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Travelling with your dogs – long distance road trips

800 miles into the trip, they finally figured out how to keep me in the back seat.Vacations are great: time for rest, relaxation and recharging. However, some pet owners, including myself, feel guilty leaving our furry friends behind while exploring other parts of the country. I’ve discussed hiring pet sitters and boarding facilities before, but there is another option. Consider it the road less travelled.
What about taking your pets with you? Air travel can be expensive and sometimes dangerous for short-nosed dog breeds. What about a good old-fashioned road trip? After you read this, you might reconsider that boarding facility or pet sitter, but for those instances where you really want to share the road with your four-legged best friend, this post will be your go-to resource for planning the perfect road trip.

There are 5 main steps to preparing for your long-distance road trip:

1. Get the all-clear from your vet. Schedule a well-pet visit for any of the pets that you’ll be taking on the road with you. If you’ll be travelling across the Canadian border, make sure you have copies of your current rabies vaccination certificates. Make copies of any other vaccinations and check with the places you’re staying to make sure your pets are up to date on any vaccinations that they require.
2. Plan your route carefully. Pet friendly hotels are more and more common, but you’re going to need to plan ahead. Don’t just rely on a hotel’s information online, make sure to call ahead and get confirmation that your pets are welcome.

You may want to consider camping during your trip or renting an RV for a cross-country trip, especially if you have multiple dogs or large breed dogs. You still need to call ahead and make sure that your pets are welcome. As unfair as it is, some breeds aren’t allowed in some counties, hotels, or campgrounds.
3. You’ll want to first make a list of everything you’ll need for your pet while on vacation, and secondly pack enough of it for the entire duration of your trip. Here’s a quick list that I came up with:

4. Make sure your microchip information is up-to-date. If your pet isn’t microchipped, make sure to get one done at your vet’s office. If they are already microchipped, update your information online to include your cell phone number in case they escape while away from home.
5. Practice makes perfect! If your dog isn’t used to car rides, take small trips in preparation for the long haul. Slowly build up the amount of time that you’re in the car until you’re confident that your pet will tolerate a long road trip.

While you’re on the road, make sure to give plenty of water and stop every few hours for a stretch and to relieve them. Take a short walk at each rest stop to reduce anxiousness. If you can, go for a run or do some exerting activity so that they’re nice and tired for the next leg of the trip!

Do you have any words of wisdom for any pet lovers getting ready to go on a road trip with their furry companions? Leave them in the comments!

3 comments

  1. avatar

    Do you have any tips with encouraging my 1 year old Golden Retriever into a crate for car and air travel?? She has always be skittish of the crate but recently she is terrified of it and refuses to get in. I was a thinking of taking the top off and training her to sit in using treats. Any ideas??

  2. avatar

    How much time do you have before you need to travel? Crate training the proper way can take weeks of patient training. Please check out this crate training guide – it is chock full of tips and information on how to get your pet to accept the crate: http://www.thatpetplace.com/crate-training

  3. avatar

    Get dog nails trimmed before car trip

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About hcrotsley

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Currently an owner of 3 dogs and 2 cats, I’ve gained a plethora of pet-related experience over the years. I strive to provide the best home I can for my little terrors, and you’ll read all about our trials and tribulations as I continue down the rewarding yet rocky road of pet parenthood.

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