The world is opening up, and everyone’s ready to take long road trips again. However, if you want to bring your dog, you have to plan for it well. Not every pooch is comfortable with long car rides, so making stops on the road with dogs is crucial.
A road trip disrupts your dog’s routine and even their rhythm. They won’t be able to burn energy when cooped up in your car, and they’ll have to wait for you to stop to take potty breaks. A lack of planning or care endangers your dog while on the road, such as heat, dehydration, and traffic.
Don’t make your road trip a nightmare. Avoid doggy messes in your car or a restless fur-baby distracting you on the highway. Here are the most important things to keep your dog happy, healthy, and safe during your road trip pit stops.
Plan Your Route Around Your Dog
Like anyone else, your dog has needs. These include going to the bathroom and stretching their legs. Unless you want a mess in your backseat or a very unhappy doggo, you’ll need to plan your route with your dog in mind.
When traveling with dogs, ensure your route has plenty of pit stops with areas safe for your pets. Many road stops have designated pet areas, but you need to check before you get there. Take your dog out at each one, and make sure they won’t be in harm’s way from cars or other dangers.
Many stores or service stations let you tie your dog at the front. This lets you keep an eye on them while they drink some water. Planning regular stops where you can do this reduces the amount of time you may have to leave your dog in the car.
Long road trips can be stressful and dehydrate your dog, especially if it’s hot. The AC helps a little, but you need to pull over on a regular basis. Take advantage of these to give your dog plenty of water and the opportunity to play.
Be careful about this last point, however, as the pandemic has made things dicey. Try to ensure your route has pit stops and areas that aren’t crowded and in low transmission zones. Your dog depends on you, and if you get sick because of second-hand contact, who will take care of your fur baby?
Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Behavior
Many of us know when something is off with our dogs or when they want something. On the road, however, things can look different. This is especially the case if your dog isn’t used to long road trips in the car.
If your dog is restless, it could be a sign they need out or feel car sick. Nudging the door or pawing at it could indicate the same thing, so keep your eyes open. Some dogs will vocally express their frustration and will whine or bark.
Be aware of new cues different from the ones at home. If you think they want out, then see how close you are to the next road stop. Plan a way to give them some outside time to stretch, go potty, and have fun and burn energy.
Whatever you do, don’t pull over anywhere unless it’s an emergency. The shoulder of the road is often dangerous, and you or your dog could get struck by traffic. Look for open spaces, dog-friendly parks, and wooded trails where your pet can have some freedom away from the road.
You know your dog best, so pay attention to what they tell you. Making stops on the road with dogs is important, so don’t ignore them if they need a break. There is a difference between being dramatic and being in distress, and your dog knows you can tell.
When opting for ground dog transport, always put their needs first when planning the route.
Make Sure Your Dog Has Everything They Need
Every road trip is going to require food, water, and bathroom breaks. You may be able to run into the service station for a snack or the bathroom, but your dog can’t. You need to bring enough to keep your pupper fed and hydrated.
Never forget your dog whenever you make stops. It’s best to stop where dogs can stretch their legs and where you can keep an eye on them. Sometimes, however, you don’t have a choice but to leave your dog in the car.
Always provide water and steady cool air. If you’re only leaving for a quick potty break, then leave the window open, the AC on full blast, and the water bowl full. While having them in a crate is a great option for the drive, you may want to let them out so they can hang out by the window.
Readers of our blog like Christine H. Groom know keeping your dog cool and comfy is important. She uses the ‘easy start’ in her car to turn on the AC even after locking the doors for a quick bathroom break. Another reader suggests that 2 sets of keys can achieve the same result when transporting dogs by yourself, keeping them cool and safe.
Make sure you bring enough food, water, and hygiene essentials like potty bags for your pooch. Not having to buy or restock on the road means you can avoid leaving your dog alone. It also minimizes stress and lets you prioritize their exercise and needs.
Don’t Forget Making Stops on the Road With Dogs
For everyone’s safety and sanity, you need to be making stops on the road with dogs often. You also need to plan your stops and make sure your dog is safe and taken care of. Never leave them in a hot car or let them roam beside the road or traffic – even for a moment.
CitizenShipper is among the best in long-distance transportation and dog transport services. We’re no strangers to dog transport and making sure your furry family arrives happy and healthy. Contact us today and find out how we prioritize your needs and your pooch, even across the country.
Growth Marketing Manager at CitizenShipper
Great advice. Some of these items can be easily overlooked. So I keep a note pad with the items we need before our trip listed and handy.