Taking a Holiday Road Trip with Your Dog
Many families will be traveling by car to visit relatives this holiday season and, in addition to parents and children, passengers will include their ever-loyal companion, Fido. If you plan to take your family dog on your holiday road trip, you will need to prepare and have the proper items to ensure it will be a fun adventure and enjoyable road trip for all.
Here is a checklist of items you will need for a pet-friendly road trip:
- Dog car seat or harness
- Car seat cover to keep your car seats clean
- Leash, preferably one with a body harness
- Food, water and treats to reward their positive behavior during the trip
- Water and food dishes
- Pet bed or sleeping pad so your dog will have their own dedicated space in the car
- Durable toys that will keep your canine occupied and provide mental stimulation
- Pet waste bags to pick up after your pet
- Vet recommended medications in case your dog gets car sick or anxious
- Bring up-to-date dog tag and a copy of your dog’s vaccination record
- Portable vacuum for quick clean up, and a towel to dry your pet in case they get wet or to remove dirt from their paws or body
- Collapsible crate for your dog’s overnight stay
Follow these car safety tips:
- Dogs can be excitable when traveling my car, so make sure to place your dog in a pet car seat or harness, so they don’t distract your driving and can be safely secured in case of an accident.
- Dogs, like their masters, need to get out for bathroom breaks and to stretch their legs, so stop every two hours in an area where they can safely relieve themselves and release their energy. There are rest stops, service station grounds and parks where dogs are allowed to walk around. Wherever your stop, always keep your pet on a leash. You can also check this list of dog-friendly parks in the U.S. and Canada.
- Never leave your dog alone in the car for a great length of time. In many states it is illegal to leave an animal alone in a motor vehicle under conditions that could endanger the animal’s health or well-being.
- If part of your road trip means an overnight stay, plan this before your trip. Check hotels that accommodate dogs, including their breed regulations and fees. Most hotels limit the size of dog to 50 to 75 pounds.
These tips will help make your holiday road trip fun for your pet and the whole family. Your dog will enjoy the ride and you will have the peace of mind having your loyal companion with you rather than in a boarding service.
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