Spring is here and summer is close by, and that can mean only one thing: you have wanderlust! On stunningly bright blue days with fluffy white clouds dotting the skyline, who wouldn’t want to jump in the car and head to the nearest beach or hiking trail for a weekend vacation?
It’s only natural to want to get out and go when the weather is a perfect storm of cool breezes, blue sky and aromatic blooming flowers. But, as a responsible puppy parent, taking off whenever you feel like it just isn’t feasible. If you want to go anywhere for a few nights’ stay that’ll require bunking in the car, you’ll need to make sure your number one doggo is good to go.
Here are a few ways to keep your pup happy on extended family road trips.
Secure your pup. In many states, allowing your dog to roam freely in the backseat of a moving vehicle is illegal. Not only is this maneuver illegal, but if you were to be involved in an auto accident, your dog could sustain a serious injury. To keep your pup safe and feelin’ chill in the backseat, USA Today suggests investing in a dog seat-belt. A dog seat-belt is a type of harness that straps the pooch safely in the backseat while still giving them room to breathe, stretch out and relax.
To make sure your mutt is extra comfy, pack up one of his dog beds and lay it out on the seat. The familiar smells and textures of the bed will distract him from the moving vehicle anxiety some dogs suffer from and should hopefully help him to fall comfortably asleep.
Stop for potty breaks. Is anything ever more uncomfortable than when you need to use a restroom and there are none in sight? If you’ve mapped out the pit stops along the way of your weekend excursion (if not, you should!), make sure you’ve done the same for your four-legged traveling companion. Dogs need a potty break every 4-10 hours. And to keep from sitting too long and forming blood clots, you both should get out of the car and stretch your legs every two hours.
Should your dog in her excitement manage to get away from you, you’ll want to make sure she’s wearing something highly identifiable so she is easily found. A colorful personalized embroidered dog collar will make her easier to spot and will help fellow travelers know that she’s the pooch being sought after.
Keep the music down low. As much as you may want to turn your road trip playlist on at full blast, doing so could damage your pup’s sensitive ears. Instead, keep the volume turned down low and only have the music playing at the front of your car.
Pack goodies. Like children on long car rides, dogs can get bored and irritable. To keep your dog entertained while you look for the exit you need to take to get to your campsite, pack a few of their favorite toys, preferably toys that require a lot of chewing. The more focused they are on their toy, the less they’re crying out to be let in the front seat beside you.
Monitor the air flow. Make sure that the backseat isn’t too hot or too cold. To remain feeling well and fresh, your pupper will need her airflow to feel natural and relaxing. You may be tempted to roll the windows down so she can stick her head out and let her ears flap in the wind, but you must refrain from doing this. Jaymi Heimbuch of Mother Nature Network writes that this is dangerous as another motorist could come into contact with your pup’s head on the highway. And if your pup is unrestrained, they could jump or fall out of your moving vehicle, causing a fatal injury.
If you follow the canine ride safety tips above, you and your pupper will be in for a fun road trip together!