Road Trip with your dog
This time of year lots of people will hit the roads to travel and see family. Don’t forget to bring Fido with you on the road. Earlier this year we traveled to Arizona on a cross country road trip and I learned a lot of tips and tricks to help make LadyBug’s trip just as enjoyable. While I’m sure most people won’t be in the car for 30+ hours there are still some things worth mentioning.
Pack a bag
Just like you, your dog needs to have their bag packed and ready too. Depending on the stay make sure you pack some food and water. I highly recommend this water bottle from Olly Dog. It comes with a built in tray so they can easily access water and you can always pour what they don’t drink back in the bottle. I even got handy enough I could give Ladybug some water while Jeremy was driving. If the trip is going to last a few hours I would also keep their food bowl out for them to access. Chances are they won’t eat but they may surprise you. I left Lady’s bowl out and she sniffed it but didn’t eat. A few hours later we hear chomping and see her eating while laying down, face in the bowl. If it is an over night stay I would also pack some toys. Just like your human kids it doesn’t have to be the whole toy box just a few key toys they really enjoy. The actual bag you store this in depends on your dog. My grandmother has a Dachshund and she uses a canvas tote that is Kody’s bag. She uses the same one every time so he knows that he is going somewhere. Since Ladybug is a little bigger we got her this bag from REI that allows her to carry everything her self. We have used it tons of times while hiking and she loves it. She thinks she is special when she wears it although sometimes she forgets that it makes her a little wider and will run into stuff. There are similar bags by RuffWear. Both allow plenty of storage and double as a harness for the dog.
Bring their bed
If you are going to be in the car for a while and especially over night bring their bed. It helps the dog feel safer giving them something familiar. It also can help them get comfy and fall asleep while in the car. Ladybug will normally lay down once we hit the highway but rarely will she sleep. On our way to Arizona and back she slept for a good chunk of time on her bed. You could also bring a blanket or pillow if you don’t have much room.
Don’t forget the leash
A great tip that I figured out on our epic road trip was to keep the leash in the door pocket and make Ladybug get in and out of the same door. Whenever we stopped for gas or needed a break to stretch out our legs I was always in charge of getting Lady in and out of the car. Keeping it in the door pocket helped me not lose it and search the back seat to find it. It also helps me block the dog from getting out and running before I’m ready. Also make sure your leash has doggie bags to pick up after them. Some public places only allow dogs to be on 6′ leashes other don’t care as long as they are on a leash. I keep my standard length one with me but sometimes Lady just needs her space so keep a retractable on hand as well. If you are traveling over night be sure to have a flashlight or head lamp so you can see. The edges of most truck stops and gas stations aren’t lit well.
If your dog is one who doesn’t do well with car rides then here is my tip for you. Try a thunder jacket, my friend uses it on her Pit Bull. Since getting older he has more trouble with storms and things scaring him easier, she said that as silly as it sounds the thunder jacket works. It helps dogs feel protected and safe which could help them feel less anxiety. If they are really nervous have someone sit with them so they can pet and clam down the dog.
A few last tips, once you are settled in and done driving be sure to give Fido a treat for being a good road buddy. For long trips walk your dog every 3-4 hours to let them do their business. You will probably be stopping at this time anyway to fill up with gas so just get it all done at one stop. Make sure they are staying hydrated, give them water every hour/ hour and a half. They may not drink right away but keep offering it to them. And last but not least if you can bare it put the window down once you are off the highway and let Fido enjoy some fresh air.