How to Travel Cross Country With Your Dog

With colder weather starting to roll in through most of the country, many people may be looking to travel to a warmer spot. If you have a dog, traveling long distances by car can be challenging. However, with some forethought and careful planning, you can easily travel (almost) anywhere. Here are our tips on how to travel cross country with your dog.

Get a Checkup

The first thing we recommend if you are planning to travel cross country with your dog is getting a regular checkup. Make an appointment with your vet to make sure your dog is in good health. Your vet can also double-check that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date while you’re there.

You should let your vet know that you are planning to travel with your dog, how you plan to travel, and what precautions they might recommend while you’re traveling. While you’re there, stock up on any flea or tick preventative and get your heartworm medications if you are running low. Lastly, be sure to get a copy of your dog’s current paperwork. This can be a lifesaver if something happens to your dog while on your trip.

How Will You Travel?

If you are planning to travel cross country with your dog, you will likely want to drive. This gives you the flexibility to go anywhere or do anything you two want. If this is the case, just be sure that your car is roadworthy and that you have all the right travel equipment you and your dog might need. A car safety harness is going to be a good idea to keep your dog safe in the event of an accident.

While a road trip might have people thinking about hitting the open road, there are other ways to travel cross country than by car. Trains and busses are options if you don’t have a car or don’t think your car will make the trek. Just be sure to do your research before showing up. Not all trains or busses are going to be pet friendly. They may also have restrictions on the size or breed of dogs they allow. They may also require your dog to be crated or leashed for the duration of the trip.

Plan Your Route

It doesn’t matter if you are driving yourself or catching a ride, you have to plan for your trip. You’ll want to know where you and your pet can stop to rest on your voyage. This means figuring out what hotels or campgrounds (if you will camp) are going to allow you to bring your dog in.

Not all places are going to be pet friendly. And each place you stop at will likely have a different idea of what the term “pet-friendly” means. Just to make sure you’re not surprised, we recommend actually calling each place you plan to stop to ensure there will be no complications while traveling.

Reserve Accommodations

While you’re calling the places where you plan to stay, why not make a reservation too? Calling ahead and making a reservation will ensure that you and your dog will have no unpleasant surprises when you want to rest.

Many hotels will accommodate you and your dog, but they usually have a limited number of pet-friendly rooms available. Likewise, campgrounds can really fill up on weekends, holidays, or the nicest months of the year.

How to Pack for Your Dog

Deciding what to pack for yourself can be a challenge, but packing for your dog doesn’t have to be too complicated. Here are the bare necessities you’ll want to make sure you grab:

  • Food and water – Obviously, your dog’s going to need something to eat and drink.
  • Portable bowls – Your dog will also need something to eat and drink from.
  • Treats and a storage pouch – You’ll want an easy way to reinforce your dog’s behavior. Having treats accessible really help your dog concentrate when things get hectic.
  • Vitamins or supplements – If your dog takes any medications or supplements, you’ll want to make sure those are accessible.
  • Paper towels and carpet cleaner – These are just in case your dog makes a mess and you have to clean up.
  • Waste bags – These are also for when your dog makes a mess.
  • First aid kit – It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Have a first aid kit on you just in case something bad happens.

There are other things you might consider bringing with you like an extra leash or pest repellent. What you bring really depends on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing.

Traveling cross country with your dog can be difficult, but planning ahead will make it a breeze. You can enjoy your dog’s company while seeing the country, and you can relax knowing that everything is taken care of.

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