Summer is the perfect time for an adventure with your furry best friend, whether it's a road trip across the country, traveling to see family, or camping out in the woods.
With so many new sights and sounds to experience, your pup will love traveling, exploring new areas, and making new memories with you. Before you leave on your next vacation, here are 9 ways you can prepare ahead of time to make your trip as successful as possible.
1. Make Sure Your Dog Is Microchipped
Whenever you're traveling and away from home, there's always a chance that accidents can happen. Your dog could run off or get lost, and being in a strange place only adds to the stress of the situation.
If your dog has a microchip, they're 2.5 times more likely to be reunited with you. The microchip keeps a record of your name, phone number, and address. If someone finds your dog, they can quickly take your pup to the nearest vet or animal shelter and scan for the microchip.
2. Pack All the Necessary Supplies
Before you leave home, make sure you have all your dog's day-to-day necessities, as well as emergency supplies, especially if you're taking a road trip. Your packing list should include:
- Current ID tags and a collar
- Up-to-date medical records
- First aid kit
- Your dog's medication
- Food and water bowls (collapsible bowls are a convenient option)
- Enough food to last your trip, plus additional food in case of emergencies
- Drinking water
- Leash and harness
- Pet waste bags
3. Check-In with Your Vet Before You Leave
Make an appointment with your vet before your trip to make sure your dog is healthy enough for travel. The last thing you want is for your pup to get sick while you're away from home and your usual veterinarian.
If your dog is on any medication, you can also get their prescription refilled before you leave, so you can travel without worrying their medication will run out.
4. Get Pet Insurance Coverage
Even if you take your dog to the vet before you leave, accidents happen, and they can still get sick while you're away.
Local veterinarians may not have appointments available for new patients on short notice, so many people have to resort to emergency vets when they travel. Emergency vets, while helpful, can be expensive.
Pet insurance can help pay for unexpected vet bills like these. Get a dog insurance quote from AKC Pet Insurance today (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) and prepare for accidents, illnesses, and much more.
5. Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations
Always plan your travel route ahead of time, and make sure the place you'll be staying is dog-friendly before you get there. Even if a website says the hotel, Airbnb, or campground is dog-friendly, it's best to call ahead to confirm.
If you're driving, you'll also want to plan out the stops along the way to make sure your pup has plenty of opportunities to potty, eat, and stretch their legs.
Many rest stops have fenced-in areas for dogs to exercise, and you can search for dog parks and dog-friendly stores and restaurants to stop at along the way.
6. Keep Your Dog's Safety in Mind
Dogs traveling via car need to be securely fastened in case of an accident. Just like you wear your seatbelt, you can use a harness, pet car seat, or seatbelt to keep your dog securely fastened in the car.
Another great option for travel is to use a crate. Not only does this keep your pup secure in the car, but it gives them a way to move around and get comfortable without affecting their seatbelt or distracting you while driving.
7. Practice Traveling Before the Big Day
Before you leave, do a few practice trips to help your dog feel comfortable with traveling. This may mean practice in the carrier if you're taking your dog on a plane, or it may mean a few practice car rides around the block.
Road trips, especially, can be stressful for your dog if they aren't used to hours in a car. Start small with short trips and reward your dog along the way. Treats help to build positive associations for your dog with the car, which can keep them calm on your actual travel day.
8. Take Frequent Breaks
While you may be okay to drive straight through with no breaks, your dog still needs breaks, especially if you'll be traveling for multiple hours. Even dogs that love car rides will want to stop to use the bathroom, burn off some excess energy, or enjoy a chew treat.
Exercise is still important for your dog, even if you're on the road. Schedule in time for a walk or a quick play session on your way to keep them feeling calm and comfortable.
If you do have to make pit stops, always make sure your dog is secured on a leash. While a microchip can quickly reunite you with your pet, it's always better to prevent them from being lost in the first place! GPS-enabled dog tags or collars can also be a good safety precaution to have, in case of an accident.
9. Bring Plenty of Toys and Enrichment Activities
In addition to exercise, toys, chews, and puzzle feeders can also help keep your dog calm, burn off excess energy, and reduce travel-related anxiety.
Enrichment activities challenge your pup's brain, which can actually wear them out more than physical exercise. A stuffed Kong, your dog's favorite chew treat, or even a frozen carrot can all be great enrichment ideas that work inside a car.
Are You Ready for Summer Adventures with Your Dog?
The warm weather and long days make summer a great time for a getaway with your dog, but you'll want to be prepared. With the right supplies and safety precautions in place, you and your dog will be ready to take on your next great adventure together!