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“Pets understand humans better than humans do”

— Ruchi Prabhu

Bringing your furry friend on a road trip sounds like a pure delight. Most dogs love the open road and exploring new places. But as fun as it sounds, life on the road carries extra hazards that aren’t so good for dogs. Fortunately, you can prepare for and prevent many of these issues. To give you a jump on these problems, here’s how to have a safe and healthy road trip with your dog.

Be Sure They Want To Travel in the Car

You may not like leaving your dog with a friend or sticking them in a kennel while you’re gone, but if the alternative is a stressed-out dog in a moving car, you may want to reconsider. Some dogs take to driving right away, but it’s best to find that out early on versus discovering it on the road. If you want a traveling dog, start going on short trips and errands when they’re a puppy. It might break your heart to leave them behind, but it’s for the best if they hate traveling.

Pack Right

But let’s say your pooch is ready to hit the highway. No doubt you have your suitcases packed and your car prepared and equipped for you and your fellow human passengers. Now you need to throw in a few extras for your doggo! It’s best to bring along a bag of materials to make the drive less stressful for them. Pick up a carrier for dogs that need a place to hide. Purchase no-spill water and food dishes so they can eat and drink when necessary. Bring a favorite chew toy or stuffy, a leash, a blanket, a collar with contact information, and any medications they may need.

Plan With Pitstops in Mind

You’ll need to pull over every two hours to let your pooch do their business in a pet area or by the side of the road. Make those stops part of your itinerary, and add some exercise time to it so you can both stretch your legs. Look for dog parks and enclosed areas along the way so you can keep their enthusiasm in check and prevent them from running off into the woods or a similar natural area. Keep the leash handy. The excitement of leaving the car may overcome them. Watch for other dogs to avoid potential fights or injuries as well.

Stay Safe and Clean

Here are few more tips on how to have a safe and healthy road trip with your dog. First, use good sense and think about how your pup may hurt themselves during the journey. For example, don’t let your dog hang their head out the window while you’re driving. Dogs love it, but it multiplies the potential for injury during an accident or from road debris. Pack cleaning materials for inside accidents. Be considerate, and bring disposable bags for roadside stops! In short, be ready for anything your furry friend throws at you.

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