BY: Laurie Brzostowski
Planning a road trip with your dog this summer? Here are 3 tips to help it go smoothly:
1. Planning and logistics
Before leaving, make sure your dog’s vaccines and parasite prevention is up to date. Find out whether additional vaccinations or parasite treatments are necessary for your destination. If your dog has previously experienced anxiety or carsickness during travel, speak to your veterinarian about medications available to help keep them comfortable during the drive. Obtain an updated copy of your dog’s medical records and extra medications so that you have enough for the entire trip.
Identification tags should be updated with a current cell phone number and an emergency contact. Consider microchipping your dog as a form of permanent identification that can be scanned by professionals at animal shelters or veterinary clinics to trace your contact details in case your dog is lost.
2. Preparing your dog for car travel
Before diving into a longer trip with your dog, it’s a good idea to go on practice runs or ‘mini-trips’ to get them comfortable with being in the car. If you are planning on using a dog crate, give them an opportunity to get used to this as well.
On the day of travel, feed your dog lightly. Dogs that consume a large amount of food or water prior to car travel are more likely to experience car sickness. A full meal should be reserved for when you have reached your destination for the day. Dogs should also be taken for a short-walk prior to driving to give them a chance to eliminate.
3. During the drive
It can be dangerous to have your dog roam free while you are driving. Instead, they should be secured in a crate or using a canine car harness that attaches to the seat belt.
Try to drive as smoothly as possible as erratic driving can be dangerous and stressful for your dog. Talk to your dog in a calm manner and make sure ambient music is not too loud. If you need to make any stops, your dog should not be left unattended in the car.
During the trip, try to maintain a consistent routine. Make rest stops at regular intervals and carry water with a collapsible bowl for your dog. Stay aware of your dog’s general mood and behaviour to make sure they are comfortable and stress free.