20 Dog Travel Hacks You Need To Know
Edison On Tour, Part 3
Let’s face it….traveling can be stressful. But when you throw a dog into the mix (or, in my case, as many as FOUR dogs!), you might need a vacation before your vacation even starts! Traveling with your dog doesn’t need to be stressful- for you or your dog- and with a few deep breaths and some planning ahead of time, your getaway will be a fun, relaxing adventure and bonding experience with your dog. Here are my favorite 20 dog travel hacks that will help make your trip go as smoothly as possible.
Last month, Edison and I completed a street art tour of Florida that took us over 700 miles of roads, freeways, city streets, more than a few alleys and the occasional wrong left turn!
The tour, which I dubbed #EdisonOnTour, was sponsored in full by Red Roof, and we stayed in 3 different Red Roof locations over 4 days in 3 different cities.
We got to see some amazing street art and graffiti, meet some cool new peeps and even hung out in a St. Petersburg cafe whose motto and tagline is, “Dog Friendly AF”. Now that’s my kinda coffee joint!
The following dog travel hacks are ones that made our trip go smoothly with as little stress on me and Edison as possible!
Get Travel Ready
1. Current on Vaccines/ Titer Testing
Before hitting the road, make sure your dog is current on all recommended vaccines, or titer testing if you try to limit the frequency of vaccinations.
Also, it’s a good idea to tell your veterinarian about your travel plans. Depending on where you are going, there may be additional vaccines that are recommended. Why?
Well, I’ll use myself and Miami as an example.
Here in South Florida, Lyme disease is rarely seen because we do not have the deer tick, which transmits the disease. However, if you are traveling to an area or region where deer ticks and Lyme disease are common, your veterinarian may recommend the Lyme disease vaccine for your dog.
2. Medical Records
While you’re at the vet getting vaccine boosters and/or titer testing performed, ask for copies of your dog’s medical records. Pack these some place safe and bring them on your trip.
In the unlikely event your dog experiences a medical emergency on your trip, these medical records will be invaluable to the veterinarian treating your dog. This is especially important if your dog is being treated for a medical condition.
3. Update Your Contact Information with Your Microchip Company
Before hitting the road, contact your dog’s microchip company and make sure all your contact information is up to date.
HOT TIP! If you don’t remember the name of your microchip company, pop into any local vet’s office or animal shelter. They can quickly scan your dog and tell you the name of the microchip company, your dog’s microchip number and the microchip company’s phone number.
4. Car Restraints
If you don’t already use a car restraint with your dog, your road trip is the perfect time to start using one! There are lots of different types of car restraints for dogs, from seat belts to car seats to travel carriers or crates and beyond.
HOT TIP! If you’re just beginning to use a car restraint, introduce your dog to it slowly before you hit the road. By getting your dog comfortable with a car restraint before your trip, you can avoid a dramatic meltdown in the middle of the freeway! Yours or his, I don’t know- just plan ahead and avoid them!
To learn more about each of the different types of car restraints so you can make an informed decision, check out this overview on PetMD or do a quick Google search.
Traveling With Deaf Dogs
5. I’m Deaf” Name Tag
I always recommend that deaf dogs wear a name tag on their collar that includes the phrase “I’m Deaf”. I incorporate it right into my deaf dog’s name, i.e., “Edison I’m Deaf” or “Foster I’m Deaf“. Of course, make sure the tag includes your current contact information as well.
6. “I’m Deaf” Collar, Leash or Vest
For extra protection (and attention from passersby!), I encourage deaf dog pet parents to invest in an “I’m Deaf” collar with matching leash. There are even “I’m Deaf” vests available if that’s your bag! They’re not expensive and I discuss all the benefits in more detail here.
7. Use A Harness
I always recommend a harness because dogs can- and will- pull out of a collar.
Not only is a proper fitting harness more secure, it’s also more comfortable AND safer for your dog. By attaching your leash to a harness, it displaces any pressure from leash pulling away from your dog’s neck and trachea and onto the body.
Harnesses are used in conjunction with a collar, not as a replacement! Oh, and make sure all tags (name tag, Rabies vaccination tag, microchip tag, etc.) are placed on the collar, not the harness.
8. Stay At A Pet Friendly Hotel
When traveling with our dogs, we all want a comfortable place where both our family and our dog feel welcome, an affordable but nice room where we can rest, relax and recharge and a big comfy bed where we can snore the night away! As I said in my post, “Your Dog Wants To Stay At Red Roof & Here’s Why“, I had never stayed at a Red Roof hotel before our street art tour.
And what I quickly discovered is that Red Roof isn’t just pet friendly, they’re pet welcoming. When pets stay free at over 500 location and there is never a pet deposit, you know that #RedRoofLUVSPets, isn’t just a marketing term- it’s a core company value.
Check out their pet policy and you’ll see why we’re now a Red Roof Family!
