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Road Trip! Tips for traveling with your dog

Barret - in the JeepIt’s officially summer and often families will hit the road and enjoy some rest & relaxation. It’s becoming more and more common place to bring your pet along. Traveling with your dog can be rewarding and fun, and many hotels and campsites are becoming pet friendly, but what about during the car ride itself?

Traveling with your pets in the car can be stress-free if you follow some easy-to-follow safety guidelines:

1. Head for a pre-trip vet check. The vet will make sure that you pet is up to date on all required vaccinations and will give you a health certificate indicating your pet is healthy. Be sure to bring this certificate with you, along with vaccination records and microchip information.

2. Exercise your dog before you get in the car. Take a quick trip to the dog park or a nice long walk around the community park to make sure your pet has had a chance to empty his bladder and bowels and is nice and calm once you get on the road.

3. Make stops often so your dog can stretch out his legs and empty his bladder. He can’t answer you when call out “anyone need to use this rest stop?” so you should probably stop.

4. Use safety restraints in the car. In some states (ones that you might be travelling through) require dog seat belts, safety restraints or Dog car seats. If you’re using a kennel or carrier, make sure that it is securely strapped to the seat in case of an accident. Also, never let your pet sit in the front seat or on your lap. In the event the airbag would deploy your pet could be seriously injured or even killed. Lastly, do not strap your dog or cat carrier to the top of your car or in a trailer. 

5. Roll up the windows. Everyone knows that dogs love to hang their heads out of car windows, but it’s actually not safe to let them do so. At high speeds any projectile (like a piece of gravel) can severely injure your dog. I’ve even had a dog who managed to open the window the rest of the way and fall out! She was lucky and only had a few cuts and bruises and was able to walk away, but sadly this isn’t normally the case.Bear

6. Check if your hotel or campsite is pet friendly before your trip to avoid any conflict when you arrive at your destination. Also make sure to review your hotel’s pet policies. Many hotels have extra charges for pets and some hotels do not allow you to leave your dog alone in the room or don’t want them to walk through the halls of the facility.

7. Make sure your pet has proper ID with a current cell phone number listed and that they are wearing their tags! If time allows, make sure your pet is microchipped (your vet’s office can do this at your travel checkup), or if you already have a microchip, make sure the information is up to date! Too many pets are not returned to loving families because microchip information is outdated or invalid.

8. Pack all the the essentials your pet will need while you’re away. Bring plenty of dog toys, dog treats, dog bones or chews, food and water (and a travel dish, too) to keep your pup well fed and occupied while you’re on vacation. You may want to consider a calming aid for dogs if your pet gets nervous in new situations too.

I hope everyone (and their pets) has a great Summer Vacation. Safe travels everyone!


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  1. avatar

    I must say Awesome one, I am also traveling this month with my pet. I am scared because it is going to be my first ever experience along with my pet. I will keep your tips in my mind during travel. I will share my experience with you as well. Thanks for the tips.

  2. avatar

    Thanks for the information – my dogs are old hands at car travel and it helps so much that I have trained them to pee when told “shi shi”. I have been reading your blog today after a Google search for mini pinscher X cocker spaniel, and I would like to know how Barret is doing since the surgery? I hope he is adusting to three legs – my brother’s rottweiler had to have his one front leg amputated and within weeks he was swimming and running around (though he tends to run in circles now). I hope all is well with you and your pack. Woof!

About hcrotsley

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Currently an owner of 3 dogs and 2 cats, I’ve gained a plethora of pet-related experience over the years. I strive to provide the best home I can for my little terrors, and you’ll read all about our trials and tribulations as I continue down the rewarding yet rocky road of pet parenthood.
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