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Road Trip With Your Dog: Everything You Should Know

As more and more places become dog-friendly, pet owners are taking their furry friends with them on trips. However, keeping your pup comfortable during long car rides can be challenging. Our veterinarians at Diamond Bar Veterinary Clinic share 11 tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip with your dog.

Should I Take My Dog On A Road Trip?

The idea of taking a road trip with your furry friend can be a lot of fun and exciting. It can be a great way for your dog to experience new sights and places! However, if not executed properly, hours of traveling in a car can be very stressful for you and your pup.

A well-socialized dog who loves adventure is sure to enjoy the trip. If your dog is a bit of a couch potato, they may enjoy coming along for the relaxing drive and being with their human!

Either way, it is important to know the best practices to keep your dog entertained, healthy, and relaxed during a road trip.

11 Tips For Traveling With Dogs In A Car Long Distance

Our team at Diamond Bar Veterinary Clinic has compiled 11 tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip with your furry friend!

    1. Plan a pet-friendly route

    It's important to choose a route with safe rest stops and public fields for your dog's exercise and bathroom breaks.

    2. Make consistent stops

    It's essential to know how often to stop on a road trip with a dog before you begin your journey. According to most veterinarians, dogs must take a break from a car ride every 2 to 4 hours on average. The breaks should last at least 15 minutes, but longer breaks are better for them. 

    There are a few factors that could affect how many breaks your dog requires, such as their age and susceptibility to car sickness. If you are uncertain, it's recommended that you consult your veterinarian to determine how many breaks your furry friend should take during the trip.

    3. Plan meals accordingly

    Feed your pet a light meal three to four hours before you leave. While you're on the road, always stop when your dog needs food. Don't feed them in a moving vehicle to help avoid pet car sickness. 

    4. Never leave them in the car alone

    Leaving your dog alone in a parked car is unsafe, especially when the temperature is above 70°F or below 35°F. In such temperature conditions, your dog could be at risk of heatstroke or hypothermia, which can be fatal. Moreover, if passersby see your dog trapped inside the car, they may break your window to rescue your pet. Hence, it is essential to take proper care of your dog and not leave them unattended in a car.

    5. Pack the essentials

    Packing your dog's food and water, treats, medicine, toys, feeding bowls, poop bags, extra leashes, first aid kit, stain, and odor removers, and other supplies will help keep you out of stores so you have more time for adventures. Make sure to include your pet's health records, including recent immunizations.

    6. Pet Identification is a must

    It is important to have your pet microchipped and wear a collar with dog tags that include your name and phone number in case they go missing.

    7. Protect your dog and your car

    Keep your pet restrained during the ride. It isn't safe if they are hopping around the car while you're driving. There are products available, from harnesses and hammocks to car-safe crates.

    8. Wear them out ahead of time

    A tired dog is often well-behaved, so right before you leave for your trip, take your pet for a long run or a visit to the dog park. This will help ease travel anxiety and allow them to relax in the car.

    9. Provide entertainment

    Your dog can't always appreciate the radio like you. Aside from open windows and nice views, try to bring a chew toy for your dog to enjoy or a treat that takes a while to chew on, like a dog-safe bone or dental chew. 

    10. Don't ignore signs of anxiety

    If you have a dog, it's important to be aware that they might experience anxiety or discomfort, even if it's not something they typically struggle with. In order to address this, it's a good idea to have pressure wraps like a Thundershirt or calming supplements on hand. If you notice your dog exhibiting signs of anxiety, such as pacing, whining, pawing, vomiting, or excessive scratching while you're in the car, you can use these tools to alleviate their discomfort.

    11. Check in with your vet

    Make sure your dog is healthy enough to travel. If your dog is in their senior years or has any existing health conditions, ask your vet if travel is safe for them and make sure their vaccines and flea and tick prevention are up to date.

    Is It Worth It To Go on a Road Trip With My Dog?

    If you want to improve your dog's quality of life, it's important to take them on longer walks outside of the immediate neighborhood. Social and curious dogs will benefit from experiencing new environments and learning new things.

    However, it's normal for pet owners to feel uneasy about taking their dog on a long trip in the car, especially if it's their first time.

    By following the tips mentioned above and consulting with your veterinarian to address any special conditions your dog may have, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip with your furry companion.

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition. 

    If you are planning to travel with your dog, contact our Diamond Bar vets to update their vaccinations and receive flea and tick prevention for a safe trip!

    New Patients Welcome

    Diamond Bar Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Diamond Bar companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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