Looking to bring fido on a long road trip? With more and more folks making full-time RVing their lifestyle, more happy pups than ever are out and about exploring the winding routes that make up North America.
While traveling with your fur baby full-time isn’t really much more complicated than having a dog in a house environment, here are 13 tips to make your life on the road a little easier for yourself, and your best friend.
Keep a consistent schedule.
Dogs do best with a consistent schedule. We have found that no matter where the road leads us if we keep close to our pups regular eating, exercise, and bedtime schedules we have a calmer and overall more well-adjusted fur baby. Constant change is a challenge for humans and dogs alike. Keeping to a schedule, even on travel days, goes a long way towards a harmonious life on the road.
Dog companions LOVE life on the road.
Do some research.
Just as you plan your route for the day, it’s important to do some research for your pup. You will certainly want to do some research on the best campgrounds for the entire family. Although many campgrounds allow dogs, the large cement parking lot style RV parks may not have the best options for places to take fido for a walk, for instance. Smaller, family-run parks could possibly be a good alternative for an environment that includes grassy areas and add to the enjoyment and well-being of your pet.
A coconut makes a fantastic toy.
Try to stick to the same brand of dog food.
Along with a consistent schedule, it can be very helpful to your pooch to have a steady supply of their favorite dog chow. Many brands are available nation-wide making it easier than ever before to find your favorite. It is important to keep it fresh as well by storing the food in a sealable plastic Vittles Vault or similar container.
Beach time is always a highlight for pups on the road.
Bookmark Bring Fido on your laptop.
There are multiple websites available that offer information on pet-friendly traveling and favorites include Bring Fido and Your Dog Advisor. These sites include local knowledge and recommendations on lodging, restaurants, and activities in many cities across the country. The search engine features first-hand reviews in many cases so you can be assured you and your furry friend will be welcomed with open arms.
While National Parks do not allow dogs on trails you will find the State Parks next door often do!
Search for local and regional parks for exercise.
A good research plan should include a search for local and regional parks. These are a gold mine for dog walking and many even have dog parks within their limits. Either way, they are a perfect spot to meet other dog owners and allow your pup plenty of exercise and fresh air as well as an opportunity to increase the all-important socialization skills.
Many wineries are dog-friendly.
Use a dog crate.
The majority of pups do best when they are their own private place and a dog crate fits the bill. A crate can quickly become your dogs “safe place” and you if you haven’t used one before you will quickly realize that most dogs truly embrace having their own spot to retreat. Having a favorite plush toy or two is another fantastic idea for helping your fur baby feel at home, even on the road.
Everyone likes to have a special friend to nap with.
Take regular breaks.
The key to any road trip is to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. This is even more important when traveling with fido and taking a break every couple of hours allows the entire family to stretch their legs, take a bathroom break, and perhaps do some sight-seeing. Farm stands, wineries, and historical sites often have a fantastic picnic and grassy areas along with big-rig parking.
Frequent breaks are good for all members of the family.
Ask around for local vet recommendations.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to visit a vet along the way, the best option is to ask locals for vet recommendations. Many campgrounds and grooming services, along with pet stores, can point you in the right direction. Another alternative is to check out reviews on sites such as Yelp, although it’s important to verify how old the reviews are.
With the right vaccinations, you can even take your furry friend to places such as Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Make sure to carry your dog’s vaccination paperwork.
Without a constant home base and vet, it is vitally important to carry your pups medical paperwork with you. In the event of an emergency or even a yearly exam, it is essential for whatever vet you are seeing to have full knowledge of all medications, vaccinations, and exams that your dog has undergone.
A well-socialized dog is a good dog.
Microchip your dog.
Every single dog should be microchipped for their own safety. A microchip is a tiny transponder around the size of a grain of rice and by far the best bet in having your dog returned to you if they get lost. Although not a tracker, dog services, vets and rescue organizations always scan for chips in order to reunite dogs and their owners. The most important reminder; make sure to register as your pet’s owner so that your contact information will be up to date.
A perfect cafe dog just takes practice.
Check the weather.
Pet’s are greatly affected by the weather just like you are. It is best to be prepared by checking the conditions where you’ll be traveling. Dog boots and a coat are an excellent idea for snowy and cold conditions. For high heat or humidity regions, it is helpful to add ice cubes to your pups water bowl, search for shade and water sources, and a self-cooling pad can be a lifesaver.
Swimming is the perfect hot weather exercise option.
Be a responsible dog owner.
We know that you think your dog is the best pet ever. What is important to understand is that not everyone may find them quite so appealing. Some people are afraid of dogs and as impossible as it seems, some are simply not dog admirers. Keep your dog leashed in public when not at an off-leash approved area. In dog-friendly areas take the time to socialize your pup so they are comfortable lying under or next to your table quietly and for goodness sake, always make sure to clean up after your dog!
Family memories including your fur babies are priceless.
Never leave your dog in a hot car. Ever.
This should be a given and yet dozens and dozens of dogs perish every single year. Even if you think you’ll only be a minute, this is never okay. Just don’t do it.
Some National Parks even allow dogs in certain areas.
At the end of the day, with a bit of pre-planning and organization traveling full-time with your dog is highly rewarding. The ability to spend the majority of time with their “pack” is every dog’s dream so give your furry friend a big hug and start planning!