Making Road Trips Safe and Fun for You and Your Dog

In this blog, Arden Moore unleashes tips to make on road adventures safe for your dog!

Most dogs, like my Kona and Emma, seem to have a sixth sense of knowing they will be joining you for a walk or a car ride even before you reach for their leashes and harnesses.

Most dogs really, really dig hopping in vehicles with their favorite people. Distance or duration are not important. What is important is the opportunity to be with you and take in new sights,
sounds and smells.

I’ve traveled to more than a dozen states with my dogs. Safety is always my top priority. So, let me unleash some tips to make that next on-the-road adventure with your canine pal fun and safe:

  • Pack more for your pooch. Recognize that your dog will probably require more items to bring than you. Usually, I bring a suitcase and my laptop bag. Most of the vehicle’s space is needed for my dogs. I must factor in a bed for Kona, a booster pup seat for little Emma, a bag containing their food, treats, bowls, medicine, favorite toys, a comforter to put on top of the hotel’s bed, extra leashes and harnesses, bottled water plus plenty of spare poop bags.
  • Size up for safety. My dogs are harnessed with seat belt clips to allow them to move a bit in the back seat but not roam freely. Small dogs may fare best inside pet carriers placed on the floor board in the back seat as this is deemed the safest place based on
    recent car crash tests. Large dogs can enjoy smooth, safe rides inside large metal pens that you can secure to prevent them from sliding and tipping. Consider placing cooling mats for your dog to lay on during warm-weather jaunts.
  • Make it a smooth, stress-free ride. Like some people, some dogs can get motion sickness triggered by sudden stops and starts and taking curves at high speeds. Steady speeds help reduce stress in your pets.
  • Bring out your inner singer. Dogs tap into our moods. I enjoy singing and also speaking to Kona and Emma in happy, upbeat tones during the drive. Resist blaring the radio as your dog has very sensitive ears.
  • Plan for regular pit stops. Make sure your dog is harnessed and leashed before you let him take one paw out of the car during potty breaks. Survey the area to make sure the turf is not muddy, rocky or full of burrs that can lodge in your dog’s paws. At highway rest stops, do your best to steer your dog away from the prime canine peeing spots to reduce risk of him catching any parasitic diseases. Do not let your dog sniff another dog’s poo, either. Always offer bottled water at each stop to keep your dog hydrated.

Finally, remind yourself to be in the moment and delight in the chance to make memories with your best four-legged friend who will never demand to drive, switch the radio station or constantly ask if “we are almost there yet.”

— Arden Moore is the founder of Pet First Aid 4U, best-selling author of host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. www.ardenmoore.com.