‘Tis the season… for traveling over the river and through the woods to visit friends and family. If you have a big dog you know that you need to make travel arrangements for him or her that will make the ride comfortable for all involved. Here are some holiday travel tips for big dog owners that we have uncovered.
- Make sure your big dog is accustomed to riding in a car. You don’t want to plan a long trip if your dog hasn’t taken rides other than short ones to the veterinarian’s office. Having an anxious dog in the car will make for a long (and likely) anxious trip for the entire family. Get your dog accustomed to the car by taking short trips, and lengthening them over time. If he or she seems comfortable at the first car ride, then you may be safe in planning a long trip without too much prep time.
- Find a safe location for your dog to ride. It is not safe to have your dog on your lap or even just sitting on the front seat next to you. Your pet should be restrained either in a pet harness or in a crate. It is more of a personal choice as to how your pet travels, but the type of restraint needs to be determined and put in place and your pet must be accustomed to whichever type of restraint you choose.
- It may make sense to put a big dog bed in the back of your vehicle with a safety gate. This area can be a comfortable spot for your pet to lie and travel in comfort on his bed with a few of his favorite toys.
- Exercise your dog before putting her in the car. A tired dog is a happy dog — especially on a long road trip.
- Plan for frequent rest stops. You may be accustomed to just hitting the road and driving right through to your final destination, but if you have pets in tow you will want to plan for frequent rest stops and to give your pet water. This could also reduce panting in the car by alleviating motion sickness.
- Pack your pet’s favorite toys, treats and food. Changing your pet’s food while on a vacation could lead to stomach issues.
Regardless of when you’re traveling — winter, spring or summer — it’s always best to make sure your pet is ready and healthy enough for a road trip. Don’t forget to bring all of his veterinarian records on the trip, make sure he is wearing a collar and you may even want to consider having him microchipped in the event he gets off leash while in an unfamiliar location.
Safe and happy travels!
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