Road Trip Tips for your Dog

I’ve always made it a habit to take my dog on as many vacations as possible. After all, she is a member of the family. For every destination I have in mind I try to find some dog-friendly activities that will be available once we get there. If I’m going to the coast I do research to ensure my pooch and I will be allowed on the beach or a nearby hiking trail. If the weather is warm enough for a swim I try to locate water spots where we both can take a dip.

That being said, there are some important steps I take when making preparations for a road trip with with my pup. If I’m going to be staying in a hotel I always make sure it’s a pet-friendly hotel before making the reservation. Here are some other tips I follow:

  • Pre-fill multiple jugs of water at home so your pooch isn’t exposed to water it isn’t used to drinking; this could prevent diarrhea.
  • Leave early enough to allow for multiple stops to give your dog a break from the car and allow it to get some exercise and go to the bathroom.
  • In a dog prone to car-sickness delay feeding. If the trip in the car will be a long one try to feed your dog a smaller meal.
  • Be sure to engage child-proof window and door locks if your car has them so your pooch can’t accidentally open windows and doors. Avoid letting your dog ride with its head out the window to prevent debris or bugs from getting into ears, nose and mouth.
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car in hot, humid weather. Even warm weather can pose a health risk to your pooch inside a car, even if the windows are cracked open. It takes less than 10 minutes for a hot car to become deadly. The best precaution is to keep the air conditioning running or to bring your dog with you, even on a short stop. The same considerations should be used when traveling in cold weather, such as keeping the heat on if you leave your pup unattended in the car — and to avoid leaving your dog in the car without you.
  • To ensure the safest trip possible for your dog, keep it in a crate or secured in the seat with a pet seat belt. Always make sure your pup is secured to its leash before opening a car door. Capital District veterinarians in Albany, Delmar, East Greenbush, North Greenbush, Nassau, Latham, and beyond can provide you with the best information about pet safety restraints and other pet travel recommendations.
  • For easy clean-ups while on the road trip bring along plenty of rolls of paper towels, poop disposal bags and utility cloths as well as trash bags.
  • In case of a medical emergency or illness be sure to bring your pet’s medical records.
  • Some pets don’t like traveling in the car. It’s important to make sure your pooch will be comfortable throughout the trip. To reduce travel stress a veterinarian may need to be consulted for anti-stress aids and medications. 

Upon arrival at your destination it’s important to provide your pooch with familiar items, such as its favorite toys, treats and bed! Happy travels!!

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