Many of us are hitting the road this summer to avoid airports and people. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore California’s beautiful landscapes, National Parks and coastal towns. And with so many dog-friendly camp sites and parks to chose from, it’s no wonder more people are opting to take their dog along.
If you are planning a big road trip and thinking about taking your dog along, here are a 6 practical tips to help you plan for your big adventure.
Exercise Before You Go
Long road trips means a prolonged period of time without activity for your dog. Depending on the breed of dog, this could be a big problem. Lack of proper exercise and stimulation can cause stress, anxiety, and destructive and disruptive behavior.
Before heading out, make sure your dog gets a longer walk than normal or for active / working breeds, maybe a long run. It’s also smart to tucker them out the day before. Consider taking them to doggy daycare for a full day, on a rigorous hike or a long day at the beach the day before you leave. This will help reduce your dog’s energy level for the trip.
Safety First – Buckle Up, Dogs Too
Some dogs sit nicely in the back seat while others race around causing all sorts of commotion. Regardless, your dog should be secured in the car either in a crate, or by using a dog seat belt or runner. This will ensure they are kept safe in the event of a car accident, and also you want prevent your dog from jumping on you or in the front passenger seat, which in itself could cause an accident. Try the Kurgo Auto Zip Line or Direct to Seat Belt Tether for a safe and secure ride.
In general, dogs require ½ to 1 ounce of water per day per pound. The larger the dog, the more water intake is required (which also means more potty breaks). Try to give your dog water every 2 hours. Get a travel water bowl so it’s easier to hydrate on the go.
Plan Your Pit Stops (Potty Breaks)
For longer trips, it’s important to plan out water breaks and then subsequent potty breaks. The amount of breaks will greatly depend on the breed and age of your dog. Smaller breeds and puppies require more potty breaks than larger breeds and adults. Senior dogs may also need additional breaks.
For puppies, you can determine how many hours they can hold their bladder by their age, 4 month equals 4 hours, 5 months equals 5 hours and so on until they reach 8 hours, which is the maximum amount of time an adult dog should wait to urinate.
On average dogs go #2 about 2-3 times a day; however this can be as much as 5 to 6 times a day depending on their diet. Dog foods with higher nutritional content, like raw diets, typically result in less frequent bowl movements.
We suggest feeding and pottying your dog well before the road trip, and then pottying every 4-6 hours depending on the breed and age of the dog and the length of the road trip.
Some dogs will sleep in the car while others need more activities to keep busy. Having lots of activities will keep your dog distracted, so they don’t distract you or get anxious on the trip. You’ll need to pack a few of their favorite chew treats like raw hides or bully sticks, a stuffable treat, or puzzles like Orbee Tuff Mazee by Planet Dog.
Take Your Food To-Go
For longer road breaks, you will eventually stop to eat, and that may mean having to leave your dog in the car. However, if the temperature is greater than 70 degrees, get your food to-go. Opening windows will not keep your dog from overheating or potentially dying.
Cars act like greenhouses and trap heat. Even with cracked windows, internal car temperatures can rise over 30 degrees above the outside temperature. So with an outside temperature of 70 degrees, the inside of your car will reach 89 degrees in 10 minutes and 104 degrees in 30 minutes – too dangerous for your dog.
Related Article: Ultimate Pet Travel Checklist
Have you taken a road trip with you dog recently? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
Updated on July 8, 2020. First published by San Diego Pets Magazine on July 3, 2013. Written by: Andrea Servadio, Co-founder of Fitdog. San Diego Pets Magazine offers captivating stories and resources that promote the amazing San Diego Pet lifestyle. Twitter: @SanDiegoPets
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Examiner.com, 6 Travel Pet Tips From Fitdog Sports Club Examiner.com launched in April 2008, to provide freelancers across the United States with a platform to share their knowledge and expertise through informative and entertaining content. Twitter: @rileyrants