When I was a kid, my family went on a lot of road trips. We'd pile into the car with our dog and drive all over the U.S., exploring new places, and meeting new people along the way. Now that I'm older, I'm still able to enjoy these experiences with my own dog, although it does require a little more planning than when I was younger.
I love flying, but when I bring my dog, we always drive to make it easier and make stops along the way. However, even driving with your dog on a road trip can be easier with some helpful travel tips.
1) Check Your Dog's Health and Obtain Any Needed Health Certificates
Before you even consider taking your dog on a trip, make sure they are healthy enough to travel. Before you hit the road with your pup, make sure he or she is up-to-date on vaccinations and has been wormed.
A vet check-up is a good idea too, as it will give you peace of mind that everything is in order. You might also want to consider getting a health certificate from your vet if there's any doubt about whether or not your dog can handle air travel if you happen to be traveling by plane. For example, if he's overweight you'll want to make sure air travel will be acceptable for them.
2) Don’t Be In A Rush
If you're stressed and in a hurry to get somewhere, your dog is going to sense your anxiety. Try to avoid rushing your trip if possible.
If you take your time, you're able to enjoy your surroundings, and so is your dog. The sights, the smells, the new people. Of course, the difficulty of the trip also depends on how socialized your dog is.
My dog has been around many different sights, smells, and environments since he was a puppy. This makes him incredibly easy to travel with. If your dog lacks socialization and you're planning a trip, let's say, three months away, there IS time to acclimate your dog to new surroundings.
Of course, socialization is an entire topic in itself, but to sum it up, use your judgment and take your dog places with new "things" wherever that may be, in areas he or she will still be comfortable. Even slow socialization is progress.
Get him used to new and unusual experiences by taking him with you on errands around town, introducing him to new people and other dogs, and showing him that he's in a safe place.
If this is your first time traveling with your dog, remember that every person he meets will be new—so make sure that he's comfortable around strangers before you pack up your bags and hit the road!
3) Take Plenty of Breaks
Taking breaks every couple of hours while driving isn't only helpful to your dog, but also helpful to you. This provides both of you with time to stretch and use the bathroom.
Most of the time my dog is sitting on the passenger seat next to me or lying down, but once he appears antsy I know it's time for him to take a break to go for a quick walk or use the bathroom.
Basically, what I'm talking about is keeping an eye on your dog's body language. Every dog is different and you know your dog the best.
If he seems restless or begins pacing or whining in the back seat, pull over on the next exit and let him out to use the bathroom; otherwise, accidents can happen inside the car. Plus, if our dogs know they aren't "stuck" in the car during car rides, they will be less likely to connect car rides with something negative.
4) Look for Pet-Friendly Hotels in Advance
If your road trip is long enough to need a hotel stay, book it in advance if possible. If you aren't sure of your stops on the way, you can also call hotels or look at BringFido.com to find a hotel that is pet-friendly.
You should not assume that every hotel accepts pets; there are many that don't. Most hotels also have specific rules about what breeds they allow, weight limits, size requirements, breed restrictions (such as Pit Bulls, Dobermans, or German Shepherds), and other restrictions like breed-specific bans from certain cities or counties.
The reason why this information is so crucial is because most hotels don't actually have signs indicating whether or not they're pet friendly, and even if they do have signs posted outside their doors, these are often outdated or inaccurate.
The best way to know exactly what kind of pets are allowed at a given establishment is to ask someone in charge directly before you book a room there.
5) Grab a Doggy Seatbelt
If your dog isn't traveling in a crate, wearing a seatbelt is highly recommended. Of course, dogs don't generally wear the traditional seatbelt found in our vehicles. Fortunately, there are companies that have developed specialized seat belts that attach to our dog's harnesses or collars.
In the event of an accident, this keeps not only your dog safe, but you and your family as well. For smaller dogs, there are also doggy seats that can be incredibly comfortable for them.
6) Use CBD To Help Reduce Stress During Travel
CBD can help your dog stay calm and relaxed throughout their travel experience. And it does not have any of the side effects that other medications might have—it is completely safe for both humans and animals!
CBD is a natural compound found in hemp plants, but it is also legal—and 100% non-psychoactive. That means it won't get your dog high, but it will help them relax and feel better during your trip. Bringing a product with you for the ride, like Canine Cush, can make their trip and yours much easier.
The most important thing is to start giving your dog CBD as soon as possible before they travel so they can get used to taking it. Take them on short trips around town first, then gradually increase the distance between each trip until they're ready for long journeys. Observe their behavior compared with how they would react without the CBD.
Take These Steps For a Smooth Trip With Your Dog
If you’re going to be traveling with your dog, the first step is to make sure he’s healthy enough for the journey. It also helps if he’s already accustomed to new and unusual experiences like car rides and hotel rooms. Also keep in mind that some breeds aren’t suited for travel because of their size or temperament—and even if your dog isn’t one of those breeds, always keep him on a leash when outside!
And, don’t forget about one of the best ways to travel with a dog: Use a high-grade CBD supplement for dogs to enhance the body’s natural systems for calmness and stability.