There’s little more pleasant than a classic American road trip, travelling cross country on open roads. And for many dog owners, it’s also the perfect pet-friendly vacation. You get to explore new parts of the country with your dog, taking in a whole host of new sights, sounds and smells.
However before you pack your trunk, there are a few considerations that will make your doggie road trip all the more enjoyable…
Talk to Your Vet
The pests and diseases that affect domestic animals can vary considerably across the country. In many cases veterinarians won’t vaccinate for potential problems which are low-risk in your home area, so your dog may not have all the protection necessary for a road trip.
Speak to your vet about your proposed itinerary so that they can recommend any additional medications recommended before you leave home.
Introduce Your Dog to Travelling
Getting your dog used to being stuck in the car for long periods of time can take effort. The last thing you want is to have your road trip spoiled by a dog that won’t calm down (or worse, won’t keep their dinner down!).
Begin to get your dog used to car travel some weeks before the big event, introducing them slowly to the pleasures of car travel. Start off with short journeys, making sure that the experience is a pleasant one by going for a play at your destination. Over time, increase the distance travelled, while carefully ensuring that your dog associates car travel with an enjoyable pastime.
Locate Dog-Friendly Destinations on the Way
If you’re going to drive cross-country then you need to be confident that your dog will be welcome at hotels and eateries. Fortunately, a number of websites make this super-simple to achieve. Check out Go Pet Friendly and Bring Fido to carefully map out a suitable, dog-friendly route before you leave home, and be confident that your dog can go everywhere you do.
It’s important to take regular breaks on regular trips. Doing so not only keeps you fresh, but also allows your dog a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy. Vets recommend stopping every 2-3 hours when possible.
When you pull up, pay particular attention to any dangers around the vehicle, and never leave your dog in the car on their own. For safety, many dog owners opt to keep their pets leashed in unfamiliar parking lots and suchlike, in order to ensure that a spooked dog doesn’t run off into the distance.
Keep Supplies on Hand
While you may have located a range of dog-friendly hotels and restaurants, finding pet supplies on the road isn’t always easy. This is especially so if you’re aiming for more rural areas of the country.
It therefore makes sense to plan ahead and take suitable supplies with you. Consider carrying water and a bowl, a generous supply of food and any medications your pet requires. Additionally, it is a good idea to put together a simple doggie “emergency bag” containing any supplies that you might need, such as bandages and creams just in case.
Protect Your Pooch
Lastly, experts recommend restricting your dog within your vehicle to prevent any injuries. A range of options are available, from crates which will fit into the back of your car, to harnesses that attach to the seat belts.
Whatever option you choose, the goal is to prevent your dog running or jumping around on the journey, or leaping out of the car when you open the doors.
Vets generally recommend keeping roofs up, and windows shut, if possible. This prevents your dog jumping out unexpectedly, or getting hurt if they stick their head out of the window.
Find Pet Friendly Accommodation
It should come as no surprise that many well-known hotel chains don’t accept dogs. To keep costs under control it pays to carefully weigh up all the options in your destination, so as to select that pet-friendly hotel that offers the very best rates.
Websites like Pets Welcome can be worth their weight in gold for finding budget pet-friendly accommodation right across the USA. Also, check out PBS Pet Travel, a specialist provider of pet transportation services.
While a small number of hotels may offer last-minute discounts, this can be a risky proposition. Instead, consider booking well in advance of your arrival to be certain of the best-possible deal.