Travelers with pets often drive where they want to go. Many dogs love a car ride, and traveling by car makes it easy to stop and check out an interesting-looking walk, or take a break at a scenic spot and let the pooch stretch his legs. Taking a road trip with your dog can be fun and relaxing with these tips:
Gradually get your pet accustomed to longer trips.
If your pet hasn't had the opportunity to travel before, start slowly by taking short car trips and gradually increasing the length of the trip.
Get the "OK" from your vet.
Healthy dogs should have no problems traveling. However, if your dog has health issues or is elderly, you may wish to ask your vet to examine him and give an opinion on whether he's in good health for travel.
Note that some pets just don't like to travel! If yours is one of them, considering the use of a responsible and caring pet-sitter or boarding facility instead.
Keep your pet properly restrained in the car.
People wear seatbelts because they protect us in case of sudden stops or accidents. Pets need to be similarly protected. Consider the use a specially-made dog seat belt, or secure a travel crate in the car (you can make it comfy with some soft blankets).
Keep your pet in the back seat - a dog riding in the driver's lap is distracting and dangerous! The driver needs to be free to maneuver quickly if need be.
Don't let pets travel in the open back of a pickup truck - too many accidents have occurred this way, resulting in severe injury and death of the pet when they're thrown from the back of the truck.
Pull over regularly for rest stops so that you and your pet can both take a bathroom break and stretch. Be careful when opening the car door as pets sometimes try to bolt.
Also offer a little water to your pet. Be sure to pack a water bowl, or carry a portable pet travel bowls with you. If you're traveling during hot weather, freeze containers of water before you leave. That way they'll stay cool longer.
Don't leave your pet unattended in the car.
In warm weather the inside temperature of the car can heat up to dangerous levels in just a few minutes, even if the windows are cracked open and the car is parked in the shade. If you're stopping for food, order take-out and then have a picnic with your pet outside.
Don't let your dog hang his head out the window.
A dog with his head out the window and tongue flapping in the breeze is a common sight. However, there is a risk that random debris (from other cars, tires, or just blowing about) may hit your dog or get lodged in his eye and cause injury.
Book your accommodations in advance.
Many lodgings only have a limited number of pet-friendly units available. Book ahead when you can so that you can be assured of a place to stay with your pet.