Summer is a short season in Minnesota and people here know how to make the best of it. Perhaps you have been planning your family vacation for months and now the time to hit the road is just days away. Like most families with a dog, you consider him part of the family and want to bring him on your trip. This can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be stressful if you fail to plan for your dog’s needs.
Some dogs, such as those who are elderly, sick, or get highly anxious in new situations, may be better off staying with a sitter or at a boarding kennel. You’re the best person to make that decision for your dog and your family.
It’s hard enough dealing with an illness or injury in your pet at home, much less when you’re traveling hundreds or thousands of miles away. We encourage you to bring your dog to Chaska Valley Veterinary Clinic several days before your trip for a preventive care exam. This ensures that she’s up-to-date on all vaccinations and healthy enough to take a long trip by car. If you have health or behavioral concerns about your dog that could come up on the trip, be sure to ask us for guidance.A Successful Road Trip with Pets Starts with Packing
It’s much easier to bring everything your pet needs for the road trip than to try to find stores along the way that have what he needs. It’s especially important to pack his regular dog food since you might not be able to find the same brand while on the road. Stick with his regular feeding schedule as closely as you can since travel can cause stress and excitement that leads to an upset stomach. Grooming supplies, a first aid kit, bowls for water and food, medications, a leash, his favorite toys, and bedding are all essential as well.
Tips for the Trip
Once you have packed the car, be sure to put your dog in a carrier or a safety harness. She might not like being restrained, but it’s for her own safety as well as everyone else in the car. A dog moving freely in a car is distracting for the driver and can be uncomfortable for the passengers. Here are some other tips we recommend:
- If your dog has gotten sick in the car in the past, don’t give him anything to eat while the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, people who choose to eat in the car should not share food with the dog.
- Plan to make frequent stops at rest areas to allow your dog to go to the bathroom, run off some energy, and eat and drink. Fresh water is especially important in hot weather so your dog doesn’t become dehydrated.
- Place your dog in the cab of your truck if you’re traveling by pick-up. This allows you to restrain her and is safer for everyone.
- Make sure that your dog has a microchip in case he does get away from you at a rest stop.
- Never leave your pet unattended in the car. It can become dangerously hot within a matter of minutes. He may also bark non-stop due to anxiety and cause a disturbance for others.