Anyone who’s ever taken a road trip with their canine companion knows that travelling with a dog is not always a walk in the park. From ensuring they’re comfortable to keeping them safe, there’s a lot to think about. But with some careful planning and preparation, your dog can be just as ready for long-distance travel as you are.
In the points below, we’ll break down some crucial aspects of training, comfort, and health considerations that you’ll need to consider for a successful journey.
Step 1: Pre-Travel Training
Before you embark on a long-distance journey with your dog, it’s important to get them acclimated to travel conditions. Start by taking them on short trips in your vehicle to help them associate travel with positive experiences. A simple drive to the dog park, beach, or any of their favourite places can be a great start.
If your dog is uncomfortable in the car, they may exhibit symptoms of stress such as panting, whining, or shaking. In such cases, consider speaking with a professional trainer or your vet for advice on how to alleviate these issues. Also, remember to keep training sessions short and positive to prevent your pet from becoming overly stressed.
Step 2: Ensuring Comfort During the Journey
The second step to preparing your dog for a long journey involves making sure they’re comfortable. Invest in a high-quality dog seat or booster to ensure your furry friend has a comfortable and safe place to relax during the journey. Some dog seats even come with a raised design, giving your dog a great view out of the window, which can help reduce stress.
Ensure you bring their favourite blanket or bed from home, as familiar scents can help soothe them. Keep the car temperature controlled and consider cracking open a window for some fresh air (but ensure they can’t stick their head out, as it can be hazardous). Regular breaks for walks and bathroom trips will also help keep your dog comfortable during the trip.
Step 3: Health Considerations
Before setting out, schedule a check-up with your vet to ensure your dog is in good health for travel. They can provide you with appropriate medications for travel sickness, anxiety, or other conditions your dog may have.
It’s also a good time to ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, particularly if you plan to cross state or country borders where different regulations may apply. Your vet might also recommend preventive treatments for fleas, ticks or heartworms, depending on your destination.
Hydration is essential during travel, so always have plenty of fresh water available for your dog. Also, pack enough of their regular food for the entire trip, as changing diets abruptly can cause digestive issues.
Lastly, ensure your dog’s ID tags and microchip information are updated. If your dog gets lost, up-to-date identification can be instrumental in reuniting you with your furry friend.
Taking your dog on a long-distance trip doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect – by taking the time to prepare your dog for the journey, you can ensure that your trip will be both safe and enjoyable. Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Always consider your dog’s specific needs when preparing for a journey, and don’t hesitate to consult your vet or a professional trainer if you need assistance. Happy travels!