Traveling with Your Pup

It's an exciting day for me, pals! My mama just told me that my cousin Nettie (the adorable pup in the picture below) is coming to visit us next month!

Her puppy parents haven't ever taken her on a road trip before, and I overheard my mama giving Nettie's mama some tips. This, plus all the excitement of thinking of how many awesome walks/sniffs Nettie and I will have together in the great city of Durham, have inspired me to make a list of doggy travel tricks and tips:

  1. Take a test drive. I LOVE going for car rides. They usually mean good things like visiting state parks, going to dog-friendly bars and restaurants and just generally spending time with my humans while getting to sniff new and exciting things. While I enjoy the car, your pup may not. If you're unsure how your furry friend will do in the car for an extended period of time, take a test drive. This way, if there are any major issues, you'll be closer to home and can try to find solutions for the actual trip.
  2. Keep the belly happy. My humans give me plenty of time to digest my breakfast before we hit the road -- usually a minimum of 30 minutes. Similarly, if it's a particularly long trip where I'll need to eat dinner and hop back in the car, they'll feed me first, and then I sit and digest while they stretch their legs, eat their dinner and take a potty break. They also pack plenty of my food for the trip. Even though there are tons of stores that carry my food, they still don't want to take the chance of having to change up my diet on the fly (read: inevitable doggy diarrhea). And don't forget the food bowl!
  3. Pack extra water, treats and more treats. My mama just gave me a side-eye for listing treats twice, but COME ON. Don't we pups deserve noms for being such good kids on car rides? Just like bringing your dog's regular food, a long car ride is not the time to try out new treats. Stick with what you know your pup likes and doesn't bother the belly. Also, we need something to wash down those treats with, right? Bring plenty of extra water to ensure your pup is well hydrated.
  4. Pick up the poop. All this food/treat talk leads me to my next point -- Poop bags. Some rest stops have doggy bathroom areas with clean-up supplies, but you can't count on it. Be sure to keep a bunch of poop bags in your car to clean up after your pup. Your fellow road warriors will thank you.
  5. Keep your pup safe. A leash is an obvious must-have as well as a collar with your pup's ID tag that includes your cell number. In addition, bring a copy of your dog's medical records in case you have to make an emergency vet visit. Another good idea is to snap a picture of your pup and keep it on your cell phone and/or email it to yourself just before you leave. If your pup happens to get loose during your trip, you can use this picture to create signs to help people identify your pal. 
  6. Keep your pup clean. A towel for muddy paws and wet fur is a must-have for the road trip. Also, a supply of doggy wipes are great for an on-the-road "bath" in case your pup gets dirty. Finally, bring paper towels and a small bottle of dog-safe cleaner just in case your pup has an accident in the car.
  7. Keep your pup happy. Even though you might be able to power through long car rides with minimal stops, your dog will be much happier (and more prone to napping) if you take extra time for walk/potty breaks. Also, staying in a new place like a hotel room can be stressful, so find ways to keep your dog comfortable. Bring his/her bed and favorite toy so that your dog has things that are familiar. If your dog sleeps in a crate at home, be sure to bring that as well. 
  8. Enjoy the ride! I've been lucky enough to go on quite a few trips with my humans, and they've been some of the best memories of our lives. Be sure to take a lot of pictures of your adventures and enjoy your time together!

What travel tips do you have? Share them with us in the comments!

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