When vacationing, many households happily bring their dogs as they’re considered part of the family. In fact, a whopping 53% of travelers have their pets alongside them, causing a higher demand for pet-friendly accommodation.
However, despite your dog’s ability to lift people’s spirits, they can be a handful as a traveling companion. Many pets adore traveling, but long journeys with a lack of preparation can cause a great deal of anxiety and stress. Your pet’s preferences also have to be observed beforehand. While some dogs love car trips, others dread the experience due to motion sickness or feeling claustrophobic inside your vehicle.
If you have immediate travel plans with your pet, catering to their needs is a worthwhile investment for both parties. Below are our best dog preparation tips for your next journey:
Ensure Your Pet is Restrained But Comfortable
Many dogs are naturally energetic, and without exercise, will fidget to expend their in-built energy. Dogs who become overly stimulated during car rides will often hop around inside, unable to contain their excitement. As a driver, it’s your responsibility to focus on the road instead of calming down your dog. To prevent potential accidents, place your dog in a crate or carrier, strapping them in with a seatbelt.
While your dog rests in its new environment, it shouldn’t be restrained too tightly as trapping your dog can cause fear and panic. To provide a lax yet secured carrier, use one adequately sized for your dog’s needs.
If using a dog guard instead of a carrier, place a blanket or bed for them to lay on. The guard should be securely fitted, preventing potential breakage if your dog lays against it.
Teach Your Dog To Enjoy Car Rides
If your dog is unaccustomed to car rides, it may experience motion sickness or suffer anxiety attacks. By driving shorter distances to begin with, your dog will gradually adapt to longer trips. Driving sessions can be as short as riding down your driveway.
Dogs should also receive positive reinforcement when they’re accompanying you. Reinforcement techniques include praising your dog in a high-pitched cheerful tone or feeding them their favorite treat. Applying these methods will slowly dissipate your pooch’s fears, making longer driving journeys more manageable.
Prepare a Pet Traveling Kit
When preparing for a long journey that’ll lead to an overnight stay away from home, pack a travel bag with your pet’s essential belongings. Kit items should include freshwater, food, a first-aid kit, medicine, bowls, and your dog’s favorite toys. You’ll also need cleaning supplies like a pet waste scooper and disposable dog diapers.
For hotel guests, researching pet policies in advance eliminates the risk of you being turned away. Some establishments, for example, only allow certain animal types and require vaccination proof.
If your dog has trouble behaving, you’ll also need to resolve their bad behavior before seeking shelter for the night. Many pet owners have behavioral coverage from their pet insurance companies, ensuring their dogs learn from professionals. If you lack funds for behavioral training or pet treatment, check out Bivvy’s FAQ page to understand more about the benefits of pet insurance.
Plan Breaks During Your Trip
While you’re going to need a break eventually to stretch your legs, planning them ensures stopping at the right places. As drowsiness typically arises during long trips, forcing yourself to stop at a busy highway can be prevented through intelligent route planning. During route planning, mark any potential spots you can stop by.
In addition to planned breaks, it can be beneficial to check weather reports before traveling to your destination. Extreme weather conditions can compromise a person’s driving ability, as it’s harder to see the road. If your travels involve driving through heavy snow or fog, it’s best to know and prepare adequately beforehand.
Never Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car
Under no circumstance should you leave your dog in the car. Even vehicles with open windows can become scorching hot, causing many dogs to experience a heatstroke. The same goes for cold temperatures, as your vehicle can quickly freeze and devastate your pup.
If you have no other choice but to leave your dog unattended, go no longer than five minutes. Ways to mitigate higher temperatures is to park in a shaded spot with your windows open.
Ensure Your Dog is Microchipped
Dog’s love to run around, especially if boredom strikes. However, leaving them without supervision typically results in lost pets. Microchipping your dog ensures they’re successfully identified when they are found. And in case you’re worried about procedure safety, microchip insertion is painless and only takes a few seconds to get done.
Pet’s should also have collars with their personal information, like name, address, and cell phone number. If you’re not returning home anytime soon, use a temporary tag with your destination’s details, i.e., the name of your next hotel stay.