With many states lifting stay-at-home restrictions, summer travelers are eager to get out and explore. If you’re among the many quarantine-weary dog owners itching to hit the road this summer, you’ll want to be prepared. Here are a few quick tips to help make your summer road trip fun for you—and your dog!
1. Prep your pet essentials.The last thing you (or your pet) need is to learn you’ve left some critical item behind when you are miles from home. Take a moment to think about the things your pet will need—both for day-to-day living and in case of emergency.
When traveling with your dog, remember to bring:
A collar and leash (and maybe a backup set, just in case)
Your pet’s identification (an ID tag or microchip in case you become separated)
A copy of your pet’s medical records (the Figo Pet Cloud app is great for on-the-go storage)
Any prescribed meds your pet may be taking
Food and water bowls (collapsible blows are great for travel)
Poop bags for rest stops
Pack a pet first aid kit
2. Pick a pet-friendly destination.A little research now can save you a world of hassle later on. Fortunately, there are many dog friendly campgrounds, parks, hiking trails, and even beaches from which to choose. Pet-friendly accommodations are also easy to find if you’re willing to do a little searching online. Some motels accept dogs but have weight restrictions (smaller dogs are usually preferable). Be sure your pet meets all the requirements of your host destination.
3. Plan for stops.Like you, your pet is going to need to make some pit stops along the way, so plan accordingly. Stopping for a bathroom break every 2–3 hours should give your pooch time to toilet and get a little exercise. Many rest areas offer places to walk your pet, and don’t forget to use this opportunity to offer your pet some food and water. If your dog has a history of motion sickness, you’re going to need to be ready for that too. A pre-travel visit to your vet can help. Your vet can prescribe anti-emetic medications that will keep your pup’s stomach settled during the trip.
4. Prevent pet boredom.Like many of us (and our kids), dogs can become bored and restless during long road trips, which can be a distraction and a safety hazard. Be sure you bring a few items along to help make the travel time go faster:
A chew toy can keep your pet occupied while you focus on the road
Pack a Chuckit or Frisbee to provide exercise at rest areas or campgrounds
Bring plenty of treats (they’re great for staving off hunger and for rewarding your dog for good behavior)
5. Include your pet in the fun.If you’re brining your dog on vacation, remember to plan some activities that your pet can enjoy too.
Hiking, swimming, and even canoeing
Explore dog-friendly parks and hiking trails
Visit a lake or beach that allows pets
Note: If taking your pet on watercraft, be sure you and your pet are wearing life vests.
6. Be aware of wildlife.Dogs are natural hunters and are often curious about the wildlife they may not encounter at home. When exploring natural areas, remember to:
Abide by all rules of the park or facility
Keep your pet leashed
Do not allow your pet to approach wildlife (including bird nests, raccoon dens, skunks, porcupines, snakes, etc.)
Be aware of large animals (some parks are home to bears, bobcats, and even cougars).
Keep your pet leashed and avoid behaviors that may seem threatening or challenging to larger animals
Don’t let your dog munch on wild plants (many are potentially toxic and could cause stomach upset or worse)
Include snake anti-venom in your pet first aid kit
We hope this quick list helps you and your pet have a super summer road trip. Be safe and enjoy your travels!
Editor’s Note: Every year hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles, learn how to keep your furry friend safe and what to do if you see a pet in potential danger.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.