Most dogs love nothing more than a car ride and being with family, so they love vacation road trips. Adventure awaits! But before you go, you’ll need to get a few things in order first.
Medical: Update vaccinations, heartworm prevention, flea and tick medications. Make sure your dog is microchipped and has enough routine medications for the duration of your trip. Ask your vet if your dog is well enough to travel.
Kennels: If you plan to board her at a kennel for any time, find out their requirements. Some states require your dog to have a complete checkup and a health certificate for proof. You might want to consider day boarding at times rather than to leave her in her crate in a hotel room. For example, Disney World has a pet resort, so pet parents can enjoy a full carefree day. Some doggie daycare places have branches throughout the country. It might be possible to book stays along the way with a company that is familiar to you and will provide consistent quality care.
Phone: Make sure your vet’s and animal poison control numbers are saved. Get a mobile app to keep your pet’s medical history and insurance information on file. Your vet may use a particular application that has the information filled in for you already. Also, there are apps that show where vets are located along your route, just in case. Get one of the many mobile apps that list pet parks, plus pet-friendly hotels, shops and eateries along the route so you can share more fun together. Bring photos in case she gets lost, or if you need to show proof of ownership.
ID: Make sure she has an updated, legible rabies tag, and a clearly readable identification tag. The American Kennel Club recommends bringing a second leash, collar and tags in case the original gets wet or lost.
For the Ride: A bath and clipped nails before the trip would benefit all car riders, plus a covering for the back seat, a car harness if necessary, and a favorite blanket and toys.
If your pet is going to stay in her crate anywhere for long periods of time, get a larger crate that has room for her to stand and move around.
Packing for Your Puppy: Bring a kit with toothpaste and toothbrush, a coat brush and a little dog shampoo. Pack her pet bed, crate, and a float vest for water fun. Don’t forget poop bags and a small bag container to attach to her leash or harness so they will always be handy. If you’re going to the beach, pack a sun umbrella.
Pack minor emergency measures such as a washcloth and saline for eyes, a vet-recommended fluid to clean out ears, a towel, wet wipes, gauze, antibiotic spray or ointment, Benadryl (get the proper dosage from your vet),, tweezers, alcohol and a tick remover, disposable rubber gloves, small blunt-ended scissors and sticky athletic wrap tape.
Excursions: For small dogs, take along a front pack pet carrier or a pet stroller to assist her on long walks and lengthy activities.
Food: Bring an insulated carrier with collapsible bowls, airtight pouches of wet food, an airtight container for kibble and treats, and bottled water.It’s important to keep her on as regular a diet as possible, with foods she is accustomed to. Bottles can be cooled on ice overnight and kept relatively cool in the insulated carrier pack during the day’s travels.
Travel Tips: Dogs are less likely to get car sick if they travel on a very light meal or an empty stomach, and can see outside to anticipate movement. Stop often to stretch legs and take a walk. Never leave your pet in the car, unattended. And leave no mess behind.