One of the best things about having a dog is that you’ve always got a pal who’s up for anything. Road trip? He’s in! Just make sure you’re ready for everything he might have in store as well. Here’s a handy list of supplies to keep you both safe when you and your fur-son hit the road.
1. A safety harness, dog car seat or crate
I know – you want Austen to be up front in the passenger seat with you because he’s your main sidekick on this trip! Sadly, his safety is at risk if you indulge. In the case of a head-on collision, passenger side airbags will go off and your pooch has no fight against that kind of pressure. Be smart and ensure all your future trips together by keeping him happily snugged up in a harnessed pet carrier in the back seat. It really isn’t so bad. He’ll be rewarded with all the memories from the places you safely reach together.
2. Travel backseat barrier
It might seem like overkill – you already harnessed them in the back seat. However, I have never met a dog that won’t still work its little tush off to find a way to travel closer up front with you. Deter your determined pal by using a travel barrier. Other bonuses these provide are protecting your car interior and, many come with pouches for storing all the other items you’ll need while traveling. When it’s time to pack up, it’s an easy fold for everything.
3. Car window screens
“Ahhhhh – dat wind in ma face, Ma!”
There are few things dogs love more than sticking their furry little heads out of a moving vehicle. And, while it’s insanely adorable to watch our furry friends have mini dog-asms doing this, this behavior is sadly chock-full of dangers. Foreign objects can strike their eyes with quite a bit of velocity or, get lodged in their noses and ears. And, then, there are the jumpers or, the ones whom accidentally fall.
Keep your babies safe with car window screens. This will leave them with all the fun of the wind blowing in their faces minus potential injuries.
4. A travel ramp
Getting in and out of the car isn’t always easy for our canine friends, especially for the tiny and the aging. Show them some love and store a ramp in the trunk so they have an easy time getting in and out of their ride. Their little joints will thank you for it long term!
5. An extra leash and collar
Often times when I’m at off-leash parks with my fur-sons, I’ll put their leashes and harnesses down for a bit so I can chase them around without the baggage. It wouldn’t surprise me if one day, I forgot where I left them. Luckily it hasn’t happened yet! It’s a handy idea to keep an extra leash and collar in the car if the occasion ever arises.
6. Towel or a blanket
If your little buddy tends to get scared or travel-sick in the car, wrapping him up in a towel or blanket can help. The smell of home will make him more comfortable and, if he does have an accident you’ve also done yourself a favor by protecting your car upholstery.
7. A comforting toy
Not all dogs love the car and frankly, who can blame them for getting a little nervy? They don’t know where they’re off to. It could be the park, grammie’s house or, it could be another dreaded trip to the vet. Having a favorite toy to snuggle is a sure-fire way to calm their nerves and make them feel more at ease.
8. Water and a bowl
It’s hot out there when you’re running around and having fun with friends. But, becoming dehydrated can have serious consequences. Make sure never to leave home without fresh water and a bowl for your loved one. He might be too distracted to let you know he needs to pause for a drink so, keep your eye on the time and ensure he stops every once in a while for a cool refresher.
9. Grooming wipes and a grooming kit
Oh the fun there is to be had out there in the world! The mud there is to roll in! The mossy waters there are for swimming!
If you’re taking your pup on outdoor adventure, do yourself a favor and bring a grooming kit to fix him up – at least a little bit –before he gets back in the car. A lot of the muck and burrs and other mess is a lot easier to clean off while it’s still fresh.
It’ll make bath time later that much easier for the both of you.
10. Extra poop bags
This one goes without saying. Dogs poop. Sometimes they poop when they don’t mean to. Like when they’re nervous in cars. I’m pretty sure this is one of the number 1 rules for dog owners in general: You can never have enough poop bags on you.
And you know the one time you don’t is the one time you’ll really need it.
11. Small packages of food or treats
Ok – maybe not a burrito (see #10 re: poop bags). But, your companion is going to get the munchies while you’re out. Make sure you have some light treats and bags of his normal food (for overnights) if you want him to live the road life right.
If you’re hitting the road, now is the time to make sure Chuck has his tags in check. The tag should ideally display his name, your name and phone number, and if possible, your vet’s number. If he’s wearing a tracker, ALL THE BETTER! He’s in strange territory and if he runs off, you’ll want to know you’ve got his location covered.
13. A small first aid kit
A curious pooch is going to explore and get into things. When you’re out adventuring with your bestie, it’s important to be prepared for emergencies of any kind. A small kit with sunscreen, hydrogen peroxide, gauze and bandages, antibiotic ointment and any medications is always good to have on hand. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but, it’s always better to be on the safe side – especially if you’re far from a vet.