Top 5 Things You Need for a Road Trip with Your Dog
Summer is right around the corner, and you know what that means – road trip! A road trip can be a great way for a family and their dog to get out of town and have some fun.
As someone who travels with her dog quite frequently – including a move from Denver, Colo., to Long Beach, Calif. – I’m here to give you the best travel tips to ensure that you and your dog have a good time on the road together.
1. Food and Treats
Food and treats are first on the list for obvious reasons – but just putting some food and a few treats into a Ziploc bag and calling it good simply will not do. Dogs are smart and plastic bags are destructible … you see where I am going with this, right?
Measure out the exact amount of food you will need for your trip, and then add a little extra. Put this food in a waterproof, dog-proof container and keep it somewhere the dog is not. The same goes for treats – no plastic bags. By keeping your dog’s food and treats in safe places, you reduce the chances of your dog overeating and getting sick, or worse, running out of dog food in the middle of nowhere.
2. ID Tags, Current Health Certificates and Medicines
You know that’s your dog, your dog knows you’re his master, but what happens if your dog finds himself lost – will he be able to “tell” the person that finds him who he belongs to? Only if you have taken the right steps to make sure your dog is properly identified.
This means the tags on his collar have your current information, such as your name, his name and your cell phone number. If you haven’t already microchipped your dog, before going on a road trip is an excellent time to do so. Fido could lose his collar and then what? Have the microchip checked to ensure it’s working and make sure your information is up-to-date.
On the off chance that your dog gets sick, you will need to provide the vet with his medical history. Make sure you have current copies of all of his shots, treatments, medicines – whatever else your dog may need, so that he gets the best treatment available without having to wait for your vet to fax his information over – or worse, you can’t get it because the office is closed. This will help expedite any care your dog will need and prevent the vet from giving your dog the wrong treatment.
If your dog takes any medications, make sure you have a supply of all of them to last the duration of the trip.
3. First Aid Kit
You’ve made it to your destination spot. You are enjoying the sunshine and the scenery when suddenly your dog yelps out in pain and begins to furiously paw at his nose. He has been stung by a bee and is having an allergic reaction. This is where the first aid kit comes in, and it’s just one of many reasons you should have one.
It’s a pet parent’s worst nightmare come true: Your dog is hurt and you’re miles from home. You’ve done your homework and have a list of vets, but you’re not familiar with the area and have no idea how long it could take to get there. A first aid kit can help ease some of your anxiety and at the very least, enable you to keep your dog comfortable until you can get him to the vet for further treatment.
Have a list of veterinarian offices and directions handy. Don’t forget to include their hours and if they provide emergency services. If they don’t, make sure you have a list of after-hours care facilities.
4. Toys from Home
Dogs are creatures of habit, which means not only do they love the familiar – they go out of their way to keep up their routine. Since a road trip will throw a major Milk-Bone into your dog’s daily life, you’ll need to bring along a few of his favorite toys from home.
Plus, having his toys with you will keep him distracted and content during the longer portions of your trip. It is strongly recommended that at least one of these toys be a puzzle toy.
5. Dog Bed/Crate
Bringing along your dog’s bed is crucial. You’ll need a place for your dog to rest, and since he already knows his bed, it will be easier for you to get him on it and keep him there. Also, along the same line of thinking with the toys, his bed will help ease the anxiety he feels being away from his home and off his routine.
Bringing a crate is even better. Since your dog is already crate-trained, it should be second nature to him to go into it and chill out when necessary, which will result in a better-behaved dog.
A few other things:
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! Take your dog out for a long run, walk, hike or rousing game of tag before you get in the car. A tired dog is less likely to be a bad dog.
- Bring extra leashes and collars in case one gets misplaced or left somewhere.
- Pack a large supply of poop bags.
Last, but certainly not least – have fun. There is no other creature on earth that will truly enjoy running around with you at will in a beautiful setting than your dog. He will not only appreciate and love it when you’re being goofy and silly, but will join the party and show off with a few antics of his own.
Happy road trip!
Next Week: Top 5 Dog-Friendly Hotel Chains