Embarking on a cross-country road trip with your dog can be an exciting time for you both as you explore new territory. However, keep in mind that a trip of this magnitude will require some preparation on your part to ensure the safest journey for you and your pet. From keeping your pet safe from the threat of wildlife and critters to ensuring your pet is comfortable during such a long trip, you may have many concerns to address before heading towards your destinations. Here are our top 7 tips on how to safely travel cross-country with your beloved pooch.
#1 Schedule a Visit to the Vet
Prior to hitting the road, make sure you schedule a visit to your veterinarian to make sure your pet is in good health. Confirm they are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations and also discuss any special concerns you may have for your pet such as treatments for road sickness or nausea. Also, be sure to refill any important prescriptions your pet may be taking. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet if you have not done so already. A microchip implant can give you peace of mind if your pet were to become separated from you.
#2 Map Out Your Trip
Having a dog as a passenger will also require that you map out your trip well in advance so that you know where all of the pet-friendly amenities are located. Search for pet-friendly hotels, rest stops, and camping grounds. Do keep in mind that some places may not allow certain breeds. Therefore, plan your road based on which locations will accept your pet with loving arms. As an added precaution, also map out the locations of nearby pet stores, emergency veterinarians and even pet sitters to ensure your pet has all the care they need for the duration of your trip.
#3 Designate Your Dog’s Space
Next, be sure to make plenty of room for your pet inside your vehicle., designating a space entirely to them. This could include safely tethering your dog with a harness to the passenger seat or even crating them during the drive. You may also want to consider purchasing a gate that separates the front of the car from the back of the vehicle. This can safeguard against distractions from a wondering pet who wants your attention while you’re driving. Keeping your pet safely restrained in such a manner lessens distractions and it adds protection in the event of a collision
#4 Pack Luggage for Your Dog
Pack your pet’s own luggage to include: food and water bowls, extra leashes and collars, their bed, doggy bags and plenty of snacks! Do not forget their favorite toys or blankets as the familiar smells will make them feel right at home while they’re on the road with you. Similarly, be sure to prepare for extreme weather by packing pack the right gear and outwear for them such as raincoats and sweaters.
# 5 Remember the Essentials
Don’t forget the bare essentials when packing for your pet as well. This will include ensuring your pet has access to plenty of ventilation, shade and fresh water while inside the vehicle. It is a good idea to have extra water and food bowls in the car. Not only will it make your pet comfortable, but it can also lessen the likelihood that a concerned passerby will assume that your pet has been abandoned in the vehicle if you have to step away. Also, never leave your pet alone in the vehicle during extreme temperatures and be sure to have a first aid kit handy in the event of an emergency.
#6 Stick to Your Normal Routine
During the trip it is also important to adhere as closely as possible to your pet’s normal routine. This will include feeding them at their normally scheduled times as well as taking them on walks. This will lessen the likelihood of unexpected behaviors due to a confusing change in routine. It may also be helpful to take even more frequent breaks so that your pet can stretch his or her legs and enjoy the scenery.
#7 Remember Positive Reinforcements
Lastly, keep your pet’s treats nearby and reward them often for a job well done. This can include giving them healthy treats and snacks for being a good boy or girl as they listen to your commands to sit, come or stay. Rewarding your dog’s good behavior and letting them know their efforts are appreciated can make the trip all more enjoyable for you both!
So, if you’re hitting the road with your dog for a cross-country adventure, consider any of these helpful tips to get you started. Not only will these ideas help you prepare in advance, but they will ensure your pet has the most memorable experience as they accompany you on the trip of a lifetime.
Written by contributing author Amber Kingsley