Many pet owners take their dogs with them everywhere they go. If you’re planning a family vacation in the near future, you may think about taking your dog along. Traveling with dogs over a long period of time requires a little more prep work than a basic trip to the store. Before you set out on your journey, check out these tips for traveling with dogs.
Get Your Dog Microchipped
This may seem overly precautionary, but it could make a huge difference if your pet happens to get lost. If your dog gets out of your backyard, he has a good chance of finding his way home. That is not the case if you’ve driven some place several hundred miles away. Even a collar with a tag on it can get lost, stolen, or damaged over time. That’s why it’s best to have a microchip in place. If your dog wanders off on accident, the microchip will contain information that the finders can use to reach you.
PRO TIP: If your dog is already microchipped, make sure the contact information is up to date. You should verify this at least once a year, or right after you move or change phone numbers.
Prepare the Appropriate Restraint for Your Dog
The type of car restraint you use will depend on your dog and how well he or she travels. Many dog breeds will sit just fine in the backseat of the car or the lap of front the passenger. If that’s the case, you may not need any restraint at all. Otherwise, invest in a car restraint designed for your size of dog, or get a pet carrier that you can bring with you. Just make sure the carrier can fit inside your car because you won’t want your dog in the bed of a truck for a long stretch of time.
Feed Your Dog the Same Food
Some people will buy a small “travel pack” of dog food to take with them on the road. Unless this is a smaller bag of the same type of food your dog is used to eating, this is not ideal. The long car ride alone will already have your dog’s stomach in knots, let alone a sudden diet change. Feed your dog with the same food and at the same time as normal to keep his digestion consistent.
If your dog is prone to car sickness, you may want to feed him or her less food than normal at the beginning of the trip. This will leave less in his or her system in the event of an “accident.” Consult with your vet about your dog’s individual needs.
Make Frequent Potty and Walking Stops
Adults can go for long stretches at a time in the car without needing to stop. Dogs are more like children. They need to be able to stretch and use the restroom every few hours. Depending on how long your trip is, you may need to prepare for multiple stops during your travel. Get out, take your dog for a short walk, let him or her go to the potty, and then get back on the road. This will make for a much more pleasant trip for you and your pet.
Call ahead for a Pet-Friendly Hotel
Not all hotels are pet-friendly. Before you reach your destination, make sure you call around to find out which hotels will allow you to have your dog with you. Make a reservation in advance because these hotels fill up fast, especially in big vacation destinations. Plan ahead for your trip, and you can have an awesome adventure with your favorite furry companion.