Taking your dog on a road trip can be a fun and fulfilling activity. It gives you a chance to get away from the repetitiveness of daily life while bonding with your pet in unfamiliar and exciting places. That said, going on a road trip with your dog is not as easy as you might think. As a pet owner, there are a bunch of things you can do to make sure you and your best friend have a grand time on the road.
Spontaneous road trips with friends might be fun, but with your dog, it's a different story. A good amount of planning goes a long way when you're driving for hours on end with your furry pal.
When you're figuring out where to go, try to consider what your pet likes. Does your dog like challenging hikes up tall mountains? Or are they absolutely in love with the beach? Or maybe they're a bit older and would enjoy a walk in a park that's a bit different from their usual spot. If you're not sure or it's your first time, pick one place and go from there. You'll find out what you both like soon enough.
Before you go
You should also plan for carsickness, especially if you've never taken your dog on extended car rides before. Avoid feeding your pup for about 12 hours before the trip, and bring a dog carrier for emergencies. Ask your vet if they can recommend any remedies or medication for motion sickness. If your dog tends to get anxious in unfamiliar places, you could ask about that as well. It could be wise to also take a car that you're dog is comfortable with, not to mention with enough space like in the case of an SUV or MPV.
Bring plenty of water and snacks to share, and help your dog to a comfortable spot inside the car. Bringing a toy or two wouldn't hurt either. As always, check your vehicle thoroughly before hitting the road. Make sure you've filled up on gas and see if the tire pressure is correct. Check your fluid levels and battery charge and top up if necessary. Once that's done, you're clear to go.
On the road
During the trip, tune in with your dog periodically to keep up with how they're feeling. Don't forget to make time for bathroom breaks as well. If the dog is more passive or restless than usual, yawning, drooling, whining, or otherwise behaving strangely, it may be carsick. Should this happen, take them to the nearest rest stop and pause for a while. Administer any remedies that have been vet-approved before the trip. Whatever you do, though, don't leave your dog inside a hot car.
When you reach your destination, take things slowly. Let your dog absorb the new environment. They may want to explore all the sights, but don't let them get too far. To be safe, keep your dog on a leash unless trained to go without one. If your pet makes a mess, be nice and pick up after them. You should also be aware of other dogs and animals that might be in the area. You don't want any avoidable incidents spoiling your trip.
Watch your dog's energy level and adjust accordingly. Start heading back if you notice the dog getting tired or sleepy. Let your pet doze off in the car for the quiet ride home.
After a long trip, your dog could be extra tired and might sleep more than usual. Let your pet rest for a while. Before long, we're sure that it will be up and about and begging for another road trip in no time.
Once you have more experience, you can plan different activities in new destinations. You could even take other people and their pets with you. The possibilities are as vast as the open road for you and your best friend.