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Summer is ideal the time of year for road trips! And road trips are the perfect adventure for the whole family, which includes pets of course. Traveling with a pet can add extra challenges to a trip, but it is worth the effort to include pets in your summer plans. My family and I consider our dogs important family members, so we take them along whenever we can. This summer we had the fun of traveling with my Mom’s dog Alex, aÂ schnauzer/terrier mix, who spent a few weeks visiting us. Here are some of tips for taking your dog along on your summer road trip.
Keep Your Pet Safe
Dogs love to run around the car and stick their head out the window, but that is not safe. If you have to stop quickly the dog can easily be hurt, and could injure someone else too. Just like people, dogs need seat belts. For Alex we used a simple tether system that attaches to car seat belt and clips to his harness. Alex can still stand up or sit down, but he can’t climb into the front seat, no matter how much he wants to sit on my lap. For small dogs a crate or travel carrier also works to keep pets safe while the car is moving, as long as you secure it so it doesn’t move around.
Make Sure Your Pet is a Good Traveler
Alex loves to ride in the car, but not all dogs do. We learned this when we took our dog Ziggy for a 6 hour trip. Â It turns out he has severe motion sickness, which he demonstrated by vomiting all over my daughter and the back seat – multiple times! So start with small, local trips and make sure your furry friend is a good traveler before you set off on a long adventure. Ziggy only goes on road trips of less than an hour now, andÂ when we go further he gets to have fun at a local doggie hotel.
Pack for Your Pet
Dogs need their own “stuff” too. Make sure you have your puppy’s favorite blanket or toy, to help if he gets stressed during the trip. Bring bottled water, a bowl, a leash, any medications and of course plastic bags for cleaning up. Before the trip I picked up a new toy for Alex at Walmart so he would have something to help relieve the boredom of the long drive.
In addition check the collar and make sure the dog’s tag has a way to get in touch with you if he does get separated from you while you are away from home. Having up-to-date vaccination records with you is also important. A few years ago we showed up at State Park to camp and realized we forgot the dog’s rabies certificate, which meant we couldn’t stay. That was a disappointing family road trip, and not a mistake we want to make again.
Just like people a dogs needs to get up and walk around every few hours, especially on a long trip like ours. So take frequent breaks when you are traveling with your dog. Most of the highway rest areas along our route had well marked grassy areas just for walkingÂ a dog during a trip. Just make sure you are a responsible dog owner and clean up after him!
Never Leave Your Dog Alone in Parked Vehicle
This should be obvious, but sadly it still happens.
Make Sure Your Car is Ready
You never want to take a road trip in a car that has not been properly maintained! My car has close to 100,000 miles on it, so before loading up the kids and pets for a trip I want to be sure it is in top shape. I headed to Walmart, because I love how easy it is to let experts change my oil while I shop for my trip. I left the car at the Automotive Care Center, and by the time I finished picking up a few last minute supplies likeÂ Alex’s new toy and some snacks for the kidsÂ the oil change was complete.
PennzoilÂ® High Mileage VehicleÂ® Oil is perfect for high mileage cars like mine, since itÂ helps clean out the sludge lesser oils leave behind. Â It is specifically designed for new or late model vehicles with over 75,000 miles. And when I took the car to Walmart before my trip I was pleased to see it is onÂ Rollback from $39.88 to $35.88, fromÂ JuneÂ 15thÂ until September 28th. At the rate I am putting miles on the car with road trips this summer I will need another oil change before September.
We had a successfulÂ road trip with Alex and delivered him back to my mom, after about 7 hours on the road. Traveling with pets takes a little longer, but it is worth the effort to be able to enjoy their company on your summer adventures.
You can find your local Walmart Automotive Care CenterÂ hereÂ so you can be ready for all your planned summer road trips. Leave me a comment and tell me about your furry summer road trip companions.