A road trip with your dog can be an enjoyable experience or a stressful situation, depending on how you prepare for the trip. Aside from the essentials that you need to pack up, you also have to plan everything for the comfort and safety of your animal companion. To ensure a smooth trip, here are some of the most important steps you need to take beforehand.
Visit the Vet
The first step is to visit your vet. This is crucial to ensure that your dog is healthy and ready to take on a long trip. If you regularly bring your dog to the vet for checkups, this may be one of those casual visits that affirm your pet’s health. But if not, or if your dog has existing conditions that can be affected by the upcoming trip, you should definitely talk about it with your vet before taking your pet on your trip. Your dog’s medicine should be stocked for the entire trip and even have extras for when your schedule to go back home gets delayed.
It is also important to make sure that your dog is fully vaccinated and up to date because it is vulnerable to diseases outside of your home. Anti-rabies should also be checked as you will be exposing your dog to more people. Ask for a copy of the medical records for emergency purposes.
If your dog doesn’t have a microchip, you should also consider getting it. This will help you in an unwanted case of your dog getting lost in an unfamiliar area away from home. The microchip acts as a permanent ID that cannot be lost or altered. But your dog should also have a collar or tag that has its name, your number, and your address for quick identification aside from the microchip.
Train Your Dog
You should train your dog before going on the trip. Apart from the dog boarding and training to get your dog to behave properly at home, you also have to train and condition it for the car ride. Some dogs get anxious or carsick, so you should also consider this before forcing your dog to travel. You should do test drives with your dog, along with the equipment you will be using like dog seat belts, carriers, and car slings, to make sure that it will be fine during the ride.
Potty training is also necessary for your trip because you definitely don’t want potty accidents inside your vehicle. Teaching your pet to go potty on command will save you the hassle of cleaning after its unwanted mess.
Plan the Route
Planning the route and schedule of your trip should be the next step. The route that you will be taking should include places for stopovers. As much as you need to stretch after sitting too long inside your car, your dog also needs to be able to play and run around a little to keep it comfortable during the trip. You should let your dog re-energize every two or three hours, stopping for some food, water, and exercise, preferably in a spacious area separated from the road. Your route should also have an accessible veterinary clinic in case of emergencies. Once you are at your destination, a designated dog sitter that you contacted earlier should be ready for your pet if you plan on leaving it unattended for some time.
Bring the Essentials
Lastly, you should pack all the pet necessities for the trip. You have to bring enough food and water for your dog, as well as the bowls that it will eat and drink from. You should also bring its toys to keep it happy and prevent it from getting anxious while on the road. Blankets and pillows can help to comfort your pet if it still gets distressed in your car. Look at weather forecasts for the entire period of your trip to prepare for its needs if the weather goes sour. Don’t forget to bring your pet’s medicine if it has any and the equipment that you use for cleaning up after it. All of these should be within reach when stored in your vehicle and should be kept separate from all your other personal luggage for easy access. A dog carrier should also be with you for detaining your dog if a situation calls for it.
Getting ready for this road trip can be time-consuming, but it will save you a lot of hassle while driving to your destination. Your dog’s comfort should be one of your priorities, as it will keep it happy for the entire trip. Having fully prepared for the adventure, you will definitely be having a good bonding time with your animal companion.