For many families around the country, summer means family road trips. Whether you’re driving across the state or across the country, road trips are as fun as they are stressful. There is no better way to bond with family and friends than packing up the car and traveling down the highways and back roads of the country. But for many families, a road trip includes more than just the human members of the clan. Many dogs will get to ride along this summer and throughout the year as more and more families decide to take pet-friendly vacations.
Here are a few tips for having the best experience when taking a road trip with your dog:
First of all, make sure you have the right-sized vehicle for handling an animal. Don’t force a medium-sized dog to spend hours in the back of a Honda Accord with all your bags. If this is your only option, you might be better off leaving the dog with a sitter while you’re gone. It’s recommended that wagons, SUVs, and minivans are used for long trips with an animal. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, AutoTrader has created a top-10 list for dog owners!
Dog Crate Sizes
Get a crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up in. If it is big enough for a standing dog then they should be able to get up and turn around during your trip. That is essential for the dog to find comfort during the trip. Get your dog used to the crate by having them use it a couple of hours a day for a week leading up to the trip. Here are some crate size guidelines by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
Take Some Test Rides
Make sure you put some miles on your dog before the trip! An experienced “rider” will be more easy-going in the car, so make sure to bring your dog along for rides leading up to the big trip.
Never Leave Your Dog Alone
Regardless of the outdoor temperature, we can not stress this enough: never leave your dog alone in the car. Even with your windows cracked, your car becomes a furnace in no time and can cause heatstroke for your animals. The American Kennel Club does a great job explaining the dangers of dogs left alone in cars.
Make Frequent Stops
Unlike human occupants, dogs are less capable of expressing their need for a restroom stop or for water. Failure to heed their needs can result in an unrequested present and a stinky remainder of the drive. Stop every few hours for your dog to go to the bathroom, a quick stroll, and a drink of water. Always attach a leash before you open the car door.