The very idea of taking your dog with you on a summer road trip can be quite exciting, largely because you love spending as much time as possible with your furry companion and also because you know how wonderfully stimulating all the sights and sounds will be.  However, the truth is that driving with a dog in the car can be potentially dangerous, for both of you.  Adequate preparation is key, as one can ensure that those things that may be dangerous can be prevented against or easily resolved.

Five Tips for Safe Summer Travel with a Dog

1. Prepare your vehicle for the road trip. This means deciding upon a pet restraint system that will work well for you and your dog, whether it is a crate, carrier or harness, and that will prevent him from trying to hang out the window or crawl into your lap while you are driving.  It also means deactivating the airbags in the seat your dog will be occupying.

2. Prepare your dog for the road trip.  This means taking your dog to the vet for a thorough check-up, ensuring their vaccinations are up to date and they are protected against fleas, ticks or heartworm.  You may want to find out about remedies for car sickness, restlessness and even vomiting or diarrhea, just in case.  This is also a good time to ensure that your dog’s microchip is updated with your most current contact information.

3. Pack for your dog. You will minimally need food, treats, drinking water, bowls, proof of vaccinations and health records, current i.d. tags, photos of your dog, paper towels and carpet cleaner, an old towel, your dog’s bed, some toys, their medications, vitamins, and supplements, plastic bags, a first aid kit, pet insect repellent and sunscreen, and their collar and leash.

4. Keep a schedule. Your dog is used to a regular food and exercise schedule.  Sticking to it will help to reduce their anxiety and give them an opportunity to get out of the car and burn off energy.

5. Confirm your destinations’ pet policies. Even if you have previously verified that your destinations allow for pets, it is very helpful to call ahead and confirm that they are expecting you and your dog.  Ask about any restrictions they may have and ensure you are fully prepared.