Jack Russell Terrier Dog Enjoying a Car Ride.Spring is on the horizon! It may not feel like it outside yet, but the calendar promises that greener days are on their way. Think spring cleaning! Open windows! Picking up the yard after the snow melts! (oh wait…) Think of hitting the open road with your tongue flapping in the wind! Well, maybe not you, but someone in your family…

For many of us, warmer weather leads to thoughts of road trips and camping, pouring over maps, and (for our four-legged friends) finding new trees to pee on! While it’s purr-fectly acceptable to find a good kennel or dog sitter and head off into the wild blue, the thought of family vacation without your dear dog may be unacceptable. Here are a few ideas to make traveling with your pooch safer and more fun…

Tips and Tricks for Traveling With Dogs

  • Updated ID tags – Make sure your dogs tags have your cell number on them so you can be reached on the road in case your dog decides to have a solo adventure. It’s also advised that you have your dog microchipped, especially when traveling. Tags can fall off (or be taken off), and microchipping adds an extra layer of security in that regard.
  • Health records – Have current copies of vaccinations and medical history with you. Many hotels require proof of vaccination at check in and, if you need to go to the vet, having your pet’s records on hand could be lifesaving.
  • Packing – You’ll want to make sure you pack your pup plenty of food and fresh water (and bowls), as well as a travel blanket and toy or two. Consider a toy that challenges your dog mentally, so that he or she doesn’t get bored in the car or your hotel room. Don’t forget any meds your pet may need, either.
  • Car safety – You buckle up for safety, and so should your pet! While smaller pets may be safer traveling in their crates, larger dogs are best served by travel harnesses (think doggy seat belts). If you opt to let your pet free range while in your car, make sure he or she stays off your lap and that the child lock for your power windows is off. You also may want to consider freezing some water in a bowl for the car as well, your pet can lap at the block as it melts to stay hydrated in the car. Never leave your pet unattended in your vehicle! Not even for a moment.
  • Hotels – If your dog is crate trained, this will be the best way to make a hotel stay an easy one. Not only does the crate minimize the risk of damage to the room, but it also provides a familiar place for your best friend to relax in an unfamiliar setting. Be sure your pup gets plenty of exercise and ample opportunity to relieve himself before turning in for the night, and don’t leave him or her alone in the room for extended periods of time (if at all).
  • Camping – regulations for parks and campgrounds is super easy, so don’t be caught off guard by a surprise rule.
  • This seems like a lot of ‘don’ts’ and a lot of rules for something that is supposed to be fun, but really it just boils down to being prepared (like the good scout you are!). Traveling with your four-legged friend can be extra fun if you plan ahead… so go have fun! And send us a postcard!