Traveling with your dogs can be a fun and rewarding experience, provided you're prepared in advance for the trip. Safely secure dogs in your vehicle from the start of the journey, either in harnesses or in crates to ensure they’re comfortable and protected. Just like people, dogs can get bored, tired and irritable on a long car ride, and they need planned activities along the way to keep them happy.
Talk to Your Vet
Take your dogs to the vet prior to your trip to make sure they’re in good health and up-to-date on vaccinations. Experiment with short trips before embarking on a long one, and if your pups experience carsickness or anxiety, talk to your vet about potential solutions for long-term travel, such as anti-nausea or anti-anxiety medicine to help them be more comfortable on the road.
In the Vehicle
Bring along chew toys like rawhides to distract your dogs and keep them occupied during the trip. Even though dogs love to stick their heads out windows, it's an unsafe practice that should be avoided. In addition to the potential for accident or injury, road debris can also get into your dogs’ eyes, ears and noses. Crack a window so they get fresh air, but don’t lower widows to a point where they can jump out or be even partially outside the vehicle.
Take Frequent Breaks
Limit the amount of food and snacks your dogs eat if they’re prone to carsickness, and plan your trip so you can take breaks every few hours in pet-friendly locations. You dogs need an opportunity to stretch their legs and run off energy in a safe environment. Have food bowls, water dishes and leashes on hand at break locations so you have everything your dogs need for a refreshing pit stop.
Find Pet-Friendly Hotels
Look for pet-friendly hotels and motels where you can bunk with your dogs. You may be required to pay a pet deposit for this privilege, but it helps you avoid the unsafe situation of leaving your dog in your vehicle unattended -- something you should never do. Be a good guest and clean up after your dogs and make sure they don't disturb other guests with their behavior.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.