Taking Your Dog on a Road Trip

Bringing your dog along on your next vacation or day trip can be loads of fun. Follow these safety tips from a Portland veterinarian to ensure your travels are enjoyable for the both of you.

Acclimate Dog to Car

Some dogs don’t like car rides and are quite fearful of car travel—possibly because the only place the car ever takes them is the vet’s office! If your dog isn’t too keen on the car, you’ll need to get him acclimated to it before your trip starts.

Start slowly—introduce your dog to the car while it’s off, just sitting in the driveway. Eventually try turning the car on and letting your dog sit in it, still stationary. Work up to small drives around the block, making sure your dog isn’t agitated. Over time, your dog should come to get over his fear. Ask your veterinarian for more help on combating car fears before you try a long road trip.

Fasten Dog Securely

Once you’re ready to leave, it’s important to make sure your dog is fastened securely in the car. Not only can a free-roaming dog be dangerous, in the event of an accident your dog could be thrown around the car or even outside of it. Put your dog in a carrier or crate, or purchase a special dog seatbelt for maximum safety.

What to Bring

Food, water, bowls, a few favorite toys, and any medication your dog is taking are imperative items for longer rides. Also remember a leash and treats. Take a moment before you leave and consider anything your dog uses or needs on a daily basis—be sure to pack them so you don’t have to buy something new once you arrive at your destination.

Check Your Destination

Before you leave home, check to make sure your destination allows pets. Many hotels, motels, and even campsites don’t allow pets on the property. If you’re heading to a relative or friend’s house, make sure they’re okay with inviting your dog in for the length of your stay.

Call your Portland veterinarian for more helpful tips on keeping your dog safe and happy on your next road trip.