Hit the Road, Jack!

Landscape photo of a smiling woman and her golden retriever on a pebbled path in a national park

Ah, the open road! Sunny days and long drives may be one of the great American pastimes. The wind in your face, listening to your favorite tunes, tongue hanging out. For some pups, the car is the place to be. Taking a road trip with your happy travelers can be as rewarding as it is challenging. Making sure you have all your supplies and gear, along with theirs, can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, we have great resources to help fill you in.

Frequent road-tripper, Kristen Beatty, spent months on the road with her pup, Franklin, traveling the nation’s national parks. Both she and the experts, have some great tips to share:

1. Find a veterinarian to consult before embarking on a trip, especially if your pet hasn’t traveled before or if you have any health concerns. Before a long trip, take some shorter drives around town with your pet to see how they respond. Take longer and longer ones as you get nearer to your departure date. If your pet gets really anxious, consult your veterinarian to see what they suggest may to help.

2. If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s vaccination record (rabies in particular). It’s not an issue most of the time, but some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings. They are required if you travel into Canada!  Check in with your veterinarian to make sure your vaccinations and records are up to date.

3. Always take breaks! See a lake or river, pull over and let your dog take a dip. Make sure to check that your pup is welcome everywhere you plan on stopping. Check in with BringFido.com while visiting new areas to find restaurants, parks, and fun activities that are dog friendly.

4. Book pet-friendly hotels! GoPetFriendly.com is also great site to check for tons of information on traveling with pets.

The most important animal-travel tip is to never leave your pet alone in a parked car. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), when the outside temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the interior of a parked car can reach a sizzling 102 degrees in just 10 minutes and 120 degrees within half an hour. And that’s even if you leave the windows cracked an inch or two.ASPCA also warns that the dangers are not limited to the warmer months: “In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death”. Be your pet’s advocate and always remember their safety.

5. Always prep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, water, bowls, a leash, plenty of potty bags, grooming supplies, any prescribed medications a pet-friendly first-aid kit, and any travel documents. Don’t forget your dog’s flea, tick and heartworm preventatives. If you need medication or supplies on the road, your veterinarian has an online store to shop from that can ship anywhere in the US!

6. Put your leash somewhere accessible and put your dog’s leash on before you open the car door. Also make sure your pet wears a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number and any relevant contact information. Some states also require that your dog wears a tag with his state dog license information.

7. If you are camping or doing lots of outdoor activities like hiking, make sure to do nightly tick checks, and it doesn’t hurt to give your pup extra pets and treats while you’re at it!

Enjoy the time, the trip, the drive, the cuddles and the experience and make every road trip be the very best for you and your pup!