Taking your dog with you on a day trip or a long drive can be a fun way to bond with your dog and create amazing memories. Read on for helpful tips on taking your dog for a road trip!
Whenever my dog, Sterling, hears “Let’s go!” in combination with seeing me reach for his leash, his reaction is that of a prisoner being told he’s finally going free! Sterling goes from lazy and lying on his side with his eyes half open to bouncing off the walls and slipping around in a scramble to get out the door. As soon as we get out and he’s done relieving himself, he makes a mad dash for the car in the hopes of a ride.
Car rides and wild sprints are two of Sterling’s most favourite things in the world... after treats and dinner time. And because I love watching him do his thing in a beautiful setting, we like to take little road trips. If you’ve been thinking of taking your dog on a road trip with you, there are some tips you’ll find later in my post about how you can make car rides an enjoyable experience for both you and your adorable travel buddy.
First of all, make sure your dog is the kind who likes car rides. My family dog back home doesn’t mind car rides, but they make her incredibly motion sick, so she needs certain medicines before we go anywhere. If your dog gets motion sick too, talk to your vet about the right medicine for him/her before you plan a trip.
Sterling... Ready and excited for a car ride!
If your dog doesn’t like the car at all, here are some easy things you can do to get them to be okay with the new space:
- Give your dog plenty of treats when they stay calm around or climb into the car.
- Be patient, let your dog get comfortable and relaxed in the car.
- Don’t be in a hurry to start your car. Just sit in the driver’s seat until your dog relaxes.
- Try taking your dog on short slow rides to get them used to being in a moving vehicle.
- Increase the duration of trips gradually.
Now that you know how to get your dog comfortable with car rides, it’s time to plan a road trip! When Sterling and I go adventuring, we definitely have to plan ahead, to make sure we have all the right things for a fun and safe experience outdoors. You want to come back with memories, not scars, so here are some important things to take with you even if you’re just going for a day trip:
- Drinking water - For both your pooch and yourself! Road trips are thirsty affairs.
- Kibble - Dry food is easier to serve and clean up when you’re on the move, but if your dog is a picky eater any meal he/she normally east should be packed and brought along.
- Treats - This one’s for both your dog and yourself! Take some tempting treats for your travel partner and be sure you have snacks for yourself too.
- Bedsheet - Having this spread across your backseat will help make clean up easier when you’re back home.
- Towel - It’s a good idea to carry one to clean dirty paws or dry your dog off before getting back in the car.
- Leash - Keep your dog leashed, especially if they don’t come when called very easily. A new environment is exciting. You can try taking an extra-long leash so your dog can run around with some freedom.
- Chews - If your dog doesn’t quite like car rides, you can try giving him/her a tempting chew to keep distracted during your drive.
- Remember not to feed your dog a heavy meal before your trip, a light meal 3 to 4 hours before you leave is ideal and will help avoid issues with motion sickness.
- Be sure to carry picture proof of vaccinations.
- Carry a human/pet safety kit with basic items like antiseptic and dressings (better safe than sorry).
There’s not much that compares to the joy of watching your dog run freely and jump in water having the time of his/her life. Seeing Sterling running around sniffing things with absolute freedom and watching rising/setting sun in the backdrop often makes for beautiful memories I enjoy treasuring over the course of a long and busy work week.
The unimaginable joy of freedom!
Every trip makes our bond just a little bit stronger and lets me see another side of him as an independent being. More than that, every time we come home tired and happy, I already know he’s looking forward to the next trip. And you know what, even though it takes a tiny bit of work to plan? So am I!
A Dirty Dog is a Happy Dog!