I became aware of the risks when traveling long distances with a dog. Because of this awareness, I am sharing these tips and reminders with you.
Food and Water
Remove your dogs food bowl at least 2 hours before leaving. Or feed your dog a very small amount prior to departure. Dogs are prone to motion sickness. Dogs that eat immediately before jumping into the car can be more prone to vomiting. No one, not even our dogs, want to experience a tummy ache or vomiting in the car.
Some dogs may or may not eat during the trip. Willy wouldn't eat a bit of food during breaks on the way there. I couldn't convince him to eat a thing. On the way home, I had purchased some of his favorite puppy treats. I was careful not to feed him too many treats, but I felt better knowing that he was at least eating a snack during our gas and bathroom breaks. I didn't want him to be 12 hours with a completely empty stomach. Dogs can become hypoglycemic.
|Anti-spill water bowl|
Frequent BreaksPersonally, I can drive 600 miles with only 3 or 4 very quick gas and bathroom stops. With the dog, I made sure to stop a few extra times. I'm convinced that being able to get out and stretch his legs, sniff the air, go to the bathroom, and get a drink all helped Willy be a better traveling companion.
Clean Up After Your DogWilly knows the difference between a walk and a quick potty break. I have always told him "go pee-pee" when it's time to focus and take care of business. This daily training was very helpful when we were on the road. I didn't want to linger outdoors at truck stops nor did I want him outside for very long in what often appeared to be dirty places. I'd give this verbal reminder and he'd go quickly. We'd stretch our legs briefly, let him have another drink of water, and hop back into the Jeep and go.
I hadn't realized that other dog owners also teach their dogs to potty on command. In fact, the ASPCA recommends that your dog is trained to go on command prior to traveling. I am aware that some dogs do not like to potty in unfamiliar surroundings, so this command/training may be helpful.
This is a good time to give the reminder that it is a good idea to have taken your beloved pet to the veterinarian prior to the trip. Making sure your dog is in healthy condition as well as current with all of the preventative medications will help your dog avoid picking up something during the trip.
|Dog waste bags|
Let your dog stretch his/her legs frequently during the trip but walk him/her with caution. And for goodness sake, be a good pet owner and clean up after your dog. Coletta Teske does a nice job of explaining why it is healthy for our pets and important that we pick up after them.
Familiar ItemsBring familiar items to help your dog feel more secure. A towel or blanket that they sleep on, or that smells like you, will help them feel more comfortable. I didn't want to bring Willy's big crate pad that is old and torn so I provided him with a towel for a few days prior to the trip. I brought that Willy-scented towel along for him.
This towel was helpful both with giving him something familiar as well as providing cover for the seat in the event Willy got car sick. He did not. But I was prepared.
I also brought a few of his favorite toys, his brand of dog food (in case it was hard to find in the vacation locations). Toys like treat dispensers are good ways to occupy your dog once you reach your destination.
To Crate or Not To Crate?It is recommended that your dog be crated or seat belted while in the car. This is to A) keep the dog from being a distraction to the driver and B) to keep the dog from being a projectile in the event of an accident. Willy knows his spot is in the back seat and does not ride in front, and NEVER EVER rides on my lap while I'm driving. For these reasons, I haven't decided to crate or belt him in the car for most trips. But I have to say, I was concerned during stops that having him crated would have been more safe to guard against pet theft.
Pet theft has been on the rise over the years. And pet thefts from a car are one of the most frequent ways pets are stolen. Afraid of pet theft, I found myself working hard to park in front of the building windows or security cameras while running in and out of the human restroom very quickly. I know that parking like that did not prevent theft, as a smash-and-grab goes very quickly. But I felt it was better than parking behind a group of vehicles that obstructed the view of mine.
|Dog safety belt|
You know your dog, you can determine which is the best option after considering the issues of distraction, projectiles, and theft. Just remember that it is better to take that extra bit of precaution.
Stressed Dogs and Their BehaviorsFinally, remember that stressed dogs may exhibit behaviors that aren't usual for them. When in unfamiliar surroundings or people, off-schedule, or stressed about the multitude of things that occur during travel, they can become clingy, snappy, or aggressive. Dogs that don't normally suddenly run away, may suddenly jump out of the car at the gas station. They may become snappy with your relatives that are unfamiliar to them. Or they may chew things in the hotel room. Keep in mind that whether or not your dog loves to go with you in the car, they may need some extra love and supervision during the stress of a trip.
Traveling with pets makes good memories. Our pets are our extended family. As our puppy parent, it is our responsibility to make their travel as safe and comfortable as possible.
|Meanwhile, we visit Ruth and Valentino at Dog Pawsitives photo by Ruth|
Disclaimer: In affiliation with Amazon.com, Dawn Rae is a content writer who may earn compensation from the sale of Amazon products.