Taking dogs on a road trip?
You only have to look for accommodation, especially of the self catering variety, to note the plethora of pet friendly options available!
Increasingly, people are taking their dogs on road trips, but let’s take a cautionary step back and look at the best way in which to do this without inconvenience to man’s best friend.
Ensure that you have a bowl, water and dry pet food available, some dogs opt not to eat while in a car, but others carry on as normal.
On a long trip it may be necessary to lightly sedate a dog to keep it calm, your vet will be able to supply a safe homeopathic option to keep Fido relaxed.
It’s best to cover the seat with and old bath towel or blanket and if the forecast is for hot weather keep a spray bottle of water, as you may need to cool a dog down. Try and keep the dog out of the sun even if it means hanging a towel from a window to block the sun, one can also purchase the stick on screens used for babies.
Be mindful that dogs with a short muzzle, such as a Pekingese or Pugs may develop breathing problems as their throats and nasal passages are smaller – these are known as brachycephalic dog breeds and include Bulldogs and Boston Terriers as well .
Brachycephalic dogs are more prone to heatstroke, as are long-haired dogs, so it’s worth running the air conditioning and ensuring that the cabin of the vehicle is cool at all times. Avoid opening windows unless you are travelling slowly without traffic, that being said the dog should be restrained for safety sake as well.
On long trips I always stop every two hours to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. When you stop put your dog and a lead and allow it to walk around, as well as have a drink and perhaps do it’s business (clean up afterwards).
If you can travel when it’s cooler as dogs do feel the heat – check that they do not start panting more than usual which would indicate that they are hot.
Never leave the dog in the car, even with the windows slightly open, they can succumb to heatstroke in roughly 15 minutes in our climate.
Ensure that you take the dogs bed, bedding and toys as these are familiar things which make staying over in a new territory much easier. Maintain routine such as play sessions and walks, if you dog is socialised and walks off lead just be sure of other animals and livestock in the vicinity, I tend to opt for the “Pet Friendly” options that are fenced in so that I can relax with my pet and enjoy the break without undue worry.
Travelled with pets before? Tell us your story on www.allterrain.co.za