dog walking on sidewalk

Traveling with Dogs: Planning Ahead

When you will be going on a long trip, planning ahead is important. This step is vital when you will be traveling with dogs. You need to plan every stop based on your pets' needs as well as your own and your family's. There are a few steps you can take to plan ahead for a relaxing trip with your dogs.

Plan Your Stops

Bathroom breaks

You will need to stop every 2-3 hours for your dogs to get a drink of water and go to the bathroom. You should do a little research into parks and rest stops that you can use along the way. You may need to stop more often if your dog is anxious. Do not feed your pets on these short breaks because a full stomach could cause car sickness.

Pet-Friendly Hotels

If you might not reach your destination in one day, find out which local hotels are pet-friendly. Don't wait until you reach a location and have to stop at hotels to find out whether your dogs can stay there.

Tourist Attractions

If you plan to stop at attractions on the way, find ones that are pet-friendly. Otherwise, someone needs to stay in the car with the dogs. Do not leave your pets in a car alone. Plan ahead to prevent this problem. Research local parks and outdoor attractions that allow pets. Consider only going to non pet-friendly attractions when you have a safe place for your dogs. A safe place might include a hotel room or doggy daycare.

Food and rest

If you will not reach your destination by dinnertime, you need to have a place to stop for about an hour or so. You'll need to feed your dogs and let them walk around or rest. If your dogs suffer from anxiety, you should plan to stop at a park or somewhere you can stay for over an hour. Give them time to relax and become hungry to eat.

Clean Your Car and Plan Seating Arrangements

Clean up garbage

Your ride will be much more relaxed if you clean out any trash in your car, especially items that your dog could eat.

Organize your luggage

Pack all your luggage where it cannot fall on your pets. Leave space for everyone to fit and remain comfortable to reduce stress for you and your dogs.

Plan seating arrangements

Decide on a seating arrangement and stick to it. Too much moving around can overexcite your pets.

Get the Dogs Ready Before the Trip Starts

Take a long walk

A long walk will relax your pet and ready their bodies to be stationary for a long period of time.

Feed them early

Make sure your dogs eat at least an hour before leaving the house. Again, you don't want to deal with car sickness.

Potty before leaving

Always give your dogs plenty of time to go to the bathroom before they leave home. If they become nervous, they may have difficulty going later on.

Give medications

Give your dogs any medications they need before leaving the house. It can be easy to forget to give medications when you're worried about your trip, so do this before you leave home. If they need anxiety medication, give this to them at least an hour before leaving for it to take full effect.

Planning is the most important step in taking a vacation, especially when you bring pets. Dogs are in tune with their owner's energy, so remember to remain calm no matter what happens. Your dogs will follow your cue.

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