Traveling with your dog

Preparing to Travel with your Dog this Holiday Season

travel with your dogTraveling with your dog can be fun therefore, if you have decided to take your dog in the car to over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house this Thanksgiving, we applaud you!  Why leave him home if it’s possible to bring him along, right? However, before you hit the road you should consider some things that will help you keep him safe. 

First things first.  Does your dog even like to travel by car? Think about the last time you took your dog to the vet or to the Starbucks drive-thru.  If your dog is happy to hop in the car with you for short or long periods of time, you’re probably in good shape.  If not, the holiday season is not really the best time to toss him in the car. The last thing you want is to travel with a stressed out dog. It’s not fair to you or the rest of the family.  If your dog doesn’t like the car and you know it, don’t force the issue.  We appreciate the fact that you want your dog with you, but you’re not doing him any favors by putting him in a situation that will cause him to be unhappy.

Hop in the car, now.

In the days and weeks before your trip, take your dog in the car whenever you can.  Even dogs that love the car may become freaked out by sudden, long road trips. 

Pack your dog’s bags.

Be sure to bring all of your dog’s “stuff”. You’ll need his water and food, bowls, leashes, toys and bedding. You should also arm yourself with your dog’s emergency first aid kit and health records.  You should always prepare for the worst. Like Stephen Covey teaches, “begin with the end in mind”.

Plot your route ahead of time. 

Note stopping places for potty and meal breaks.  Keep your dog’s schedule as close to “normal” as possible.  Keep in mind his exercise and outside habits.  Make stops accordingly.  Breaks will be good for you, too. Also, book pet friendly hotels ahead of time if you are going on an extended road trip.  The last thing you want to do is risk not having accommodations that will allow your dog to stay with you.

Bring someone with you.

Leaving your dog alone at any point of the trip is not advisable.  Anything can happen.  Your dog may get stressed out and try to hop out of the car or even worse, someone might try to take him from the car.  Having someone with you will alleviate the worry of what you will need to do with your dog if you need to stop at a restaurant of run into the bathroom.  If you can’t bring someone with you, plan for fast food meals or bring food with you.  If you need to run into the bathroom, be sure to lock your car doors and of course, leave the windows open only wide enough for your dog to get fresh air while you’re inside.

Preparing for your trip will almost guarantee a safe and peaceful trip for everyone involved.  Spontaneous trips aren’t always the best option when pets are involved so try not to do that if at all possible.  Remember, when in doubt, leave your dog with your pet sitter.  You’ll be glad you did.

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