Blog Stress-Free Driving: Tips for Holiday Traveling with Your Dog
With the holiday season approaching, many people will be heading out on road trips. Some people prefer to take their dog with them, others prefer solo travel and instead choose to board their dog at a dog hotel or resort. For those who choose holiday travel with their dog, a little preparation goes a long way.
The following tips will help with preparing your dog for car travel, so the experience is stress-free for everyone in the family.
Prepare Your Dog with Basic Training
Before you head out on your long car trip with your dog, make sure to give your pooch some basic dog training. For example, he or she should know basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This will make it easier for your dog to travel and to meet new people.
You also want to train your dog to get used to being in his crate for a longer time. The best answer to what to give a dog before a long car ride is lots of practice in his crate. Make sure the crate is large enough and put blankets and toys inside it.
Get your dog used to being in the crate even before you hit the road. Your goal here is for your pup to feel that the crate is a positive and safe space.
Always Keep Your Dog Secured During the Drive
It is crucial to keep your furry friend secure while taking him or her on a road trip. If your dog moves around during the drive, he or she can distract you and cause an accident. Your pet also has a higher risk of injury during collisions without the proper restraints.
If your dog is small enough, about 15 pounds or less, just put his crate in the backseat. Make sure to secure it so it doesn’t move around. If your dog is larger, invest in a seatbelt harness or other car restraint or a size appropriate crate.
Keeping Your Dog Calm During the Ride
Some dogs will do perfectly fine without any extra need of preparing for car travel. Most, however, will want a bit of reassurance, especially for long car rides.
Consider putting your dog in a pressure wrap. The gentle pressure should help your dog relax and ease anxiety. You can also try giving him or her some calming chews. If you aren’t sure which ones to use, ask your vet what to give a dog before a long car ride. You should definitely consult your vet before giving your pup calming chews if he or she is on other medicines or has a chronic condition.
Remember Your Dog Will Be in a New Environment
As you’re doing a quick online search for “taking my dog on a road trip,” keep in mind that you also have to deal with introducing your dog to a new environment. At the end of your long car trip with dogs, you have to ensure that your dog is comfortable where you’re going.
As such, pack things your dog is familiar with, like the food bowls he uses at home or his favorite toy. And remember – accidents may happen and that’s okay.
Flying Instead of Driving?
You can adapt most of the above tips for any type of holiday travel with dogs, whether you are driving or flying. That being said, there are a few extra things to know if you fly with your dog, which we summarize here.
Remember, the least stressful experience for your dog may be to let them stay at Very Important Paws in West Palm Beach, they are in a familiar place, with familiar staff and familiar four-legged friends.