Tips for a Dog-Friendly Holiday Road Trip
With the holidays coming up, road trips are perfect for families to travel together without leaving their dogs behind. Your puppy will be thrilled to frolic alongside you in different places and sniff new scents.
To help you better prepare for an unforgettable dog-friendly road trip, below are tips to help your furry friend stay safe, happy, and healthy on the road.
Essential Items to Bring
If you plan to hit the road with your canine this holiday season, there are a few essentials you need to bring with you on the trip. Here’s what you should not leave home without.
- Your Pet’s Medical Records: Whether it’s a cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway, ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Having your pooch’s medical record on hand is vital if you run into an emergency on the road.
- Medication and Food: Pack enough medication, supplements, and food for your dog to last the duration of the trip, and bring extra in case there are unexpected delays. Be sure to feed your dog at least three hours before hitting the road to avoid any accidents in the vehicle.
- Microchip and GPS Collar: Losing your dog while on vacation can happen. To increase your chance of locating your pet, ensure your contact information is clear on your dog’s ID tag. If your pooch has not been microchipped, consider completing it before your trip. A collar or location-tracking device can be a lifesaver on the road.
- Recent Photo of Your Dog: Have current pictures of your pup on your phone in case you need to make flyers or show local shelters.
- Pet First Aid Kit: Keep a pet kit in your vehicle to treat minor cuts, remove ticks and wrap up any injuries. Add the ASPCA Pet Poison Helpline phone number 888-426-4435 to your phone in case your dog ingests a toxin.
Additional Items for Your Pet
Besides the essential items listed above, pack other things that will keep your dog happy, comfortable, and entertained. We recommend the following items for your canine:
- Bowls for food and water
- Safety harness seat belt
- Short and long leashes
- Crate or travel carrier
- Blanket or bed
- Toys and treats
- Life jacket for water activities
- Collar with ID tags
- Coat for cooler weather
- Booties for hot surfaces
- Old towels for cleaning
- Poop bags
Road Trip Safety for Your Dog
To give your dog a great experience on the road, it is essential to follow safety protocols. Follow the advice below to ensure your puppy stays safe.
- Keep Your Dog Restrained or Crated While Driving: It may be a joy to see your dog wagging his tail while enjoying the fresh air from the open window, but your pooch can be injured during a hard turn or stop. Keep your dog restrained, or put him in a travel crate. Choose a crate that’s big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. Be sure it’s attached firmly to the floor or back seat.
- Leash Rules: Remove your dog’s leash in the car, so he won’t get tangled from the collar. When letting your dog out of the vehicle, put the leash back on to prevent him from taking off.
- Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended in the Car: Temperatures inside a vehicle can increase about 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes, even with the windows cracked open.
- Maintain Safe Distance from Wildlife: When out in nature, keep your dog on a leash to prevent encounters that could cause injuries or bites, and maintain a safe distance from wildlife.