Road trips with the family can create lifelong memories that you’ll always cherish. Being on the open road with a great playlist, some fun road games, and a handful of interesting roadside pit stops is a great way to spend some family time. But for many households, a dog is just as much a part of the family, and you’ll want to share those memories with them, too.
Road tripping with a dog does require some advance planning, and may take a little extra time to get from Point A to Point B, but it’s more than possible with the right preparation. Here are five simple tips for taking your dog along on your next road trip journey.
Give Them Some Entertainment
Dogs can start to become pretty disruptive if they’re left unstimulated for too long. Bring along some of their favorite toys. You might even want to invest in something new, which will get them excited for the journey and feeling happy. A chew toy keeps them busy and prevents them from the desire to chew on something in the car, like their seatbelt. You should also consider tug toys and frisbees to play with at rest stops. This will keep them active and wear them out physically—making it easier to continue on your trip.
Plan a Route That’s Pet Friendly
It’s important to map out your travel route in a manner that accommodates your dog. Although the majority of major rest stops do so, you might need to take extra precaution when traveling for long distances in mobile homes campervans. For example, call campgrounds ahead of time and double check that hotels you plan on staying at overnight are dog-friendly. Be sure to use travel planning apps like TripIt to map out everywhere where you’d like to stop and stay. A detailed itinerary helps keep things running smoothly.
When planning your route, you should also be careful to pack all their essentials from home, which are not only necessary, but can help make your dog feel more comfortable during long journeys. This includes water bowls, regular foods, snacks, collars and leashes, toys, and any necessary medications.
One of the biggest safety precautions you’ll need to pay attention to is keeping your dog still in the vehicle. It may be tempting to let your dog roam freely when you’re on the open road, but this could seriously hurt them in the event of an accident. According to Consumer Reports, a dog that weighs 60 lbs. and is traveling at just 35 miles per hour could result in 2,700 lbs. of projectile in an accident. Because of this, they should always be restrained with a pet seat belt, or inside a kennel when the vehicle is in motion. Furthermore, in addition to bringing any meditation along, you should also carry a copy of their medical records and a physical photo of your dog—just in case it ventures off and you need to show people nearby what your dog looks like.
Don’t Ignore Their Nerves
It’s not uncommon for dogs to experience bouts of stress on the road. First and foremost, you can take short trips in advance to ease your dog into a long journey. This is especially useful if your dog doesn’t ride in the car often. This will give you some serious insight into how your dog will react, and you’ll know early on whether they’re scared of riding.
To be on the safe side, you should take your dog to see the veterinarian before you leave. They’ll help you determine how to best proceed with your dog in mind. You should also consider CBD treats from companies like CannaBiDog, which offers oral CBD oils for different breeds of dogs to help ease anxiety and stress.
Although cannabidiol derives from marijuana, it’s a non-intoxicating form that’s pulled from hemp. This means that your pet can reap the benefits of this plant—whose numerous health benefits have been proven via multiple studies—without the feeling of being “high.” It’s also important to note that dogs already have natural cannabinoids called anandamide, and CBD treats work to help strengthen those existing receptors.
Dogs can become quite irritable from being in one spot for too long. Take frequent breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs and get a breather. The recommended break time for a dog is every 2-3 hours. During this time, you’ll want to engage them and give them some attention. And of course, you want to be sure they use the bathroom if they have too. If you’re traveling during the hotter months, take extra precaution to keep your dog cool during the summer.