Planning a dog-friendly road trip or travel is not an easy feat. It’s not as simple as tossing the dog into the backseat and hitting the road.
Dogs can be sensitive, and owners must be prepared to meet their needs when traveling. While many pet parents focus on packing enough kibble, not enough think about drinking water and ensuring their dog stays hydrated while traveling.
How much water do dogs need?
It’s essential to know how much water to drink daily, whether for humans or dogs. While it is widely known that humans should at least drink eight glasses of water a day, dogs’ water consumption needs vary with their weight. At the very least, dogs should have an ounce of water per pound.
Dogs especially dogs with thick coats like Shih Tzus are prone to heat stroke and will have a hard time breathing in extreme heat. Dogs show this by excessive panting, indicating their body is overheating.
When traveling with dogs, understand they will most likely be exposed to inclement weather that their bodies are not used to. To keep your dog safe and healthy, it’s essential to keep them hydrated while traveling.
How to keep your dog hydrated while traveling
The ideal seasons to take your dogs for traveling are spring and summer; however, avoid taking them out for too long or exposing them to high heat, especially in the summer.
If you can’t avoid taking your dogs out, here are some ways to keep them hydrated while traveling.
Keep enough clean water
Our dogs are just as sensitive as humans regarding drinking water. If you can, make sure to bring enough clean drinking water for your dogs, as some tap water may also give them an upset stomach. While most dogs are OK with tap water, owners whose dogs are sensitive to them may want to stock up on clean water during the trip.
If you’re going camping, ensure your dogs don’t drink lake or river water as they may contain bacteria.
Tim White, founder of Milepro, says, “Traveling with a pet is just as hard, or even harder, than tagging children along a trip. Our pets don’t speak, so owners should deeply understand their pet’s needs before and during the trip and ensure that they are only fed what they usually eat or drink to avoid emergencies.”
Use the right portable water equipment
Knowing how to feed your dogs during a trip is as important as what to feed them. To keep your dog hydrated during a trip, bring a portable water bottle or bowl from which your dogs can quickly drink water. These portable water bottles and containers should also be lightweight and compact to save space and leakproof.
Many portable water bottles can be operated with one hand, so you can keep your other hand safe and secure for your pets while having them drink on the other.
Switch to wet food when traveling
If you usually feed dry kibble to your dogs, try switching it up for wet food before traveling. Wet dog foods are generally more expensive, but many dogs smell a stronger aroma from wet dog food, which usually makes it a tastier meal than dry kibble.
Switching up to wet food while traveling keeps them full and better hydrated than if fed with dry kibble.
If your dog is sensitive to diet changes, you can still use their dry kibble and wet them with water.
Try sprinkling water on the kibble, or if you have access to hot water, soften the dry kibble in hot water, mash, and serve cool. Vitamins are also essential for dogs, and you can mix them with their wet dog food for their most needed protection and nutrients.
Give them ice cubes
If the weather is unbelievably hot, why not try giving ice cubes to your dogs as a treat?
Generally, ice cubes are safe for dogs. However, it is essential to remember that ice cubes are only as secure as the water used to make them. If the water used is dirty, it may pose some serious consequences for your dogs. If you can, try making ice cubes before going on a trip and storing them in a mini portable cooler.
Another thing to remember is that ice cubes can cause tooth breakage in dogs. They also pose a choking hazard, so feed dogs smaller pieces to pose no harm.
Protect their paws
Human feet and your dog’s paws get hurt when stepping on hot pavement.
If the weather is hot, try touching the pavement for 3 seconds, and if you can’t stand it, your dogs will struggle, too.
Avoid hot pavement and take cooler routes to avoid heat and dehydration on your dogs.
Final thoughts on keeping dogs hydrated while traveling
Water is as essential to our dogs as it is to us. Because our dogs feel hot twice than we do, it is important to prepare well for your dogs’ needs when taking them out for traveling.
Remember to protect their body, make sure that they are breathing and eating well, and drink enough water before, during, and after the trip so that you and your dogs have the best time under the sun.
Alejandra Leyva is a digital nomad who practices slow living. She is willing to learn and spread her knowledge about taking time in our rushing world.