Taking Your Dog out on a Road Trip: 5 Helpful Tips

Because you most likely consider your pet as part of your family, you’ve probably thought about taking your pet out for excursions. Whether it’s just for a day out at the beach or an interstate road trip, it is best to be aware of some of the things you can do to make your dog as safe and as comfortable as possible during your trip. Here are few tips that you can take into consideration:

Make Sure That Your Pet Has a Clean Bill of Health

Before taking your dog out for an outing, it is important to take them first to the vet so that their health can be assessed. For instance, if a dog is discovered to have a weak heart, they might not be able to do exhausting activities. The veterinarian can then provide you with some tips on how to make sure your pet does not become too fatigued during a trip. Your dog can be checked for any other underlying medical condition that might affect their wellbeing during a road trip.

Transport Your Pet Safely

Did you know that in many U.S. states, transporting your pet in an improper manner can get you fined? Not only is improperly transporting your pet dangerous for the dog, it can also be unsafe for you or your driver. For example, the dog might cause an accident by distracting the driver. This is why carrying your dog on your lap or leaving them to roam around inside your car is a bad idea.

To transport your pet safely, get them a crate that has been safety-certified and crash-tested. Such products are built according to the highest standards of quality and are your best option if you want to ensure your dog’s safety when traveling. If you want to see the possible upshot of using a substandard product, just watch this dramatic cautionary YouTube video that was created by the Center for Pet Safety and Subaru America.

Bring a Leash and Collar No Matter What

There are many places—parks, beaches, natural areas, and other recreational spots—which will require you to keep your dog collared and on a leash. Many other places will not. As a best practice, however, it is best to just bring a leash and collar with you no matter the rules.

Remember that there are many people out there who are not very dog friendly, so while you might know that your dog is harmless, some individuals might just go out of their way to cause you trouble. To avoid any hitch, it’s best to keep your dog collared and on a leash. After all, it’s also a safety precaution because this practically prevents your pet from roaming around potentially dangerous environments.

If you’re thinking of a good product to buy for your pet, consider a martingale collar, which provides more control over your dog without choking them or hurting them with prongs.

Be Aware of the Dangers of Heat Stroke and Hypothermia

Exposure to extreme temperatures is dangerous for your dog. This is something you need to consider when bringing your dog to such places as the beach or a national park. It’s important to be aware of the physical symptoms of heat stroke on one hand, and hypothermia on the other.

Hyperthermia and heat stroke can occur due to exposure to extreme heat and is dangerous because it can cause multiple organs in a dog’s body to malfunction. Common symptoms include a body temperature of above 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius), panting, ptyalism or excessive salivation, red gums, and fast or irregular heartbeats.

If you suspect that your dog has suffered a heat stroke, move them immediately under a shade, and bring down their body temperature by drenching them in cool water or cooling them down with the help of cold packs. If possible, have your pet drink some cool water as well. Bring your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible while cooling them down along the way.

Conversely, hypothermia in dogs typically happens when they are exposed to cold temperatures. However, some dogs are more at risk than others. These include small dogs, very young or very old dogs, as well as those under anesthesia. If your dog has been exposed to cold air or icy water for a long time, check for possible signs of hypothermia. These include white or pale gums, excessive shivering, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, and lethargy. For extreme cases involving frostbite, make sure to check if your dog has body parts that have gone bluish or grayish.

If your pet is showing signs of hypothermia, bring them to the vet immediately. While on your way, bring up their body temperature by applying a hot water bag or bottle that has been wrapped in towel. Never use an unwrapped bag or bottle as you might burn your dog’s skin. If possible, have your dog drink warm water as well.

Check Your Dog for Pests Afterwards

After a long time outdoors or away from home, your pet may have attracted a few stowaways that can also carry dreaded diseases. Thoroughly check your pet’s fur and skin for signs of tick or flea infestation.

If you see a few ticks, remove them immediately by pulling them with a tweezer. Make sure to grasp them as close to their mouths as possible. Afterwards, treat the bite area with an iodine wound solution. If too many pests have infested your dog, seek help from a veterinarian who can provide you with a pesticidal solution to get rid of the infestation.

Going on a road trip with a pet dog is an exciting prospect for many pet parents. However, they also need to do everything they can to make the journey safe for their dogs. How about you? What tips can you share with others?