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8 Tips for Taking Your Dog on a Road Trip

Close shoot of a dog and bags and other luggage in the trunk of the car on the back yard ready to go for vacation

Taking Your Dog on a Road Trip

Are you planning an upcoming road trip to an exciting destination? One thing that could make your travels even more fun is if you take your beloved furry companion along for the ride! To make sure you and Fido both enjoy an adventure of a lifetime, follow these eight tips for taking your dog on a road trip.

Conduct Test Drives

The first step is to find out if your dog can handle long drives. Start with short jaunts around town. If the animal is anxious, stressed, or nauseated in the car, you may want to rethink taking your dog on a road trip.

Book Your Stay at Dog-Friendly Locations

Whether you’re planning to camp at KOAs, stay with friends, or book hotel rooms, do your research ahead of time to make sure the places you want to stay at are dog-friendly. The restaurants, activities, and events you plan on attending must also allow pets. Use Bringfido.com and Dogfriendly.com as resources when taking your dog on a road trip.

Pack Your Pet’s Essentials

In addition to packing your own suitcase, you also need to prep your dog’s travel bag. Be sure to bring the following:

  • Food and water dishes
  • Your dog’s regular food and treats
  • Medications
  • Your dog’s favorite toys
  • Plastic bags to clean up after your pet
  • A collar, leash, and up-to-date ID tags
  • Medical records and vaccine information
  • Grooming supplies
  • Kennel
  • Dog bed or blanket

Bring a Doggie First Aid Kit

In addition to the typical essentials, you should also pack first aid supplies in case your dog is injured on the road. To help you know how to handle a pet emergency, download a pet first aid app as well, such as the one from the American Red Cross. Your pet first aid kit should include:

  • Gauze pads
  • Tweezers
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Vet wraps
  • Non-adhesive sterile pads
  • Muzzle and leash
  • Towel
  • Thermal blanket
  • Styptic powder
  • Small flashlight
  • Your vet’s phone number
  • Contact information for emergency vet clinics along your route

Restrain Your Dog Properly

To ensure your pup’s safety, and to prevent him from becoming a dangerous distraction, don’t allow him to sit in the front seat. Then, decide how you prefer to restrain your dog in the car. Your options include using a harness, installing a dog gate, or having your pet ride in a kennel.

In addition to using the proper restraint, don’t let your dog stick his head out the window while you drive down the freeway because this could harm the animal’s ears and eyes.

Prevent Car Sickness

Some dogs are prone to motion sickness, which could prove problematic when taking your dog on a road trip. To keep the animal from feeling nauseated, try these tips:

  • Feed your dog a light meal three to four hours before departure.
  • Stick with a harness restraint to keep your dog facing forward.
  • Roll down the windows a few inches to equalize the interior and exterior air pressure.
  • Run the air conditioner to keep the vehicle cool.

Pack a Photo of Your Pup

Whether you have a printed snapshot or a recent photo in your camera roll, the ability to show people a picture of your dog could prove valuable if he goes missing on your travels.

Microchip Your Pet Before the Trip

Microchipping is a procedure most vets perform to provide pets with a permanent form of identification. If you and your pup get separated, a microchip can reunite you. Animal shelters and police stations have microchip scanners on hand to read the tiny chip embedded between your dog’s shoulder blades. A quick search on the microchip database tells the person who found your dog how to contact you.

Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

The final step is to make sure your car is safe, tuned up, and ready for a road trip with your dog. Visit Scott’s Fort Collins Auto for the vehicle maintenance and repair you need before hitting the road. To schedule your appointment, please contact us online or call (970) 682-4202 today.

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