Most dogs like routine and thrive in their home environment. They become comfortable with the way their owners care for them, and the owners get used to caring for their dogs in a certain way. Along comes a long road trip to have fun with the family, and what happens to the dogs? Often they are left with friends, family, or boarding kennels. But for a lack of availability, location, or finances, leaving the dogs behind may not be a practical option. Before choosing to travel with dogs, consider these simple tips.
Space and Comfort
How much room does the vehicle have after all the family’s needs are packed? Are there going to be any empty seats? On average, if the dogs are not going to be in a kennel in the back storage space, one seat per dog would afford a comfortable travel experience. Obviously, a larger than average dog would need more space, and a smaller than an average dog would need less space.
Making sure that the dogs have access to fresh air or air conditioning vents will help to keep them from becoming too hot and panting. A dog’s favorite blanket or toy can be placed with them in their seat/place to help keep them comfortable and occupied.
Breaks and Nourishment
Driving for long periods of time without a break to relieve themselves or stretch their legs can cause the dogs to become anxious and restless. About every two hours it would be a good idea to stop (even for a few minutes) to let them relieve and rejuvenate themselves.
At those rest stops offer them some water. Keep an empty bowl nearby and pour a little water in it from a water bottle. Some kibbles could be offered as well, but most dogs will eat less when in new environments or situations.
Supplies to Bring
A dog needs quite a few supplies to travel effectively and efficiently. Make sure to bring at least:
- food (If the dogs normally eat dry kibbles, a can of soft food may tempt them to eat more.)
For convenience and a better overall travel experience, consider also bringing:
- ID tags with name and phone number (Place on their collars in case they run away or get lost in unfamiliar territory.
- dog toys
- dog bones
- dog treats
- dog brush (especially if a dog sheds a lot)
- lint roller (to clean up shed hair off of upholstery and clothing)
- bags, paper towels, and disinfectant wipes (for cleaning up messes)
In all the preparation for going on a car trip with dogs, the most important thing is the safety and well-being of the dogs. Take into consideration their personalities, habits, preferences, age, and heath. If it will be a safe and pleasurable experience, take the dogs and enjoy the trip.