Summer Road Trips with your Pets Vol. 2

Head out onto the road with your dog this summer! Being sure of everyone’s safety and security along the way is critical, as is having fun!

Welcome back! This week is time for the second installment of traveling with your pets: ON THE ROAD! Are you excited? I’m getting excited remembering the trip. Where are you planning to go? Are you camping, staying in hotels, traveling with an RV? All carry their own rules.

  • most campgrounds require you to keep your dog on leash at all times. Do you have a tie out line? That way you don’t need to be holding a 6ft leash the entire night.
  • Often hotels will charge an additional pet fee and/or only rent certain rooms to people with pets. Planning ahead here is your best friend – the internet can generally tell you anything you need to know, and Google can filter search results by being pet friendly.

Royce is all set to head out! He’s got his comfy bed and his seatbelt on! (he’s not a big fan of modeling, however…)

Anticipate your pet spending long hours sitting in one place (just like you) and make it comfy for them! My best suggestion is to bring one of their beds from home and put it in the car. Not only is it likely more comfy than the car seat, but it smells like home, which can be a comfort if your dog is easily stressed.

(A side note for easily stressed dogs: consider having something like a pheromone spray to spritz in the car anytime you are worried about their stress level. Please remember though that the product is alcohol based, so don’t spray it while you are in the car, and give it 5-10 minutes to evaporate before getting back in.)

everyone and make for valuable leg-stretching time outside of the car, but watch the temperature and make sure you bring enough water for every member of your party!

Safety PSA: for traveling in the car, a crate is absolutely the gold standard. It will protect your dog in the event of an accident, and will keep them from getting into the things in the packed car, if they are so inclined. In my case, a crate big enough to keep Royce comfortable for long hours would be prohibitively large in my little Honda Fit, so I went with option B – a seat belt. You can get a connecting strap to attach to their harness (attaching it directly to a collar is NOT recommended due to the risk of choking) which clips into the seat belt, and will both keep them safer in the event of an accident, and keep them from bolting should you be incapacitated. It also allows them the freedom of movement to sniff the new air and turn around to get comfortable.

Does your dog like new smells?? (are there any that don’t?) Feel free to open the window for them to experience the world flashing by, but make sure to keep it high enough that they can’t stick their whole head out. A bug at that speed could do serious damage to their eyes.

Long grasses and an obedient companion make for excellent photos, but checking everyone over for ticks after a romp through the grass would not be a terrible idea…

Additional safety PSA: we’ve all heard it a hundred times but it bears mentioning again. DO NOT. Absolutely DO NOT leave your dog in a hot car. Cracking the windows an inch or two does not provide them enough ventilation. Many restaurant patios and even some stores will allow dogs on leash, so there is no cause for this. Even if Fido isn’t allowed in the store, have one member of your party wait outside somewhere in the shade with your dog while the other member(s) run into the store. One more time. DO NOT leave any living thing inside a hot car for any period of time (this is also cruel for your children/significant other/mother in law). Just no one.

All in all, taking a road trip with your dog can be a great experience (and can alleviate the concern of who will watch them when you’re gone), and much like children, seeing them enjoy life so thoroughly can be invigorating for you! Whether you’re just headed out to the Okanagan for a couple of nights, down on a whirlwind trip to San Fran like myself, or out to live a life of travel and excitement long term in a campervan, a little research on what to expect can save you worry, time, and money along the way.

So get out there with your dog and explore this wide world of ours!

Have a stellar summer!

– Janet and Royce