Tips For Safely Taking Your Dog On A Road Trip
Road trips account for 39% of vacations taken by Americans. Many people prefer the flexibility of driving anywhere they want, packing as much as will fit in their car and being able to take their furry best friend with them. Your dog might need some training to be content in the car, particularly for rescue dogs who may not be used to it. Having your dog with you can make your road trip more enjoyable as you won’t be missing them and you’ll see how much fun they’re having too.
Get your dog used to being in the car
Being in the car for a long period of time can be a challenge for any dog, particularly energetic dogs and big dogs that don’t have much space to move. It’s important that your dog is trained to sit calmly in the car and that you follow any safety laws, which will vary depending on your location. Florida doesn’t have any laws about restraining dogs in a car, but Miami-Dade County law doesn’t allow pets to ride in the bed of a pickup truck and they must be in a secured carrier or safely restrained. Encourage your pooch to get in and out of the car and get them used to getting into a crate or being restrained, then give them a treat for doing so. Before going on your road trip get them used to short journeys, such as to visit local family and friends or to go somewhere new for a walk. This will get your dog used to the car, as well as teaching them that the car means they go somewhere exciting.
Remember, dogs can experience motion sickness just like humans, so frequent stops can be vital to relieve their symptoms and give them a chance to hydrate if they have been sick.
You may be able to drive for hours and hours at a time without needing to stop to eat, go to the toilet or just stretch your legs, but it’s unlikely your dog can. Stop somewhere safe every couple of hours and let your dog sniff around and do their business. Most rest areas off an interstate have designated pet areas but being directly off the interstate can make for a scary experience for a dog as semi-trucks drive by at 80 mph. If you bring a cable and tie down stake, you can cable your dog away from the highway so they have room to roam without being on a leash. This is especially important for dogs who are accustomed to a yard and are seldom walked. In Daytona Beach, the Halifax Humane Society has a public rest area and dog park located directly off I-95. This rest area is open from 7 am to 7 pm, so travelers need to plan accordingly. The dog park is fenced in and has a small and large dog area, so your dog is free to run and take care of business. The facility has vending and public restrooms for humans.
Stay at dog-friendly hotels
Taking your dog on your road trip does require some additional pre-planning. You can’t just drive until you’ve had enough for the day and find the nearest hotel to stay at as you need somewhere that your dog will be welcomed at too. There are lots of websites that make it easy to find and book dog-friendly hotels and b&b’s, or you could plan your route and phone ahead of time to see if places allow dogs. All Motel 6 motels allow dogs without a pet deposit and do not restrict the size or breed of the dog. If you have a large breed, more than one dog or breeds that may be restricted it’s best to check directly with the hotel beforehand to avoid being turned away after a long day of driving.
It can be beneficial to get your dog checked over by a vet before going on a long trip and they can offer you specific advice for your dog and where you’re going to. Many people travel to move to a new location. Last minute items like bedding, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc., all need to fit in the vehicle. The space allowed for the dog can shrink to accommodate these items. Make sure there is enough room for your best friend. Worse case leave the cleaning supplies for the next owner/tenant, and just buy new supplies once you arrive at your new home. If you take your dog on a road trip with you, make sure you’re prepared to consider their needs first to keep them happy, healthy and safe.