Will your dog be your co-pilot this summer?
Here are some tips from Marianna about safe and comfortable travel for you and your dog.
- If your dog is new to the car, consider spending some time before your long journey going for short trips to fun places. This is also a good time to test out your dog’s car riding situation for the trip – Where is the best place for her to ride when the car is loaded down?*I recommend, for the safety of you and your dog, to have your dog ride in a contained space. In the event of an accident, a dog turned projectile is bad news. Dangerous for you, and your dog.*Never allow your dog to hang his head out the window at high speeds (45mph+) – serious eye and head injuries can result.*Never let your dog lean his body out the window – ever! This is incredibly dangerous at any speed – one unexpected swerve and there goes your dog!
- Plan ahead and avoid last minute packing – consider how long you will be traveling and be sure to bring enough supplies (plus a little extra). Bring twice as many poop bags as you anticipate needing – it is our responsibility to leave America’s rest stops and scenic areas pristine. Always pick up after your dog.
- Be sure your car’s Air Conditioner is in good condition before hitting the road. Have a battery operated crate fan on hand in case your Air Conditioner fails. Be prepared to provide shade if needed.
- Visit your vet sometime before your trip and be sure she is healthy, up to date on vaccines, microchipped, and properly protected from any parasites prevalent in areas you are visiting. Ask your vet about what to do if your dog becomes ill on the journey (motion sickness, diarrhea, anxiety…).
- Bring a long leash and your dog’s favorite throw toy. Look for shady areas at rest stops. Spend 3-5 minutes playing vigorously with your dog, and then 5 -10 minutes walking around, allowing your dog to eliminate and cool down (provide cool water). It will feel good for both of you to burn off some energy and stretch your legs! Be sure your dog is wearing up to date I.D. tags at all times.
- Limit food. Feed your dog half of her daily meals when on the road. Laying around all day doesn’t work up much of an appetite, and less food in her stomach will help prevent motion sickness.
- DO NOT limit water. Traveling in the heat is quite stressful on your dog’s body and he will need to stay well hydrated. Be sure your dog always has access to clean, cool water. I recommend purchasing a Buddy Bowl (spill proof dish).
- Map out pet friendly hotels or campgrounds along your route. If you have set destinations, consider making reservations a head of time. Red Roof Inn, Drury Inn and Super 8 tend to be pet friendly.
- NEVER leave your dog unattended in a car – if it’s 70⁰F or warmer outside, it is too hot to leave your dog in a car – which can reach fatal temperatures remarkably fast. If you’re traveling alone, pack enough supplies to avoid trips into stores or restaurants that would require your dog staying in the car.
- Have fun! Plan your trip’s activities to include your dog – the more you can include your dog, the better time everyone will have! Find out ahead of time where on your travels dogs are and are not allowed (**note: U.S. National Parks DO NOT allow dogs). If you cannot include your dog in your activities, it may be better to leave her at home in the trusted care of a pet sitter.