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Phone, wallet, keys, reservations, gas in the tank, best furry friend – check. That’s right, you and your dog are hitting the road. You’ve got your hotel reservations, an itinerary and snacks packed for you, but what about for your pooch? Don’t forget to pack the essentials and then some for your pup. Here’s a guide to help you pack for your road trip with your best dog friend in mind.
Pack up food and water for your dog, and make sure you’ve measured out enough kibble or brought along enough wet food for the entire trip. A few snacks here and there are good fun – it’s a road trip after all – but keep your dog to their regular diet to help prevent any upset stomach issues. Stop regularly to give your dog some wate, toor. You can bring a specially designed bowl for water on the go, or just pack up their regular food and water bowls and toss them in the trunk.
Easy to remember, even easier to forget during a harried last-minute packing job. You don’t want to be caught without poop bags for roadside stops or have to run to the pet store once you’ve arrived at your destination
ven if you’re used to letting your dog off leash, be careful during rest stop breaks. Be much better safe than sorry and use your dog’s collar and leash during roadside breaks and in a new location. There are so many new smells to be had and terrain to explore – keep your dog on leash to avoid any problems. It’s also important to make sure your dog has their tags on with your name and phone number in case of emergency. A hands free dog leash makes it easy to walk your dog in the airport and still have you hands free for luggage and travel documents.
Make the back seat of the car and the floor of any hotel room feel like home by bringing your dog’s bed with you on the road. They’ll be happy to smell the familiar, and it will help give your dog the structure they need so they don’t make a home out of your friend’s furniture or on your crisp new hotel sheets (unless you want them up there, of course). It’s also especially important to bring along your dog’s bed if they have arthritis or experience any joint or hip discomfort.
Be prepared and bring along your dog’s vaccination records. This is especially important if you’re crossing any international borders on your trip, but whether you’re in the next state over or thousands of miles from home, bring along your dog’s paperwork in case of an emergency. You may also need to present these records along to board your pup in any new kennel.
Whether you want to buy a first aid kit or put one together yourself, be prepared for bumps, bruises and scratches that happen along the road. A first aid kit may come in handy, especially if you’re headed on a camping trip or other outdoor adventure. Make sure you have tweezers to remove ticks or splinters, eye wash, gauze bandages, tape, antiseptic wipes, scissors and stypic powder to stop toenail bleeding.
Does your dog get anxious around new people, places or when they’re cooped up for long periods of time? You probably know how to soothe your dog by now – calming voice, a nice squeeze and cuddle time are always good – but sometimes they need a little more help, just like humans.
Shedding season or any season – if your dog is spending hours in your car, they’re going to get fur on the seats. It certainly won’t bother them, but if it bothers you, bring along seat covers for the car and blankets for them to rest on. They’ll be happy to get to nesting, turning the blankets over in their personal spot to make their new nest just right. That is, when they’re not riding shotgun or on the alert looking out the window. Eventually, though, naptime is inevitable. Make them cozy and keep your car clean with seat covers and some blankets. The blankets will come in handy when you arrive at your destination, as well, especially if you’re a guest in someone’s home and are trying not to get fur everywhere.
Did you know some seats require dogs to be secured in cars? Check out local laws to see whether you’ll need to get your dog their own seatbelt. It’s not a bad idea either way.
What list would be complete without toys and treats? Some dogs act out in a new place – so many smells! Prepare to reward them for good behavior with some treats when they come to your side when you call for them, or just to encourage them to relax in the car with something delicious. Don’t forget the toys, either – it’s easy to get bored in the backseat, and dogs aren’t quite up for playing the license plate game to pass the time. Bring along their favorite chew toy for these occasions, as well as to work out some nerves or energy when they’re in a new place.
Okay, you can’t pack this one, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Your dog has no idea what’s going on, doesn’t know where they’re going or that they’re on their way to see friends. They also may not be used to going hours without being able to go outside or stretching their legs, or may be earnest to mark their territory. This can result in some accidents, maybe some more barking than usual or a general “What is happening, human?” sense of confusion. Be sure to be patient with your pup, patient with yourself and patient with the process of bringing your dog along for the ride. With toys, treats, safety measures in place and a good sense of fun, you’ll be ready for an adventure, and so will your pup.