Sometimes you need to take a road trip for reasons other than fun and vacations. Maybe you need to pick something up or handle some business in another town. The long drive can be boring and lonely if you have no one to take with you. Staying in a motel room by yourself isn’t necessarily fun either. Bringing your dog along can help make the trip more pleasurable and less tedious. There are a few ways you can make your trip easier and more enjoyable.
Check in advance if your hotel accepts pets. There are lots of chains that welcome pets and finding a hotel that will allow your dog to stay with you can be as easy as googling it. In the United States, Red Roof Inns are clean, relatively inexpensive and welcome pets.
If your dog typically sleeps on the bed with you, bring along a sheet or blanket from your home that you can spread over the hotel bedding so you don’t leave dog hair everywhere. Always clean up after you pet immediately. One of the main reasons that many hotels don’t welcome dogs is that people fail to clean up after their pet, leaving messes on the lawn for others to clean up and offending other patrons.
If your dog is prone to barking at strange noises, do not leave him unattended in the room. If you are going to be leaving your dog in the hotel room, leave them in a crate or pet carrier to ensure that they do not chew on anything in your absence.
Consider looking up nearby parks where you can take your dog for a walk or run in the evening hours or after your business is completed.
It is safer to drive with your dog in a pet kennel or in a pet seatbelt. If you have a small car that will not hold a kennel, the seat belt is a safe option that will protect your dog in the case of an accident. Dogs, even large ones, do not have enough mass and can easily be thrown around a vehicle or through a windshield if you have to slam on your brakes or are hit by another vehicle.
Do not let your dog hang his head out the window either. Flying debris picks up force due to the speed you travel at and can easily harm eyes and ears if they strike your pet’s head. Many dogs love the wide variety of scents so crack the window enough that your dog can smell the outdoors but not poke his head out the window.
Plan on stopping every few hours to stretch both you and your dog’s legs and take a pee break. Always have your pet on leash at stops. No matter how well trained, it is possible for your dog to be startled by traffic, another person or pet, or a noise. In an unfamiliar place, bolting can easily lead to a tragic accident or a lost dog.
Obviously, your dog has to like traveling by car for this to be a successful trip. Make sure that you have identification on your pet such as a collar with tags that clearly identify how to reach you should your pet become lost. If your dog has a special needs or requires medication that too should be noted on the tags. A microchip is an excellent idea since it is unlikely to come off or be removed.
Although it can be tempting to simply share your meals with your dog, it is better to bring along some of his normal food to avoid digestive upset.
If you cannot leave your dog in the hotel room or you are traveling a long distance, you’ll want to be aware of the weather. Parked cars can easily become very hot very quickly if the weather conditions are hot and sunny. Leaving windows open is not enough to provide cool air. Under these conditions it is better to leave your dog at home. If your pet can stay in the hotel once you arrive but will be in the car for a while until you get there, make use of the air conditioning and keep your pet cool. Fans that blow on kennels to help keep the air circulating can also be helpful. Try freezing a small bucket of water before you leave and putting it in his kennel. As it thaws it will provide a continuous amount of cold water for your dog to drink. Check your pet frequently for any signs of heat stress. If you have a breed that is heat sensitive such as a pug or bulldog, it is best to skip unnecessary car trips altogether during the hotter months of the year.
Cold weather can also be a problem and should be avoided if you intend to leave your pet in the car for an extended period of time.
Benefits to Traveling with Your Dog
Having your dog along for the ride can make it less lonely both while driving and once you settle into your hotel. You are also more likely to get some exercise on your trip since you’ll need to take your pet for a walk and get him out to potty on a regular basis.
For those who typically sleep with a dog on the bed, having one with you when away can help ensure you get a good night’s sleep. A dog can also help provide a sense of security if you are traveling alone in an area where you may need to worry about your own safety.
There are lots of reasons to bring a dog along for the trip but the most important one is that dogs help reduce our stress. They provide companionship and have a proven record for helping us cope with stressful situations, lowering our blood pressure, and making us feel better both mentally and physically. Anyone with a dog knows it’s hard to find a better, more understanding friend.