Tips To Prepare For Adventure Travel With Your Dog

Here are some travel preparation tips to consider as you plan your next big outside adventure with your favorite furry sidekick.

Explore

Dogs are born to be active and there’s no place they’d rather be than by your side. So when planning your next travel adventure, take your dog with you. His innate instinct for exploration will have you experiencing your adventure in a whole new light. Here are some travel preparation tips to consider as you plan your next big outside adventure with your favorite sidekick.

Health Check

Before embarking on a big adventure, make sure your dog’s overall health is in good shape. If he hasn’t had a recent vet check-up, consider scheduling one before you hit the road. In addition to evaluating your dog’s health and body condition, it’s a good time to ensure immunizations are current and that you have any required medications filled. Discuss with your vet your travel destination to determine if any additional vaccinations may be beneficial for that location. Ask for a copy of your dog’s rabies certificate and other immunizations and pack a copy for your trip. Be sure and store your vet’s contact info in your phone and research vets or animal hospitals in the area you’re traveling to in the event an emergency should arise.

Adventure Ready

If your adventure will include an increase in activity beyond your dog’s normal routine, it’s important to properly condition him for the rigors ahead. For dogs at a healthy weight, spend time during the months leading up to your travel to slowly increase his time and distance when exercising outside. If your dog is overweight, you’ll need more time to help him shed the extra pounds and to reach an improved fitness level.

Consider the environment of your destination, too. How will it be different than your dog’s home turf? Will it be warmer or colder, sandy or rocky, higher altitude? All of these environmental changes can have a significant impact on your dog’s energy and hydration needs as well as their core body temperature. A well-conditioned dog at a healthy weight is better equipped to handle these types of environmental shifts than a sedentary, overweight dog.

Nutrition also plays an important role in preparing your dog for an increase in activities. Active dogs require more energy and other nutrients from their diet in order to help them perform at their peak. Take a closer look at your dog’s current diet and make sure he’s receiving the optimal amount of nutrients and calories necessary to sustain the activities ahead. Consider switching him to a performance diet like one from Eukanuba’s™ Premium Performance range. The Eukanuba™ performance diets are scientifically formulated to fuel your dog’s varying activity levels.

Road Trip Ready

If car travel isn’t a part of your dog’s normal routine then take time to help him acclimate. Start by just letting him sit in a parked car with you. Then take him on a 10–15-minute drive several times a week. This can help your dog get used to the vehicle’s movement.

Take a moment to consider how your dog will travel in the car. Will you use a crate or other safety restraint? Many owners favor crates because they safely contain a dog during travel. A dog that is used to a crate often associates it with home which can help reduce the stress of travel.

When packing the car for travel, be mindful of luggage or gear surrounding your dog as he can get hot in confined spaces. Make sure he’s got plenty of air circulating around him. Be sure your vehicle’s rear vents are open. And if your dog is traveling in a crate, consider adding a fan to the crate’s door for additional air flow.

On the day of travel, don’t feed a big meal just before departure. This will help mitigate a potential upset stomach.

Dog-Friendly Lodging

A lot of accommodations are now open to travelers with dogs. But just because the accommodations offer dog-friendly lodging doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your dog. Look for accommodations that are as welcoming to dogs as they are to humans. For example, do they offer ample outdoor space for dogs? Do they allow dogs throughout most areas of their establishment? And do they provide a local area guide of other pet-friendly activities? These are all signs that some thought has been put into making a dog’s stay comfortable and enjoyable.

Pack Smart

Food and water are essential, but how much should you pack? And what other items might help you and your dog be better prepared for the adventure ahead? Here are some helpful tips:

  • Food & Treats – Make sure to measure out your dog’s food for your entire travel time. It’s not always a guarantee that you’ll be able to find their specific diet at your destination should you run out. And keep in mind that your dog will need to increase his caloric intake if he’ll be exercising more than usual. Pack some treats, too, for rewarding your dog’s good behavior throughout your adventure together.
  • Water – Pack plenty of water to cover your travel distance. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, always keep a bottle of water on hand for your dog and rehydrate him regularly.
  • Dog bowls
  • Crate
  • Dog collar with identification – Make sure your dog has a collar on with contact information at all times. The identification should include your name and phone number along with your dog’s name. Attaching his rabies tag is also beneficial. While some owners microchip their dogs, others use tracking collars as an additional safety measure in the event they are separated from their dog. It’s also a good idea to have a recent picture of your dog on hand in the event he gets lost.
  • Gear – In addition to your everyday leash, remember to pack any special leashes, harnesses, life jackets, dog backpacks or other gear that might be helpful or necessary for your activities.
  • Emergency Essentials – Remember to pack any medication your dog requires along with a copy of key health records (i.e. vaccinations), a first aid kit, and your vet’s contact information.
  • Grooming and cleaning supplies – If your adventure entails the wilderness or the ocean, it’s a good idea to bring your dog’s shampoo along with a brush or other tool you commonly use to keep him clean. From muddy terrain to saltwater, your dog may need a quick bath to keep his skin and coat in good shape.
  • Comforts of home – While adventure travel is fun and exciting, it can make your dog nervous. Be sure to pack familiar toys, blankets or beds to give him a sense of familiarity during your travels.

Take Breaks During Travel

If your road trip is more than 2 hours, your dog will need frequent breaks to stretch, relieve himself and rehydrate. Plan your route carefully so you have a sense of the best locations to take a break. When you do make a stop, take a quick walk around to survey the situation. Trash, broken glass and other debris are common in some rest areas, so take a look before you let your dog out for a break.

Hydration

Dogs can easily get dehydrated during road travel and when adventuring outdoors. When making pit stops along the road, always make sure to fill up a water bowl and give him time to drink. Proper hydration helps dogs regulate their body temperature and helps keep their digestive system running smoothly. Upon arriving at your destination and embarking on your adventures, remember to keep a water bottle handy and offer your dog some regularly.

Routine Matters

Dogs like a routine because it gives them confidence. From that confidence comes a relaxed attitude. During your travels, strive to keep your dog’s feeding and bathroom break schedules consistent with those at home. It will help reduce his stress and keep his digestive system on track.

By planning ahead for a well-equipped and comfortable journey, you and your dog will be better prepared to dive right into the adventure fun.

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