Traveling with Dogs - Because let’s face it, dogs are better than people
Taking your dog along with you on the road can be super fun, but it’s way different than bringing friends or kids along – and it can be super stressful if you’re not prepared! There are a few tricks to keeping yourself and your pet safe and sane on your travels. Read on for some of them!
Have up to date tags
Make sure your contact info is up to date and legible on your dog’s tags (and if you have them chipped be sure it’s the same). It’s also recommended these days to not have your dog’s name on their tags. While it can be helpful, someone with less than pure intentions can use this info to entice your fur baby away or claim them as their own.
Bring a copy of their vaccination records
If your dog ends up getting sick or needs to go to a local doggy daycare you will need to have a copy of their vaccination records on hand. Usually a copy on your phone will work, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a paper copy as well.
Give them their own space in the vehicle
Overpacking your vehicle can stress you and your pet out, particularly if they’re stuck squeezed between a folding chair and a bag of golf clubs. The more room they have the more likely they are to behave. You can bring a dog bed, blanket, or even a foam sleeping mat for them to curl up on and stay comfy.
Positive reinforcement and treats
A well trained dog will be a happy dog on long trips. It’s recommended to encourage both bonding between pet and owner as well as ensure retention that you use positive reinforcement. This will also be easier to maintain on the road. When starting out you can display this for certain acts: if they get in the vehicle and go to their place without prompting you give them a treat, when you stop for gas or to stretch your legs and they go to the bathroom then you do the same. Over time they will learn to do the desired behavior with or without a treat.
Always make sure they have access to water
You usually keep a water or drink on hand while driving and your animal should be given the same courtesy. Get a small, stable water bowl that they can access throughout.
Don’t ignore their bathroom needs
If you have to pee, so does your dog. Even if you’re in a hurry you should always take the extra few minutes to let them have a bathroom break. If it’s safe you can walk a few laps around your vehicle or the rest stop so you can both stretch your legs.
Toys that will last
Try and get heavy duty toys that your dog can chew and bat around without destroying to keep them occupied and give them mental stimulation. If you’re able to at rest stops you can even play a few rounds of fetch!
Find a local dog park
Many campsites or towns will have dog parks that will let your dog run off some extra energy and give them some socialization.
Keep your dog on leash
Many campsites and RV parks are pet friendly, but you always need to keep them on a leash. Fido is sure to be curious about his new surroundings so it’s best to keep them on a limited line. This keeps them safe and within sight.
Know your car is going to get dirty
I don’t care if you have the most well-behaved dog on the planet, dogs are messy. They drool, shed, and track dirt, mud, and plants with them. There is no way to avoid this so you’ll just have to accept it. If you’re exceptionally worried about your vehicle you can get seat covers or even a portable vacuum. You can also keep some quick dry towels and a jug of water in easy access if they get a little messier than you can stand until you’re able to stop and give them a more thorough scrub down.
Know the animal regulations at your destinations
Not everywhere you go is going to accept animals. National and provincial parks have strict regulations about pets for example. If you intend to take your dog with you on a hike or into town, you should know the regulations and laws. If you are unable to bring them with you, look into daycare centers where you can board them for the day. Don’t leave them alone at your campsite or trailer!
Don’t leave your dog in a car on hot days. If you have to leave them in the vehicle for a minute or two, crack the windows or consider having a battery powered fan in your vehicle. Dog’s can and have died in too hot vehicles, so don’t make a deadly mistake.
Pick up after them
Look it’s gross but it’s what we sign up for when we get a pet. Keep a good supply of bags to pick up after your pet. Not only is it polite but there are areas where you can be fined if you do not clean up properly, and it can also draw wild animals to you if left.
Be aware of wildlife
Hiking and camping put us straight in the home of wild animals like foxes, wolves, bears, elk, deer, you name it. The last thing you want is your dog chasing after Bambi and his mom or facing down a grizzly. Know what animals are in the area to determine where you want to bring your pup.
Anything you would add to our list? Any favorite dog-friendly destinations or hikes? Let us know!