Smart Tips for Dog-Friendly Road Trips
Summer’s almost over but road trips can happen all year long, especially when you live in Florida. Before heading down the highway with your dog in tow, consider these smart tips for dog-friendly road trips. Good planning makes all the difference.
Before the trip:
- Update your dog’s ID with your current contact information. We recommend a microchip, so be sure the microchip company has your latest contact information. Consider adding a temporary tag with your cell phone number and destination address.
- Be sure all vaccinations are up to date, and if not, schedule a visit with your vet. Pack a copy of your medical and vaccination records and extra medications.
- Book pet-friendly accommodations.
- Help your dog become accustomed to car rides by taking a series of shorter rides ahead of time.
- Pack your dog’s food, bowl, water, leash, “busy” bags (poop bags), brush, shampoo, towel, pet first-aid kit, favorite toy, a familiar pillow or blanket, and cleaning supplies in case of accidents.
- Bring a photo of your pet, just in case your dog goes missing and you need to make a sign. A photo stored on your smart phone can be sent to a local drug-store photo counter for printing.
- Plan your route to include plenty of exercise breaks and watch the weather. Avoid storms when possible.
- Headed to a wedding, amusement park, or other event where your dog is not welcome? Plan ahead for professional pet care at your destination if your trip includes leaving your dog behind.
Departure day and on the road:
- Feed your dog several hours ahead of departure, and not while you’re riding in the car. Many dogs experience motion sickness.
- Exercise your dog well before departure so he’ll rest well in the car.
- Restrain your dog in the car using a pet seatbelt, a special harness attached to a seat buckle, a crate, or a well-ventilated carrier.
- To avoid potential injury, don’t let your dog hang his head out of the window.
- Never—ever—leave your dog alone in the car, winter or summer. Your car can quickly become overheated or hyper-cooled, which can be deadly to your dog.
- Keep your dog’s eating and exercise routine when possible.
- Have fun!