The summer road trip is an iconic part of the American landscape, whether you’re shuttling the family to a far-away theme park or embarking on a pilgrimage to see the world’s largest non-stick frying pan. Adding your furry friends to the passenger list can not only allow them to experience the pit stops and destinations right along with you, but it can also provide you and your family with a bit more companionship on the long road ahead.
That being said, bringing your pets along for your road trip can also add a few problems and pitfalls, which is why it’s important to start your trip off prepared and informed. So, we’ve gathered together five essential steps to making your road trip a safe and enjoyable experience for the whole family.
1. Make a Packing Checklist
You likely already have a running list of what to pack for your trip, but it’s important to review your list one more time with the needs of your furry friend in mind. Complete, balanced, and shelf-stable, our Freeze-Dried Nuggets are an easy way to bring wholesome nutrition along for the ride.
In addition to food, there are the essentials—crate, leash, food and water bowls, ID tags, waste bags, and treats. A few extra towels and paper towels can clean up the additional mess your pets might make, and a few engaging (yet quiet!) toys can help keep your fur babies calm and content.
2. Get Your Vehicle "Pet-Ready"
While you’re driving, safety is a priority at all times throughout the entire vehicle, and even the most well-behaved dogs and cats can get a bit restless after hours of travel. So, a crate, carrier, or car harness is essential for keeping your pet safe for the duration of the drive. It can be very tempting for pups to climb under and over seats or invade your lap for a good look at the ever-changing scenery outside. This can be a potential hazard, and a “pet-ready” vehicle can help you prevent that!
3. Pick Pet-Friendly Pit Stops & Destinations
When setting off down the road with your pets, it’s important to realize that not all your possible pit stops will be friendly to your furry companions. For example, most museums and indoor exhibits, as well as many amusement parks and carnivals, have policies against bringing along your dog or cat. Of course, your family can always split into groups to better enjoy these entertainments apart from the pets, but there are also many road trip destinations where this isn’t a problem. Parks, lakes, rivers, and forests are the perfect playgrounds for the whole family and select hotels offer pet-friendly accommodations, oftentimes with an associated fee.
4. Talk to Your Vet Beforehand
A quick visit to the veterinarian can ensure that your pet is healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations. Additionally, you can use this time to ask questions about problem-solving things like car sickness and significant restlessness. Finally, it’s never a bad idea to look into having your pet marked with a microchip, or to simply update your information on file. While no one invites these scenarios, a missing pet when you are traveling can be a terrifying experience.
5. Brush Up on Basic Commands
Your road trip is supposed to be a time to relax and have fun, so it’s important to be mindful of situations that could become stressful or dangerous. It can be frustrating to deal with a pet who will not listen to commands, especially when you’re in a new environment surrounded by other people and other animals. So, taking some time before the trip to practice your most basic commands, such as “Come” and “Heel,” could help both you and your pet feel more confident in the trip going forward.
Now double-check your cargo, gas up the car, and hit the road!
Banner Image: @grizzlythehuskybear