Pets are a part of the family, so why do they get left behind on vacations? Gone are the days when you needed a petsitter, as now your furry friend can join you on your adventures! Bringing your dog on a road trip not only saves you the cost or hassle of finding someone to look after them, but it also keeps you active and outdoors during your trip. Plus, they’ll be overjoyed to be brought along on all of your adventures.
We’ve rounded up five tips for taking your dog on a road trip, to ensure you have a paw-fect holiday together.
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Choose a Campervan
When bringing your dog on a road trip, you’re usually better off taking a campervan. This is because you can combine pet-friendly transport and accommodation in one. While some hotels or airbnbs allow dogs, others don’t. But if you hire a dog-friendly campervan, then you’re set for your entire trip. Most campsites allow dogs, so you shouldn’t have any issues along the way.
A campervan also allows your pet to grow comfortable and have a sense of stability throughout the trip. This will make them feel more peaceful and allow you to leave them alone for brief periods if needed.
There’s a fine line between underpacking and overpacking, so be conscious of what you bring for your trip. You want to have enough familiar items that a dog feels comfortable, without filling up your vehicle with unnecessary items. Focus on their favourite toys and definitely bring their usual food and water bowl. If they have a larger bed, bring a travel mat instead to save space.
The most important thing is to have items that smell like them, so resist the temptation to wash their stuff right before. Also, to help them feel comfortable in their travel crate, slip in a t-shirt you’ve worn! This will allow them to scent you and feel safe.
Get them used to it
Rather than just bundling your pup into the car and embarking on a full-scale road trip, ease them into it. Allow them to adjust to their travel crate and learn that it’s temporary. Reward them every time you let them out of it. Start with small drives and build up the time so they grow used to the experience.
This will also allow you to discover if your dog suffers from travel sickness. If they do, you can help them by only giving a small meal before an extended drive. Or if that still doesn’t help, you can discuss motion sickness medication with your vet.
Follow Their Schedule
Just like humans, dogs struggle when their schedule changes. It can make them feel nervous and perhaps act out. On holiday, try to keep your pet’s schedule as similar as possible. So feed them at their typical time, using the same bowl and the same food. Try to walk when you usually would, even if that’s an extended hike in gorgeous nature!
Sticking to a routine will allow your pet to feel reassured and avoid any nasty accidents.
Take Plenty of Breaks
This especially applies for driving. When taking a road trip with a dog, you’ve got to remember that they don’t understand what’s happening. This is why they might get nervous, as they don’t recognise that there is an end to driving and it’s fun.
Be sure to plan plenty of breaks during long drives. This allows your dog to see you and feel reassured, and go about their business! But rather than just stopping for quick pee breaks, combine these into longer stops. Going for a nice walk or hike is the perfect way to split up a long drive. You can use these moments as opportunities to see nature rather than inconveniences along the way.
Fun tip: select ‘Avoid Highways’ on Google Maps for a beautiful route with plenty of potential stops. Your drive might be a bit longer, but you’ll have unbeatable views on the way!
Bringing a dog on a road trip is pretty similar to bringing a kid. It’s all about preparation and routine. But it’s also an opportunity to embrace slow travel and enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Bring a dog on your next road trip to encourage you to immerse yourself in nature and go for long walks.
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