Bringing your dogs on your next adventure can be a great way to spend some quality time with your furry friend. Many state, local and national parks accommodate canine companions.
However, before you hit the road with your pal, make sure you’re properly prepared to make this adventure feel like just another walk in the park.
Take a test drive
Before hitting the road, make sure your pet is comfortable in the car. Observe their behavior and consult a veterinarian on potential treatment options if they show any signs of motion sickness or anxiety, which can include gagging, vomiting, drooling or excessive panting.
If you plan to take your pet camping, schedule a physical examination with your veterinarian prior to your departure date. During this examination determine if your dog is healthy enough to travel and camp. You can ensure your pet’ss safety by checking to see if they’re up to date on vaccines and discuss parasite prevention and other preventive care to help decrease the risk of disease transmission while exploring.
Plan your route
Stopping every couple of hours is a good idea, but older pets and puppies may need more frequent potty breaks, so take time to plan your stops. Map out pet-friendly places for potty breaks and places for you and your pet to stretch. Interstate rest areas are often a great option to take a break but keep in mind you might have to alter your plans due to COVID-19-related closures and updated pet policies.
Common sense practices should always be taken to ensure safe travels. The first step: choosing the right travel harness.
While some harnesses may be fine for day-to-day walks, that same harness may not be suitable to attach to a seat belt and securely restrain them to the seat. According to the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) many harnesses aren’t adequate for their ability to keep your pet secure in case of a crash. "Pet travel harnesses come in two forms, those that only prevent distraction and those that provide actual crash protection—select a quality crash-tested harness to protect your pet if an accident occurs."
Be aware of the dangers of warm and hot cars. According to The Zebra, From 2018-2019, 78 pets suffered heat stroke and died in a hot car. It's important to never keep your pet in a car on a warm or hot day. Even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car can quickly reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more within minutes. These conditions can be fatal to a pet within 10 minutes or less.
Pack for your pet
Pack a separate bag with all your pet’s supplies to make it easier to find what they need. Having their favorite toys and blankets can bring them comfort in unfamiliar environments.
Use this handy packing checklist:
Travel carrier or safety harness for traveling
Crate or bed for sleeping
Extra leash, collar and/or harness, poop bags
Food and water bowls (portable and anti-spill make great travel options)
Food and teats for entire trip plus extra (plus a can opener if needed)
Medications, first aid kit
Health certificate, proof of vaccinations, up-to-date identification tags
Before you reserve a spot and pack up the car, make sure allows dogs. National and state parks list this information on their websites, and many reservation systems provide custom fields so you can select "pet friendly" camp sites.
Most campgrounds require your pup to remain leashed during your stay, and inside your tent or vehicle at night, so pay attention to your campground’s specific guidelines. Many also have a maximum length of leash your dog must be on, which you should keep in mind when choosing which leash to bring.
Wherever you decide to go for your outdoor adventure, check beforehand to find the nearest animal ER. In the event of an emergency, you won’t want to waste time trying to track down the closest vet.