The world is becoming more dog-friendly, so more people are bringing their furry friends on trips. However, ensuring your pup stays comfy during a long car ride can be tricky. In this article, our veterinarians in Ketchum provide 11 safety tips for traveling with your dog.
Should I Take My Dog On A Road Trip?
The idea of taking a road trip with your dog is fun and exciting, especially when you consider all the new sights and places your pup will get to experience! However, with the wrong execution, hours of traveling in a car can be very stressful for both you and your dog.
If your dog is friendly and loves adventure, they will likely have a great time on the trip. On the other hand, if your dog is more of a couch potato, they might still enjoy the ride and the company of their favorite human! In any case, learning the best ways to keep your dog happy, healthy, and relaxed during a road trip is crucial.
11 Tips For Traveling With Dogs In A Car Long Distance
Our experts at Sun Valley Animal Center have shared the following 11 tips to safely road trip with your pup!
1. Plan a pet-friendly route
When taking your dog for a walk, remember to choose a path with safe places for them to take breaks, play, and do their business, like public fields. It's essential for their well-being.
2. Make consistent stops
Before you get on the road, you should know how often to stop on a road trip with a dog. Most vets agree that the average dog needs to take a break from a car ride every 2 to 4 hours. These breaks should be a minimum of 15 minutes long, but the longer, the better!
There are certain things that could change how many breaks your dog needs, such as their age or how prone they are to car sickness. If you're unsure, consult your veterinarian on how many breaks your pup should take on the trip.
3. Plan meals accordingly
Feed your pet a light meal about three to four hours before you leave. While you're traveling, always stop when your dog needs food. Don't feed them in a moving vehicle to help avoid pet car sickness.
4. Never leave them in the car alone
Do not leave your dog unattended in a parked car. This poses a safety risk when temperatures exceed 70°F or lower than 35°F. However, passersby may decide to break your window to free your dog if they think they are trapped inside at any temperature.
5. Pack the essentials
Prepare by packing your dog's food, water, treats, medicine, toys, feeding bowls, poop bags, extra leashes, first aid kit, stain and odor removers, and other supplies. This ensures you won't need to make frequent store stops and can enjoy more time on your adventures. Make sure to include your pet's health records, including recent immunizations.
6. Pet Identification is a must
While your pet must be microchipped in case they go missing, it is also important to have dog tags on their collar with at least your name and current phone number for easy identification.
7. Protect your dog and your car
Keep your pet restrained during the ride. It's not safe for them to move around the car while you're driving. Various products are available, including harnesses, hammocks, and crates, to help ensure their safety.
8. Wear them out ahead of time
A tired dog is often well-behaved, so right before you leave for your trip, take your pet for a long run or a visit to the dog park. This will help ease travel anxiety and allow them to relax in the car.
9. Provide entertainment
Your dog can't always appreciate the radio like you. Aside from open windows and nice views, try to bring a chew toy for your dog to enjoy or a treat that takes a while to chew on, like a dog-safe bone or dental chew.
10. Don't ignore signs of anxiety
Even if your dog doesn't usually get anxious, it's important to be prepared for potential discomfort or anxiety. Pressure wraps like a Thundershirt or calming supplements for dogs can be really helpful to have on hand. You can use them if you notice your dog showing signs of anxiety in the car, such as pacing, whining, pawing, vomiting, or excessive scratching.
11. Check in with your vet
Make sure your dog is healthy enough to travel. If your dog is in their senior years or has any existing health conditions, ask your vet if travel is safe for them and make sure their vaccines and flea and tick prevention are up to date.
Is It Worth It To Road Trip With My Dog?
However, it's normal for owners to feel anxious about taking their dog on a long trip, especially by car, for the first time.
Following the tips above and consulting your vet about your dog's specific conditions, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip with your furry friend!
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.