Tips for Car Travel with Dogs
Tips for Car Travel with Dogs
Car travel with a dog is likely a foregone conclusion if you count yourself among the roughly 60 percent of Americans who view the family dog as a bona fide family member. Anticipating his travel needs and thoughtfully preparing for them can help divert problems on a road trip with your dog before they happen. We’re here to help with handy tips for traveling by car with your beloved canine, brimful of advice for the most dogged road warrior and the novice alike. We want to help make traveling with your dog a smooth sailing success.
I. Properly Identify Your Dog for Travel
Your dog needs proper I.D. at home and when he travels with you. Redundant systems are a good thing: put critical information on his I.D. tags and personalize his dog collar with his name and your cell phone number. And microchipping your dog is always an excellent backup strategy. The idea that he’d bolt at a rest area (or at the beach or on a forested trail) is unthinkable. Best to be prepared: identifying your pet improves the likelihood of his safe return home to you should the unthinkable happen.
Quick Tip: Travel with Your Dog’s Photo
Always travel with a photo of your dog in case you need to make posters or fliers. And bring a copy of his vaccination records and a certificate of health if you’re crossing state lines with him; consult your veterinarian for these documents.
II. Bring Essential Dog Gear for Car Travel
Quick Tip: Freeze Your Dog’s Water for Car Travel
If you’re traveling in the heat, freeze his water ahead of the trip so it’s cool when he needs it. And if he’s reluctant to drink on the road (some dogs refuse), hydrate him liberally the day before you go. Encourage his thirst with peanut butter treats.
III. Keep Your Dog Comfortable While Traveling
IV. Choose and Use a Dog Restraint in the Car
The car harness is far and away the best dog restraint system to use when you travel with your dog; it works with the car’s seatbelt system, using a tether that loops around the belt on one end and clips to the dog harness on the other. Your dog retains the freedom to move around some, but stays secured to the seat.
Whichever restraint method you choose, never place your dog in the front seat or allow him to stand on the console between the driver and front passenger seats: a dog can be hurt or killed by an airbag, or thrown through a car’s windshield as easily as an unrestrained human.
V. Keep Your Dog and Your Car Clean During Travel
Start with a stem-to-stern detailing before you go. Then use these strategies to maintain your car’s interior and keep your dog clean while you’re traveling:
Quick Tip: Pack Cleaning Supplies for Dog Messes
Include rubber gloves, paper towels, multi-purpose cleaner, and garbage bags. Old towels are a good idea, too, and come in handy for all kinds of uses you may not have anticipated.
Road tripping with your dog or dogs can be challenging but need not be hellish. He wants to go with you and probably made this known the instant you pulled out the suitcases. Make the car trip safe and comfortable for your dog and for yourself and other passengers with preparedness and patience. Expect the unexpected: invoke the “ounce of prevention” wisdom and keep it in play during the trip. And the more often you bring him with you, the more seasoned you’ll both become at car travel together. Above all, enjoy the journey.
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