Taking a road trip with your family is not the same if you have to leave your dog behind, so many people opt to bring their dog along. Traveling, like any activity, comes with some risks. Just like you need to plan for your own safety and needs for a long car ride, you'll also need to the plan for the needs and safety of your dog. Here are some tips to help the road trip be successful for your pet.
1. Make sure your dog is used to the car.
Some people who leave the house for short periods of time won't bring their dog along because it's only a few hours for the dog to be at home waiting. However, before you pack up your pet for a long trip with several hours in the car, you should help them adjust to car rides by taking some short trips together. Watch your dog's behavior.
Also, if you take several shorter trips, you'll learn if your dog gets carsick or not. Nothing is worse than cleaning the upholstery during hour five of the road trip because your dog can't handle the motions of the vehicle.
2. Bring vaccine records with you.
Some states will not check entering vehicles as they cross state lines, but others will check vehicles for fruit and pets, requiring you to show proof of vaccines before entering. It can also help to bring your dog's health records with you just in case you need veterinary care on the trip due to an emergency you did not foresee. Visit a pet hospital before you leave to make sure your dog is vaccinated properly.
3. Don't let your dog roam the car freely.
It's not safe to allow your dog free rein over the vehicle. Dogs should not ride in the front seat of the car because if the air bags deploy, your dog could be killed from the impact. Ideally, a dog should be crated and travel the whole time in the crate, preferably in the back of the car. If your dog does need some room to stretch and interact during the hours on the road, put them in a harness and attach the harness to a seat belt in the back seat, having your dog sit on the seat like a person.
4. Always take your dog with you when you stop.
Don't leave a dog alone in a parked car, especially in the cold of winter or the heat of summer. Dogs can quickly overheat and die if left in a car, even for a short period of time.