By Maureen Lake, Founder of Trendy Pet
Traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun. I should know because I just returned from one epic adventure with my pooches! Our family drove from Colorado to California and back with two enthusiastic Labradoodles. Some may ask if I would ever do this again, and the answer will always be, “Yes, you betcha!” I’m wiser because of this extensive trip, and would like to share a few basic tips I learned before you hit the road this holiday season with your pets.
1. Plan your route and secure your hotel room ahead of time
Preparing for a trip is always important, but is especially vital when traveling with your pets. Use a GPS or map to plan out your driving route to arrange for a smooth trip. Also, factor in potty and water breaks to your driving schedule to ensure your pet is comfortable. Most importantly, make sure that you book that pet-friendly hotel ahead of time. Don’t wait to find a hotel the day you’re driving, because I promise you will regret it. Not all hotels are pet-friendly and some charge an exorbitant rate. Believe it or not, some campsites often have restrictions too. I use Furlocity.com which has a selection of over 42,000 pet-friendly hotels to choose from! I was able to find, compare and book a pet friendly hotel, and have all the pertinent pet friendly information available to me. It’s a convenient, modern solution to booking pet related travel without ever having to pick up the phone.
2. Contact your vet before you leave
Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations, and let your vet know where you’re going. Sometimes there are additional threats in different areas of the country, such as Lyme disease. It’s much better to be safe than sorry. Also, bring a copy of your pet’s medical records with you, or at the very least rabies record. Is your pet taking medications? Make sure you have enough to last longer than your visit, since you never know what might occur along the way.
3. Crate or seatbelt your dog
Your best buddy will be spending hours in the car with you, so naturally safety is a priority. Some dog owners place their dogs in a crate, or if you are like me, I harness and direct tether my dogs to a seat belt. This allows for my dogs to move around, stand, lie down or curl up in a ball. Whichever option you choose, use it knowing that you are putting Fido’s safety first.
4. Bring your own water along for the ride
It can be stressful for a dog to sit all day in the back seat of a car, often with the windows up. You want to make sure your dog is drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration while being a passenger. As the taste of tap water varies in different parts of the country, I recommend you bring some tap water from home or buy bottled water. Your dog will thank you for having fresh good tasting water.
5. Update your dog’s identification tag
Wow, I can’t stress the importance of this tip, as it could save your dog’s life. Make sure your dog’s ID tag has your current cell phone number on it. Many pet owners, myself included, had their dog’s tags made years ago when they still relied on their landline. If your pooch runs away, it will be very difficult for someone to contact you by calling your landline if they find your dog. I’m glad I changed my pooches’ tags to include my cell phone number just in case they get lost.
6. Maintain your routine whenever possible
Of course you can’t keep the same routine you have at home, but try to stick to it as much as possible. Don’t forget the time change! My dog, Keira, who you can set your watch by, wanted to eat an hour earlier than planned. Of course, she was correct given the change in time. Keep your pet approximately on the same feeding schedule, but gradually get them used to the new time change. Your dog will be much happier for it!
There are many items I could have included on this list, for example, first aid kits, toys, blankets, arranging for doggy daycare at your destination, among many others, but I wanted to include the most important items for my two dogs. Naturally, I brought their dog feeders as well!
Happy travels with your pet!
Maureen Lake is co-owner, with her daughter, of Trendy Pet that makes modern elevated feeders for both dogs and cats. Elevated feeders work well for various reasons including an aging or injured pet. Research demonstrates the importance of having the correct height bowl for your pet. All of the feeders are made by hand in Denver, Colorado.