By Melissa Davidson
Here are 5 significant tips to consider before simply driving to your destination with your dog in tow:
1. Contribute to the kitty
As soon as you learn you are going on vacation, start socking away a little extra cash from each paycheck if you can. There are ways to budget finances every month and plan for unforeseen circumstances. Consider it a “pet emergency fund.”
An unplanned trip to the vet while vacationing isn’t uncommon. If you’re out camping and hiking on new terrain or RVing in new territory, for example, all sorts of hazards exist that could result in injury or illness.
Sprains, dehydration (preventable), cut paws, poisonous plants, and bee stings are just a few issues your dog might encounter. But the financial burden of a vet bill can be lessened by saving beforehand.
2. For the record
If for some reason you do have to go to the vet while traveling, having a record of your pet’s health will come in handy. Before leaving on your dog-friendly travel adventure, make sure you have a copy of your dog’s medical record and your home vet’s contact information.
Handy phone apps can help keep pets’ medical records organized and even give users access to common vet-answered questions while on the go. Another thing to consider is getting your dog microchipped if he/she isn’t already.
3. Dog is my co-pilot
Get the car prepped for a dog-friendly travel adventure. Dogs need a comfortable space to ride in. A properly-vented travel crate or carrier that’s big enough to stand or turn around in is ideal. You don’t literally want your dog in your lap while driving, so set them up properly.
A pet barrier between the back and front seat can work, but make sure they can’t squeeze through it or knock it down. All of these methods of transport need to be tested in advance to see what works and what doesn’t.
According to Becky from GlobalGrasshopper.com, you should consider taking a short test trip with your dog before planning a bigger vacation. An overnight or weekend trip will help you figure out how your dog handles travel and what you’ll need to do to prepare for the larger trip.
Make their space familiar by placing their dog bed and favorite toy inside. Pack a dog bag — collapsible bowls, leash, poop bags, blankets, toys, treats, and more than enough food.
4. Map My Route
Do you know how long it’s going to take to get to your final destination? Be sure to plan your specific route in advance and stop at least every four hours to let your dog do his business and walk around.
If you break up your trip into overnight stays, make sure the lodging is pet-friendly because it would be a pain to get turned away because you didn’t check first.
5. Too hot, too cold
Hundreds of dogs die every year from being left in the car. Don’t forget common sense. Leaving your dog in your parked car when it’s too hot or too cold could result in death. Even if it’s just to run an errand, don’t do it.
Within 10 minutes, the temperature inside the vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees, and in 20 minutes almost 30 degrees. At one hour, the temp can be more than 40 degrees warmer in the car than the outside temperature – so even on a 70-degree, that’s 110 degrees inside. Cracking the window has very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle.
One solution would be to get doggie daycare lined up in advance so that you can do errands or separate activities without putting your dog at risk.
Hit the road
With a little planning, you and your furry companion will have a memorable and fun time together. Don’t forget to take pictures of your dog-friendly travel adventure!