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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Roadtripping With Your Dog

If I could, I'd take my dog everywhere. Unfortunately, she isn't welcome everywhere even though she's small and better behaved than most children. With more people hitting the road this summer than ever, because it's safer than air travel and being around a bunch of people, you have more options for bringing the dog with you on any trips.

When we travel, we usually leave her at home with my mom, but if we road trip it, chances are pretty good that she's going along for the ride. (See what I did there?) If your furry best friend likes to jump in the car and take a vacation (even a short one), here are some great tips to make it friendly and fun for them as well.

Keep cool
So, its pretty hot in the car and in the summer. Our car doesn't have that fancy dual a/c switch to control the front and the back separately (I have a Kia Rio, it's not THAT big), so to keep the dog cool while driving, we basically have on Max AC and point the vents all at the ceiling so the air gets to her and we freeze our faces off. Another great idea is a Kool Collar. It has a mesh side that goes against your dog's neck that simulates evaporation sweat - because dogs can't do that and wear fur coats all the time - by using ice or their fancy ice packs. We use it at home, we use it at the beach, we use it at the park. No panting. My dog loves it.

You can also invest in a cool mat, which can be put in their crate or bed. They are a bit slide-y, but they make a big difference in keeping your dog's body temperature down. We have a pressure-activated one, which means it doesn't need anything special, but I bet your dog might like it if you could pop it in the fridge or cooler for a bit before you start traveling (don't let it get too cold though). 


Just like you, dogs need to keep hydrated. If you don't have one of those non-spill bowls that are all the rage for travel times, stop for water breaks for everyone, but mostly for your pup, because they don't have thumbs for opening a water bottle. Rikka won't drink while we're moving, so I keep a collapsible silicone bowl in the car and a thermos of ice water. 

Yes, my dog has her own carrier bag, because she's old and gets tired easily.

Make pit stops 

Your dog also can't let you know they are dying for the potty. All that extra water has to go somewhere. Check out the rest areas along your way and plan to stop every few hours to let them do their business and stretch their legs. If you also have kids, you're probably doing this anyway. Then you won't be driving 19 hours straight and swear off road trips forever like that last time.

Comfy up the car

Make sure your dog feels comfy and safe in the car, especially if they get nervous like mine. We bring her bed so we can also bring it inside wherever we stay for the night. She also has her own car seat that allows her to see out the window, be contained and also take a nap.

       She likes the bed, but can't jump up or down, so we made her own little version on the floor when we left.

Make their crate awesome 

I'm not a crate person, but only because my dog spent much of her life in one her first three years and I was sad for her, so I gave her the choice. She spent less and less time in there, so we put it in the garage. If your dog loves their crate, or it's the best way to travel with them not climbing all over everyone and getting in the way, make sure it's comfortable enough to spend hours at a time in. Get them a cushion or blanket so it's soft and inviting.

Jerky's the best, no matter where you are 😁 

Bring home with you 

Just like I like to have a little bit of home with me, dogs feel comforted by something familiar. Bring along a fave blanket/pillow/bed and some toys and they'll be happier.

Stay on schedule

If you feed and walk your pup on a schedule, try to keep as close to that timetable as possible (even if you're giving extra walks and treats - because exercise makes you hungry). It'll keep them from getting confused and feel more normal even in a different place. 

Do some research 

Make sure you know where you can take your dog and where you can't. Find the number of a vet near where you'll be staying. Just in case. Look for dog parks and pet-friendly dining establishments. Many people bring their dogs to the Oregon beaches, so a lot of stores don't mind you shopping with a well-behaved pooch.

Plan ahead

Make sure you're prepared for all the things you're going to do or might happen while you're away from home. Here's a list of what to plan for:
  • bring an extra collar/leash, because you never know when one will get broken or lost.
  • their fave food is obvs to some. Don't take this as an opportunity to have them sample new cuisines. It'll just make them sick.
  • Invest in Doggles. We have a pair of Doggles sunglasses for Rikka to enjoy sitting out in the sun. If your pup likes to stick their head out the window, a pair of dog goggles are good for protecting their eyes from flying debris and might save you a trip to an unknown vet.
  • Going hiking or somewhere hot? Get your pup some shoes. Their paws are pretty sensitive, so you gotta protect them, just like your own feet. If you can't keep the back of your hand on the asphalt/sidewalk for 10 seconds comfortably, don't expect your dog to be able to walk without burning their feet.
  • Bring a life jacket. If your dog likes to jump in the water, make sure they're safe. There are a lot of great ones, including ones that have both a handle and a ring for a leash clip. 
  • Pack a carrier. My little one gets tired fairly easily, so when she starts to lag behind we scoop her up and carry her in a doggie sling (see above pic). She can rest and still be part of things. It's also good for when we head into some shops. 
  • Download some phone apps to find dog parks, rest stops & dog-friendly restaurants. I like iexit and dogfriendly.
  • Things happen. Look up your route along the way and find emergency vet addresses and numbers to have on hand just in case.
  • Don't forget meds/supplements if your dog normally takes them. You can always keep them in the cooler with your snacks and beverages.
  • Make sure your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations and flea medication.
  • Bring along a first aid kit with items that will work for your dog (gauze, self-sticking wrap, a soft muzzle, etc), because you never know what might happen on a trip or how your dog will react.
Don't forget to bring along your Coronavirus safety kit when you travel to stay safe and healthy! 

How do you like to travel with your dog?

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