9. Allow For Potty Breaks
When planning your road trip, make sure you build in time for potty breaks! These breaks are also a great time to let your dog stretch his legs, drink some water, get some exercise and maybe even get some play time in!
If you’re feeling extra “hacky”, use these potty breaks to feed, water and potty yourself and the rest of your human travel companions!
10. Identify Vets Along Your Route
As a vet tech, this hack is extra important to me! Before hitting the road, identify 24-our emergency veterinary clinics or hospitals all along your route. In the unlikely event of a medical emergency, you’ll know exactly where to go to get your dog the medical care he needs!
Also, there are several mobile phone apps available for both iPhone and Android. Check out these apps ahead of time and download your favorite. This is another option for finding the closest veterinarian on your road trip.
Join Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality and Bernard Lima-Chavez of The Graffiti Dog for a rousing 20-minute sizzling summer session all about Dog Travel Tips and Safety PLUS Red Roof Inn will be giving away a one-night stay and a t-shirt during the broadcast!
Posted by Fidose of Reality on Thursday, July 26, 2018
Pack for Your Dog
Make sure you pack enough food for the length of your trip plus a few extra days just in case your trip is unexpectedly extended. Oh, and don’t forget your measuring cup!
If you feed kibble, either bring a new bag or pack your kibble in an air-tight container. Feeling extra ambitious? Well, you can pre-measure each meal out in it’s own resealable baggie and label it.
Personally, I’d rather spend that extra time watching Netflix or playing with my dogs. But Hey! You do you!
If you feed raw or a fresh-prepared meals, feeding on the road is a challenge and requires some creative problem solving. At home, I feed a rehydrated, low-carb meal with either fresh cooked or fresh raw protein. On our street art tour, this wasn’t going to be possible, so I chose a grain-free dehydrated food with freeze-dried raw protein. All I had to do is add water, mix and feed!
12. Extra Leash & Collar
Bring an extra collar, leash and harness in case yours gets damaged or you lose one. As the Scouts always say, “Be Prepared!“.
File this under “CYA”. If your dog is on medication, bring enough medication for your entire trip plus a few extra days- just in case.
14. Food & Water Bowls
When packing for your dog, make sure you pack both a food and water bowl. Pack them so they’re easy to find. Heck, just place them loose in the trunk if you have to- that’s what I did.
HEALTH ALERT! Make sure you clean and dry your dog’s food bowl after every use to avoid bacterial contamination. This is especially important if you feed fresh or raw protein!
15. Bottled Water for the Road
Make sure you pack enough bottled water! I brought 2 gallons of bottled water and re-filled them with fresh water each morning. Pack them so they’re easily accessible on the road but also won’t spill. I carried mine on the floor of the back seat of my car.
Make sure you bring several of your dog’s favorite toys and maybe one or two new ones to give him while you’re on on the road. Toys will help pass those long hours in the back seat or carrier/crate and may even help calm an anxious dog- but more on anxious dogs in a minute.
Anxious or Nervous Dogs
17. Herbal Supplements
If you have an anxious dog or one that gets stressed during car rides, there are all-natural, holistic herbal supplements available that you can mix with food. Drop me an email and I can offer suggestions.
18. CBD Oil & Treats
CBD Oil & Treats are the Most Popular Kid On The Pet Product Block right now- and for good reason!
Cannabidiol (CBD) provides powerful relief from stress or anxiety for many dogs and no, it’s NOT weed for dogs! Your dog won’t get high- just calm. To learn more about CBD oil (and other calming products), check out this post by Fidose of Reality.
19. Create a “Safe Space” in the Car
File this under “Awesome Creative Problem Solving!”
My friend Brittany with Spencer The Goldendoodle recently completed a road trip with Spencer and her other anxious dog, River.
Before hitting the road, Brittany’s husband created a “safe space” in the back of the van for River by removing a row of seats and securing an end table with Bungee cords and large Zip Ties inside the van, covering it with a blanket and placing River’s bed underneath the table.
River got in her bed, relaxed, played with toys and slept!
20. Soothing Music
LoveGreen Day and Linkin Park? Me too! Love to crank it as loud as it will go? OMG…let’s grab a beer! But here’s the rub when it comes to traveling with your dog…
Dogs generally don’t enjoy the same music at the same decibel that we do. Try playing music created or curated specifically to help calm dogs. Pet Care Music Therapy is one option and it’s available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, SoundCloud and more!
…And That’s A Wrap!
This was the 3rd in a series of 3 blog posts recapping our street art tour sponsored by Red Roof. If you want to catch up, start with Your Dog Wants To Stay At Red Roof & Here’s Why and then move on to Safe Summer Traveling With Your Dog. After you finish reading the entire series, you will understand why I say we are now a Red Roof Family!
What are YOUR favorite dog travel hacks? Share your tips below and join the conversation!
Read the entire #EdisonOnTour series here!