Long car trips are stressful, especially when you will be bringing dogs with you. To have the best trip possible with your pets, there are some important items to bring with you. Just like anyone else, pets require a lot of supplies if they will be taking a long trip. These items will help prevent anxiety for you and your dogs.
Food, water, and bowls
Always bring extra dog food and bowls in case you stay at your destination longer than planned or you have car trouble. Bring water bottles specifically for your dogs that you can use for them at rest stops. Sometimes stress can cause dogs to drink more than they really need, so watch their intake to keep them from drinking too much and making themselves sick.
Leashes and collars with dog tags
Your dogs should always wear their collars with dog tags on trips so that if they get loose, someone can call you if they find them. You should always use leashes when getting dogs out of your car in an unfamiliar location. Even if your pets normally behave well off-leash, they may become overexcited in a new environment and run off.
Bring any of your dogs' medications and instructions for using them. It may also be good to bring common first aid supplies, such as: bandages, antibiotic ointment, and hydrogen peroxide. If your dog suffers from anxiety, it is a good idea to speak with your veterinarian about providing anxiety medication for the trip.
If something happens to one of your pets on your trip, a local vet will have a much easier time if you already have copies of their records.
Carrier, car seat, or harness
Safety should always come first when your pets are in the car, so decide which tool will work best to keep your pet in place and have it set up in your car, ready to go. Even if your dogs become anxious, do not let them roam around the car. This will only create more anxiety and distract the driver. If you need to, stop and give them a break if they become too upset.
Clothing and blankets
It sounds odd to bring clothing for a pet, but if you will be traveling in winter, it is important to have dog coats ready, especially for short-haired dogs. If you have car trouble or get caught in a snowstorm, your pets need to be kept warm. Blankets can also help to wrap up your dogs. Always have small socks or other items that can be put on your pets' feet because the pads of their feet can become hurt and even bleed if they are left on cold ice for too long.
If you will be traveling to a place where you might go swimming or be on a boat, be sure to bring life jackets for your dogs. These will keep them safe if they fall in.
Toys are a good way to keep your pet distracted while in the car. Try using chew toys in the car to keep them calm and tennis balls or rope toys at rest stops to give them some exercise.
Just because you're not at home doesn't mean you shouldn't clean up after your pet. Please do your part to keep rest areas and parks clean.
All of these supplies are important to have a successful, stress-free vacation with your pets. Dogs can easily become overexcited or anxious, and they will feed off of your energy. Don't worry too much if things don't go exactly as you planned. If you stay calm, your pets will have a much easier time staying calm as well.