Planning a Vacation? You Don’t Have to Leave Your Dog!

As a proud dog parent, you know how difficult it is to go on a vacation. While a doggie daycare/kennel may be the simplest solution, this is not always a feasible option. All too often, these facilities are often pricey and do not cater to pups who dislike other dogs, have anxiety, or need special medication and care. If this sounds like your dog, consider bringing him along with you on your next road trip. Keep reading to learn some tips and tricks for making your dog (and you) happy on the road.

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

If you want to make your trip fun and fulfilling, be sure to plan ahead. Start by taking your dog to a veterinarian to ensure he/she has all the necessary vaccinations and parasite prevention products. There will be a lot of new scents to roll in and new foods to eat, so be sure to prepare your pet’s stomach and immune system for all those fresh germs.

If your pup does not have microchips or up-to-date ID tags, be sure to remedy this before traveling. If your dog gets lost, having the necessary identification pieces will be incredibly valuable in the search for your missing pup. Next, be sure to pack his/her favorite toys, food, and treats as well as a towel and shampoo (just in case things get muddy).

Finally, remember that road trips can get hot and, at times, procuring water can be difficult. Consider purchasing several gallons of water and refreshing your supply whenever you hit a grocery store or gas station during your trip.

Plan Activities

Like people, dogs can get tired of being cooped up in a car. In-car dog boredom is often expressed through barking, whining, and chewing. The good news is there are a number of ways to keep your pup entertained during your road trip. Chew toys, long-lasting treats, and frequent pets can make the car ride enjoyable for everyone involved.

With that said, exercise is one of the best ways to make sure your dog is on his/her best behavior. Be sure to make frequent stops to give your pup time to burn off some of that energy. Better yet, map out some hiking trails along the way. After a long hike, it is likely your dog will spend the next hour or so in a deep snooze. Hiking is also a great way for you to break up the long drive, get some fresh air, and stay fit on the road.

Dog parks are yet another great way for your dog to burn some energy, but it’s important to keep some safety tips in mind. In the unfortunate situation that a dog fight occurs, remember that you (and your dog) will be better off simply removing yourselves from the situation. To minimize harm, attempt to distract your dog by calling his/her name, waving, and making loud noises. You could even pack along a dog whistle to temporarily distract the pups.

Remember, never leave your pup inside a hot (or even warm) car. Dogs cannot sweat and thus feel temperatures at a much higher rate than humans. If you need to make a food pit stop, look for pet-friendly patios or hit-up a drive-thru (you’re on a road trip after all).

Take Some Time for You

Sadly, there are some activities dogs cannot do with us, including eating in restaurants, going to movie theaters, and shopping. There are, however, a number of ways you can do everything you want to do while still keeping your pup happy. If your pup cannot be in a kennel facility, consider researching certified pet sitters in the area. Pet sitters are often quasi-babysitters who will walk your dog, play with him/her, go to the park, or simply keep your pup company while watching a movie. Many pet sitters will even allow you to drop your dog at their home for a fee (usually around $20 to $40 per hour). If you only plan to go out for an hour or so, you may be permitted to leave your dog in your hotel room. That being said, most hotels have strict pet policies ranging from “no pets” to “no pets over 20 pounds.” To avoid a late-night hotel change, arrange your dog-friendly sleep plans well in advance.

Traveling with your best friend/dog companion will make your vacation one to remember. Not only will you go on a few more walks and hikes, your dog will have a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience. To make your trip a success, simply plan ahead, do your research, and take some time for you. Best of luck on your dog-friendly adventure!