Have you started planning a summer road trip? Wondering how you can keep your pup (or pups) happy whilst on a long car ride?
In this article, we take a look at the best ways to make the trip enjoyable for everybody – human and dog alike…
(If you’re looking for inspiration, Good Housekeeping published an article on the best road trips to take with your pup!)
Preparation is key
Traveling with your puppy or dog can be a great experience and is a wonderful way to bond with your pet while experiencing new places along the way. However, if your road trip is going to be a long one – more than a couple of days, for instance – then you need to take steps to plan accordingly.
Take a look at our six suggestions for a safe, happy and enjoyable road trip for you and your pup!
1) Maintain regular food routine
The journey could be long and arduous for you and your pup, but the last thing you want is to for your dog to have an upset stomach and suffer from any resultant side effects. To avoid this, ensure your dog is fed at their regular feeding times and with their normal food. This may seem like a tough ask, but planning stops in advance can allow you to feed your dog at a rest stop or when grabbing food for yourself. As usual, snacks can be great for dogs, but make sure not to feed them anything that they shouldn’t eat , such as grapes or chocolate.
2) Ensure collar and ID tags are up-to-date
Although none of us would intentionally lose sight of our dog during a trip, it is still important to ensure their collars fit securely and their identification tags are up-to-date and contain accurate contact details. If you have to make multiple stops during your journey and are spending time at a hotel or other accommodation, attaching a piece of paper to their collar/tags with the address of the establishment is an additional precaution.
3) Keep your dog on a leash in unfamiliar environments
Always keep your dog on a leash before they leave the car – for example, at a rest stop or when you’re letting them out to run around. In an unfamiliar environment, the dog’s desire to run away may take over, which could lead to them escaping or running into danger. Keeping them on a leash, and maintaining a strong grip, ensures your dog will remain safe and by your side.
4) Ensure the ride is comfortable
During the summer, the weather can be intolerably hot for humans. Imagine how it must feel if you had a body full of fur! Dogs can struggle in extremely hot and humid conditions – make sure that your vehicle is equipped with a reliable air-conditioning system and that the dog isn’t overexposed directly to the sun for long stretches of time. Additionally, make sure your pup has regular access to water to keep them hydrated.
5) Give your dog some time to exercise
When you stop for a break during your trip, give your dog some time to exercise. Nobody likes being cooped up for any length of time – especially any pup who has bundles of energy! Just taking your dog for a short walk or run (keeping them on their leash) will help to get their blood flowing and allow them to relax for the next few hours of the ride. Take care to remember that during the summer, pavements and roads in the middle of the day can be extremely hot, reaching almost 135F – if you touch the surface and it is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.
6) Do not keep doors locked and windows rolled up
This should be common sense, but every summer, we hear horror stories of dogs left in parked cars and dying from heatstroke. Bear this in mind – if it’s 78F outside, your car can reach 100 degrees in a matter of minutes; on a 90F day, temperatures can reach 109F in the car in ten minutes. A dog can only cool itself by panting and can succumb to heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Never leave your dog in your car on a hot day with the doors locked and windows rolled up.