for extra exercise. When the big day arrives, they’ll be too pooped out to make a fuss. They’ll either be very complacent and/or sleepy, which means you’ll have an easier time.
10. Bring Their Favorite Items
The car can be a somewhat unfamiliar place, especially when compared to your home. You can help your dogs feel more comfortable by bringing their favorite items, such as a blanket or toy.
Put these things in the car first so when you bring them in, their scent’s already in the vehicle. Then, once they get in, they can find comfort in their favorite items.
11. Pack Some Baking Soda
Baking soda is handy for a number of things that can happen on a road trip.
A spill? An accident from an overly filled bladder? A bee sting?
Baking soda can take care of it all.
Just pour some over the affected area for all 3 situations. For the first 2, the baking soda will get rid of both the stains and smells. For the last scenario, it can help with swelling and pain.
12. Bring a Box of Necessities
When packing for a trip, it can get quite hectic. You don’t want to accidentally miss out on throwing in something essential for your pups.
They may not need a suitcase, but allocating a small box for your dogs is a good idea. In it, place their food, medications, treats, toys, water bowls, water bottles, and poop bags.
That way, everything you need for your canine friends can easily be found in one place.
13. Plan for Motion Sickness
Just like with humans, dogs can get motion sickness too. To assist with this, let your dogs get a window view since this can help them get their bearings and feel less nausea.
Pack some chicken broth too. Put a tiny bit in with their water; it can have a therapeutic effect on your dogs just like it does on you when you’re sick.
You can also ask your vet for some anti-nausea pills that are safe for your dogs.
14. Get Car Seats
You may be tempted to let your pups roam free in the car; you want them to stretch their legs, after all.
But this can be dangerous! If you slam on the brakes for any reason, they can go flying and really hurt themselves.
There are some dog car seats you can secure your dogs in. Not only does this ensure their safety, but yours as well. You won’t have to deal with random dogs crawling into your lap and whining for your attention while you’re focused on driving.
To learn about the safest car seats for dogs click here.
15. Be Within Your Dogs’ Lines of Sight
Your dogs will need a clear line of sight to you. Without it, they can feel unsafe and insecure during the trip, which may cause them to act out.
If your dogs are in car seats or carriers, position it so they can see you while you drive. If no one’s in the passenger seat, you can put them up there and pet them occasionally for reassurance.
16. Take Lots of Breaks
It may be annoying to take more breaks than planned, but it’ll be all worth it for the well-being of your pooches. This is especially true if you have them in car seats or pet carriers for the entire journey.
Take breaks often so everyone can stretch their legs. Take some laps around the park, throw a ball around, and relieve yourselves before making the next stretch of your journey.
17. Bring Some Multivitamins
Bring some bottles of the best dog vitamins to keep your pooches happy, healthy, and energetic. These are easy to feed them; just give them one a day and it’ll help them with joint inflammation and protect against things like cell damage and anxiety.
It may be a good idea to start them on these multivitamins before you leave. Not only will it improve their health in the long term, but it’ll also get them used to it. That way, you won’t experience difficulty feeding your dog multivitamins while on the trip.
18. Don’t Leave Your Dogs Alone in the Car
You might want to just pop inside a diner to eat a quick lunch, but don’t leave your dogs alone in the vehicle. Depending on the temperatures outside, they may quickly become uncomfortable within an hour. It can even be dangerous for their health.
Make sure you bring some leashes so you can tie them up in the shade outside of buildings. Leave a water bowl with them so they can drink whenever they need to.
Make Traveling With Your Dogs a Cinch
When it comes to traveling with your dogs, it should be no problem now that you know some of the best tips.
The most important thing is both you and your pooches are safe, happy, and comfortable. Know everyone’s limitations and don’t push them. By taking it easy and utilizing our tips, you’ll be able to go anywhere with your precious dogs.
For more travel tips, please take a look at our other blog articles.