For some of us, pets are not only great friends but also part of our families. Hence the strong temptations to bring them along whenever we are going for a family road trip. However, traveling with your pet, just like traveling with a toddler, is a stressful endeavor that could go fatally wrong if you’re not careful enough. It requires lots of planning, care, and alertness to keep you and your dog safe during your trip. Below is a simple guide on how you can make that road trip with your dog fun without compromising on your road trip safety.
The type of car you drive can either make it enjoyable for you and your furry friend to travel together or make it a frustrating experience altogether. Thus, even before looking at whatever else you need to put in place, it’s essential to ensure that your car is up to the task. Depending on the size of your dog and the traveling distance, you need a vehicle that:
- Is spacious enough to ensure comfort for both the human passengers and the four-legged ones.
- Has low floors to allow for easy boarding and disembarking.
- Has inner covers that are easy to clean for obvious reasons.
- Has a functional temperature control system to keep your pet cool and comfortable.
- Regarding this, a minivan or any spacious SUV would be the best car for traveling with your pet.
How to Travel with a Dog Cross Country
Most of the tips we’ve given apply better for short to medium distance travel. Long distance trips require slightly more prep and alertness, however. Here are some pointers on how to travel with a dog cross country:
1. Safety First When Traveling With Your Dog
Like humans and luggage, dogs can get hurt or act as projectiles during accidents if not secured properly. You can keep your pet safe by securing them to the seat belts by their harness or using a crate/box made purposely for transportation pets. For the boxes, choose ones that are big enough to allow movement and ventilation.
2. Make Rest Stops
Dogs are not accustomed to staying for long in enclosed spaces such as moving vehicles and can get extremely fussy during long drives. On the trip, make stops every 2 hours or so and walk your dog around to allow him to freshen up, take a dump and expend some energy.
3. Carry Everything You Need
It is worth noting that not every town you get to will have a dog shop, so you have to carry everything your dog needs. Before the trip, ask yourself; what do you need for a dog while going on a long drive? Depending on the breed, age and size of your dog, this may include several leashes, his feeding bowl, treats, etc. To save time, put them all together a small back, so you know where to look if the need arises.
For puppies and smaller-sized animals, it’s best to move them around in a small dog carry bag which can be found in your local dog shop or Amazon.
Animal Transport Cost to Consider
Traveling with your pet may be costly depending on factors such as the animal’s health, the length of the trip and whether you’re using personal or public transport. Generally, the animal transport costs to consider are:
- Medical Bills – It’s imperative to keep your pet vaccinations up to date at all times; that you know. When traveling, even the smallest medical problems can prove problematic, and you may need an impromptu visit to a vet, so you need to put aside some bucks for that.
- Food – Stocking up on all food items your pet needs helps to keep him calm and affable but it’s not that cheap either.
- Transportation – If your dog is one of those big American breed dogs that are large, some airlines or bus companies may demand that you purchase an extra ticket.
As big a part of your life, your four-legged pet deserves the world, which includes accompanying you on your road trips and tours. While at it, it is essential to consider the necessary costs and precautions to make the most out of your journey and avoid regrets.
What are your tips for pet-owners looking to travel with their animals? Drop them in the comments below!
About the writer
Rachel Burns is an animal lover and journalist based in Dallas. Writing about animals is a job of her dreams. When she’s not writing or spending time with her beloved dog, Charles, she enjoys road cycling. Connect with Rachel on Facebook.