With a new year comes a host of new opportunities and adventures for you and your pet; and a popular choice for many is going on a road trip! With so many incredible places to visit only a few hours drive away, going for a road trip is a great option, especially if you’d like to bring your pet along with you! There’s a lot that goes into preparing your pet for several long hours on the road, so we’ve created a checklist to ensure your pet has a safe, comfortable time on the road with you.
Otis exploring Whistler.
Planning the trip
Assuming you’ve got a destination in mind for your road trip, we strongly encourage taking the time to plan a route that will accommodate your pet. Periodic stops are important, to allow for your pet to stretch their legs, take care of business, and explore the surrounding area. Depending on your timeframe and route, why not plan for a brief hike with your pet, to ensure they’ve burnt some energy before climbing back in the car. Another great option if you’re in a rush and have stopped off near an open field is throwing around a tennis ball for your dog to fetch. The next big detail to consider when bringing your pet along with you is whether or not the place you will be staying at is pet-friendly. While family and friends are (hopefully) accommodating, campgrounds and hotels tend to be a little more restrictive in regards to what they allow. If it isn’t clear on their website, we suggest getting in touch with the location you’re staying, to discuss whether or not they are a pet-friendly location. This website is a great resource for discovering pet-friendly accommodations across the globe.
Last but certainly not least, when planning a trip, is to schedule an appointment with the vet a few weeks in advance to your departure date, to make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Depending on where you are travelling to, your pet may need extra vaccinations, so checking beforehand with your vet helps reduce the risk of something happening while on your trip.
Preparing to leave
Now that the trip has been planned, it’s time to get prepared! Spending several hours on the road with your pet can be a great experience for everyone, as long both you and your pet are prepped for the trip.
Safety should always be a top priority when travelling, which is why we recommend purchasing a crate that is crash-tested and safety-certified. If this is your pet’s first time travelling within a crate, it’s advisable to pick-up the crate ahead of time, to allow them to familiarize themselves with it. Let them explore the crate on their own initiative, so they are comfortable with it ahead of time. Bringing along a favourite toy always helps to keep them comforted while on the road.
Plan a good walk before you depart on your road trip, to help tucker your pet out and ensure that they’ll be ready to rest for the majority of the trip.
Bringing a kit filled with necessities for your pet is always a great idea. Depending on your pet’s requirements, we suggest packing their food, water, a leash, any medication or documents, plastic baggies, and a favourite toy.
Lastly, don’t feed your pet too much before you depart on your road trip, as they can be prone to getting car sick; which can quickly ruin the mood of the trip for everyone involved.
Once you’ve arrived
When you’ve arrived at your destination, there are still a few things to keep in mind to help your pet get comfortable with the new location and ensure they enjoy the exploring the new area as much as you do. If you are staying in a hotel room, make sure you enter the room first, unpack, and then invite your pet into the room. Doing so ensures that your scent is spread throughout the room so they no longer need to be on alert, and are able to relax along with you. Keeping a routine consistent with home life is another important step to helping your pet settle into the new location. Feeding them at the regular times, and taking them for a nice, long walk every day will help burn off any extra anxiety that might have accumulated during the trip.
So get out there and explore with your pet! There is bound to be something to get up to with your pet, but if you’re looking for suggestions we recommend checking out this great resource, that compiles (almost) all of the pet-friendly activities in specific areas.
As always, bring a camera on your adventures with your pet, and be sure to share any photos with us by using the hashtag #FirstMate. Enjoy 2018 and all the adventures that come with it!
Molly on a hiking trip to the West Coast beaches @hyperintelligentmolly