For the longest time, I was craving the feeling of having the windows rolled down, the wind blowing in my face and “Fly Like an Eagle” blaring in the background. So, my carefree spirit bogged down with the daily mundane responsibilities of life, finally decided to go on a road trip.
If you’re having the same craving as me, but you’re faced with the difficult decision of leaving your pet, don’t fret! I’m definitely taking my dog Alex with me! How, you ask? Well, I’ve been on trips with my furry companion before. And it was the best experience ever. So, if you want to do the same, keep reading to know how you can master a trip with your pet!
1. Do Some Trial Runs
This is my first word of advice. You don’t know how your pet will behave in a confined environment such as a car, so it’s wise to do some trial runs beforehand. The first time Alex (my dog) was in a car ride, he got super agitated. Even though the windows were rolled down, it was a complete nightmare. And understandably so! To make Alex comfortable with car rides, I made sure he had chew toys, treats, and soft blankets in the backseat. I also took several short drives with him to help him get used to being driven around (driving around town on errands, to the park, or around the block once in awhile).
2. Don’t Overfeed!
Car sickness is as real for pets as it is for us humans. But unfortunately, your pet can’t exactly motion for nausea and yell, “Human! Red alert!” While food is gospel for all of us, you should definitely keep it light for trips. Do not feed your dog treats just to keep it calm. Overfeeding will only lead to accidents and lengthy vomit cleaning sprees (trust me on this).
3. Frequent Breaks are Necessary
For all those motivated drivers who would rather crash once they have reached their destination, there is news for you. Your pets are definitely not on the same page with this idea. Pets, especially dogs, aren’t used to sitting still for too long. Look out for signs of agitation. Take frequent breaks so you don’t let any agitation, or other things in your pet, build up. There are plenty of gas stations and parks to stop next to. You can also just stop by the road for the occasional stretch. Let your dog walk around and expend its energy a bit. This way it will be a lot calmer in the car.
4. Pack Well
Keep in mind, you’re not just packing for yourself, but also for your pet. You’ve got to be the responsible adult and bring everything your pet might need. Make a list of all the essentials and always double check. My packing for Alex usually includes medical records, poop bags, old towels, an extra leash and collar, food and water bowls, and a water bottle. Pet stuff isn’t always available everywhere, so you need to be careful. Your pet should be as comfortable as possible, or your trip is not going to be fun at all. Also keep in mind how long the trip will take, and pack accordingly.
5. Visit your Vet
This is the “pre-“ part of the trip but it is always wise to have clarity. Visit your vet for a checkup so you can prepare according to their evaluation. If your pet is acting weird or even if they look okay, it is better to be safe than sorry. Going to the vet before a trip can save you from a lot of trouble. Your vet can give you the appropriate advice on what to take and what problems to expect.
6. Do Your Homework
Articles and blog posts are great to consult before you go on that long, awaited trip. I visited a few forums with tips for travelling with dogs and got some really useful advice. Befriending experienced pet parents comes in handy as well.
Look into pet-friendly hotels and diners beforehand. Map out where you’re going and all the places you’ll stop, if possible. Also, make sure you know where the nearest vet or pet hospital in cases of emergencies.
Pets and road trips are not a very popular combination. But once you get a taste of how awesome it is to travel with your best bud, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing. Of course, traveling with a pet is not easy. They can’t express how they feel and it can be quite unpredictable. But the key is to prepare well for all sorts of scenarios and keep your pet comfortable. If you follow the advice I’ve shared, I am sure your trip will be nothing but fun. So plan away and be prepared for the experience of a lifetime!