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Saturday, December 31, 2022

Dogs Who Travel

Travel rules, but you know what rules more? Dogs. I mean, that's just my opinion, but I love dogs and if I don't travel with mine, I'm making friends with pups on my trips. Eric doesn't take a ton of pictures, but he excels at capturing every dog  he sees, which always makes me smile when going through photos when I get home. Anyway, I thought I'd close out the year with a post full of happy photos, and useful tips for traveling with your dog.

I thought I'd close out the year with a post full of happy photos, and useful tips for traveling with your dog.

If traveling with your dog sounds like something you want to do, and also something you dog would enjoy, great! Let's talk about ways to make it easier and more comfortable for everyone involved:

Stay hydrated
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. I always bring along a collapsible bowl and a reusable water bottle of ice water. 

My pup, Pippa, in our dog car seat. She's very chill.

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. Your GPS can show you where rest stops are along your route, or you can download the iExit app. 

My British friend: Vincent Van Dog

Comfy up the car 
Make sure your dog feels comfy and safe in the car, especially if they get nervous like my last one. Our current dog will just flop over and take a nap, even if you're just driving around the block, but I still want her to be comfortable for long rides, so we bring her bed that 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. 

Make their crate awesome
I'm not a crate person, but only because our last 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.

If yours, like mine, is a good car rider and doesn't need a crate, then maybe just invest in a seat belt for them, which pretty much keeps them from roaming around while you're on the move and keeps them safe in case you get into an accident. I have this one that clips into your seat and onto their harness. It allows them to move around enough and it's adjustable.

My San Juan Islands dog pal: Rudy Blue

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 gave blanket/pillow/bed and some favorite toys and they'll be happier. Don't forget their normal food and treats, too.

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.

My pup, Rikka, who passed last year. She loved a sling.

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. Remember, if they are very particular, like they'll only eat off of one particular plate, make sure to bring that with. I made the mistake of trying to feed Rikka off paper plates and she haaaated it and I had to make a run to Target for a heavy plastic plate.
  • Invest in Doggles. We have a pair of Doggles sunglasses that Rikka used to wear at the beach or just lounging 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. If they won't tolerate them, but love to be outside, maybe a little brimmed hat/visor, and don't forget dog-friendly sunscreen for their sensitive ears and nose. They need protection just like you do.
  • 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. Maybe bring along a nice cooling collar, too. We have one like this and both dogs have loved it so far. You can get ice packs or use regular ice cubes (though those will be messier). We have one of these cooling mats as well, and it's a big hit, though a little slippery.
  • 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. This is a good one, and so is this one that's also adjustable, so it's great for short and tall people. 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.
  • 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.

How do you like to travel with your dog?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated monetarily should you make a purchase through them. I thank you in advance for supporting my site, but your dog will also thank you for making their travels awesome.

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