Hitting the road with your dog can add to the fun of your vacation, and alleviate all those worries about leaving him in a kennel or with your mother-in-law. But let’s face it, cars were never designed with dogs in mind and not every destination is dog-friendly.
Since the day we purchased Friday Creek Retreat we have been welcoming dogs (and their owners) to our property. In that time we’ve picked up some secrets to a dog-friendly road trip. We are delighted to share these with you, and hope they will help make your visit with us and other dog-friendly destinations truly fun and relaxing.
If your dog has not spent much time in the car before, you will have a much happier journey if you take your dog for a few short rides before you start the trip. This will not only familiarise your dog with the car, but also allows you to gauge how well she travels.
Like humans, dogs like to have their creature comforts available when on the road. Make sure you pack his water bowl, plenty of the food he’s used to, a familiar dog bed or kennel, any regular medications, grooming supplies and some of his favourite toys. Oh yes, and don’t forget the poop bags!
When you’re on the road there is a greater chance that your dog will seek out adventure and potentially get lost. That means it’s more important than ever that she is micro-chipped and that your mobile phone number is clearly marked on her collar.
Car sickness can spoil all the fun for your dog….and the rest of the family. To minimise the chances of travel sickness feed your dog a light meal 3-4 hours prior to departure. To avoid dehydration it’s best to exercise your dog well before you hit the road, and make sure you have plenty of water stops. If your dog is a chronic car sickness sufferer, talk to your vet about ginger-based tablets.
We couldn’t resist the cute picture at the top of this blog, but seriously it’s important to keep your dogs head and paws well inside the car whenever it is moving. Your dog must be restrained with a pet seatbelt or kennel or you risk a hefty fine. This isn’t just for the dog’s safety, but for the safety of everyone in the car as it prevents your dog from becoming a projectile if you have to stop suddenly.
Dogs can become unsettled by strange noises in a new place. To avoid disturbing your sleep, or that of your neighbours, consider downloading a white noise app. There are actually apps specifically designed for dogs, and there’s even a white noise playlist on Spotify. The idea is that the white noise masks any unsettling noises and keeps your dog calm. We can’t guarantee it will work, but if your dog tends to bark it’s worth a try.
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for emergencies. Bear in mind that dogs have different first aid needs to humans, so have a doggie first aid kit on hand. Your vet may be able to provide you with a list of what to include, or check out this list. Another useful idea is to download a pet first aid app. When the unexpected happens these apps are a good resource to help you know how to respond.
One final thing, which we hope is not a secret. Don’t ever leave your dog alone in a parked car. Even if the weather is only mildly warm, this can lead to heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes.
We hope these tips will prove helpful. We look forward to welcoming you and your dog at Friday Creek Retreat!