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  • How to Plan a Safe Doggie Road Trip

    Posted March 4, 2019 By in Dogs & Family With | No Comments

    Are you thinking about going on a road trip with your dog?

     

    With careful and meticulous planning, bringing your dog along is the best decision you’ll ever make!  But Fido can’t plan his own road trip. So, you’ll have to do it for him. Preparing for a safe doggie road trip should be priority numero uno. Today I’m going to show how you can do exactly that.

    Let’s call this plan “Operation Travel Mutt” and split it into three parts:

    1. Know Thy Dog
    2. Doggie Road Trip Car Safety
    3. Your Final Destination

    Now that we got these squared away, it’s time to start planning your legendary road trip!

    Know Thy Dog

    How well do you know your dog?

    If you can’t answer this question, then you better get moving and get acquainted with your pooch ASAP! As a dog parent, you should know your ward inside and out.

    • What are her tendencies?
    • Does he even like riding in the car?
    • Any motion sickness issues?
    • Anxiety?
    • Too much restless energy?
    • Is he potty trained?

    These are just some of the questions that you need to ask before taking Fido for a road trip. Not knowing could spell disaster for both of you!

    Plan A: Take Short Trips.

    If your dog gets car sick often or clearly hates being in the car, a few practice sessions are in order. Get your dog in the car and do some practice drives. You can start slow by moving the car back and forth in the driveway. Move on to taking short trips around the block.

    When your dog gets the hang of riding in the car, take short trips to fun places such as parks and beaches. The end goal should be for your dog to associate riding in the car with fun and treats. You can take longer trips progressively but plan your route to avoid traffic and have at least a few stops if you’re on the road for more than a few hours.

    Plan B: Get rid of your dog’s excess energy.

    Dogs have tons of energy which can work against your travel plans. You’ll want a calm and relaxed dog on the trip. One way to pull this off is by walking or playing with your dog before driving off. Physical activities will sap your energetic pup of any surplus energy, making sure he’s either calm and quiet or asleep during your trip!

    Plan C: Fighting Dog Boredom.

    A long road trip can become tedious, and fast! A bored dog can get up to all sorts of mischief and mayhem inside the car, from chewing the seats to distracting you! Keep Fido entertained by bringing his favorite squeaky stuffed animal or chew toy.

    Plan D: Keep Motion Sickness at bay.

    If your dog is prone to being car sick, your vet can prescribe anti-nausea medication. Rubbing some lavender oil on your dog’s shoulders and giving her a deep tissue massage can also help calm her nerves. Don’t give your dog a full meal or too much water before leaving!

    Doggie Road Trip Car Safety

    To reach your destination unscathed, you need to make your car safe for both you and your pet. Leaving your dog unbuckled and roaming free inside the car while you’re driving is a huge no!

    What can happen when Fido rides shotgun?

    • Your dog might stick her head out and get injured.
    • Fluffy might jump in your lap, causing you to lose control on the highway.
    • It only takes a split second for your dog to turn into a projectile during an accident.
    • Your dog will chew on anything inside the car when stressed out.

    Road trip safety should be your top priority. Here’s a detailed plan on how you can turn your car into a safe and secure fortress for your dog.

    Plan A: Don’t forget to buckle up.

    This goes for your dog, too! But regular car seatbelts won’t work. You need to get dog seatbelts that attach to a harness. Dog seatbelts are specially designed restraints that can keep your dog in place while in the car.

    Plan B: Dog Car Seat

    If you have a small dog, you may want to get a dog car seat instead. Dog car seats also act as booster seats so your tiny pal can see what’s going on outside the windows. The seats also come with attachments to make sure Rover and his chair stay put.

    Plan C: Dog Hammock

    If you have a larger dog breed, a dog hammock is what you need. Hammocks cover your entire back seat and create a barrier so your dog won’t be able to bother you while you’re driving. You can secure these portable dividers via tethers. Need an extra layer of security? Combine a hammock with a dog seatbelt!

    Plan D: The Crate

    The safest option is to crate your dog, especially for long trips. But crating only works if your vehicle is big enough, such as a large SUV or minivan. If you have a small dog and the crate fits your backseat or trunk (for wagons), make sure you secure the container with straps to keep it tied down.

    Try to bring your dog’s bed, blanket or favorite toys during the trip to make the spaces you made feel more like home. No sharp objects, hard toys or leashes should be in the crate with your dog. Don’t forget your doggie first aid kit!

    Your Final Destination

    Finally, you need to consider the destination.

    • The current weather status.
    • How far you’ll be traveling and how long the drive is.
    • Road advisories.
    • Is the place dog-friendly?

    By asking yourself questions and conducting research, you can craft a plan to get to your destination safely and without a hitch.

    Plan A: Choose a destination that your dog will enjoy.

    This road trip isn’t only about you. Your dog is tagging along for the ride, so make sure the location you choose is dog-friendly! The destination must have plenty of fun activities for your dog and places where she can stay without any hassles.

    Plan B: Plan your route well.

    Plan a route that has plenty of pit stops at places where your dog can walk around, play and do his business. It’s a chance for you to stretch your legs, too! Consider the age and breed of your dog. Older dogs and puppies won’t be able to hold it in as long as a 5-year-old dog. Take this opportunity to give your dog some water and a treat.

    Operation Travel Mutt is ready to hit the road.

    There you have it! Our three-part strategy on how to plan a safe doggie road trip with your fur baby. Remember, not all dogs are car lovers, and not all destinations are dog-friendly. By having a plan and sticking to it, you can ensure a safe and fun trip for you and your dog.

    What’s your doggy travel plan look like? Care to share? Please leave a comment below!

    Until next time:

    Adios, amigos!

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