We hike with our dogs, we play with our dogs, we want to spend all day with our dogs and working from home during COVID has certainly helped us bond more effectively with our dogs. So why don’t we take Fido on a road trip with us! However, travelling can be highly stressful for both us and our furry family but with thoughtful preparation we can ensure the trip is safe, comfortable and maybe even fun!
What Do You Need?
Traveling with our pup requires rather more thought than just loading Fido into the back of our car and taking off, especially if we are going to be driving long distances or we are going to be away for a long time. The ASPCA has some awesome travel tips that we recommend that you read:
However we would like to suggest some travel tips that are not usually mentioned:
Our pup, Jackson, is used to travelling short to medium distances in the car to go for a hike or day trip to the coast, however those longer trips sometimes cause a little anxiety, so when I notice him getting a little ‘edgy’ we stop the car at a rest stop or picnic site and let him stretch his legs, always on a leash of course. Jackson also enjoys having a good sniff and insists on leaving his calling card (she-she) in several places so that other hounds can know that he has travelled this way. After-all, you never know, one of his pack may be passing this way and will enjoy knowing Jacks has been there too – it will give them something to discuss next time they are at the Canine Country Club (day care) or the Dog Park!
Always Carry Plenty of Fresh Water
We always carry plenty of fresh water on our trips, and I prefer to carry it in beer growlers because they are glass or metal. If you don’t have either of these plastic is fine. We offer him water we have brought from home, while travelling, to ensure Jackson doesn’t get a jippy tummy because he finds the water disagreeable!
Kibble and Dog Treats
I always ensure I have plenty of kibble and his favorite K9CRACK dog treats: Plenty of food because we will be taking longer hikes than usual so he will be burning more calories. The K9CRACK I carry in my pocket for training/distraction/or any other reason I may need his attention on me. I never realized what a great idea this was until I had it and used it. Other people in our party thought he was a well trained pup (well, he is, most of the time), both Jacks and I knew it was bribery, but it ensured we were eagerly invited on all the outings rather than endured!
Eating out can be a challenge especially because Jackson is spoiled. Yes he does get to clean my plate – ouch, that hurt to have to admit that I am not the perfect role model for training dogs! However, he doesn’t expect to lick my plate when we go out. He knows the rules – did I redeem myself?
The Dog Bed
Sometimes we take his bed if we are going on a longer trip or just staying in one dog friendly hotel. However I have found that he is usually so pooped after a fun day in the fresh air he usually sleeps on the carpet under the table. Ahem, until about 4am then he jumps onto the bed to snuggle and cuddle!
Every evening our dude gets his Bong Kong (a ball with some treats stuffed inside). This is part of his evening routine and heavens to Betsy if I forget it. Warning: don’t forget your pups favorite ritual when you are away because he sure as heck won’t!
A Collar with Contact Information
This one is important and should really be No.1, however that’s no fun. Jackson has a collar with both mine, and my husband’s cell phone numbers on in case he gets lost, he is also microchipped (Jackson, not my husband, although maybe he should be too!). In the event that my little dude gets loose someone will be able to contact us, or take him to a vet to get scanned so our vet can contact us. Jackson also wears his rabies tag (it’s the responsible thing to do so that anyone that handles him knows he is inoculated).
I found a loose dog once, with no tag but a rabies tag, I was able to contact the vet who contacted the owner to pick up the dog!
Don't Take Treats from Strangers
I don’t let ‘strangers’ give our dudie boy treats, unless it is K9CRACK. I know, I’m a treat snob, I have been called worse things! However, my bestie’s pup got very sick because someone gave her girl something that disagreed with her tummy. They had an awful trip home!
Be Sure You Really Want to Take your Dog With You
Finally, please be sure that you really want to have a vacation with your furry kid. I say this because I, personally, like to have some chill time to read a book with a glass of wine before dinner, however when we are away our dude’s attention is always on me, because we are away from his familiar environment. This can be exhausting (for me) but it is understandable, and I’m sure the more we take him on vacation with us the less needy he will be.
Taking our pup on a short vacation with us was a great bonding experience and lots of fun because we love hanging out together. We are avid hikers, and he is a social butterfly with other dogs, so he had a ball. He also got to spend the entire time with us, our friends and their pup, which he loved. We are now looking forward to our hikes in the snow, bring it on!
Please let me know about your road trips with your dog and any do’s and don’ts you can suggest. We are all ears and nose.