Once upon a time Jack and Jill decided to travel up the hill and take Mr. Wiggles with them. Jack wanted to just grab a pail, but Jill was a much more savvy traveler and she grabbed her The Blissful Dog Travel List to help get things organized.
The Blissful Dog Travel List for Road Trips
• Make sure your dog is used to traveling before a long trip. A few quick trips around town will accustom your best buddy to being in the car. Of course, you will be using a crate for your dog on the trip, as safety first is Jack and Jill’s motto. No ugly spills will mar your idyllic vacation!
• Also, ensure your dog has a clean ill of health and is up to date on any required vaccinations OR has the appropriate titers (for those of us who are looking askance at over-vaccination issues. Bring copies of any paperwork along, just in case Mr. Wiggles nips someone (the horror).
• Even if your dog is usually “ala naturelle” have him or her wear a collar with identification. May we also suggest you have additional identification with the destination written out (there are nifty little cylinders you can buy and slip a piece of paper in with temporary contact info). While on the subject of collars and such…please make sure you keep your buddy on a leash while you are out of your area. It only takes a blink of a Pug eye for your best friend to get lost. They can quickly become disoriented and then a fun trip becomes a nightmare.
• Take cool water from home, especially if your dog has a sensitive tummy, as changes in water could give a little tourista (oh, no!). Also, bring plenty of food from home so they will not have nay digestive upsets along the way. Dogs crave routine and their same food, in their same bowl, at about the same time, is best, if at all possible.
• If you are the only human in the car there will be times when you HAVE to leave your dog alone in the car. In hotter climates, this can be a bit unsettling and we do not have perfect answers, just what has worked for us. Tip: Have two sets of keys to the car, leave the car locked and the a/c running and dash in and out as quickly as you can! Keep in mind that this is literally a “pit stop” answer, as a/c systems can fail and we do not want that to happen to YOU. If you must be absent for much more than that…leave your flat faced dog at home!
• When I have traveled on long road trips with my French Bulldogs, in moderate weather, I would run in and take MY pit stop and run right back out. Then I would park under a tree (if possible) and let me dogs out for a break. When traveling with one or two dogs I would just keep them on leashes for their walks. With more than two, I would use an exercise pen and allow them time out to romp and go potty. NEVER leave an ex-pen unattended, no matter how tempting it may be to just run into whatever for a minute. Just don’t. (DUH).
• Breeds like pugs and FRench Bulldogs have eyes that protrude just a bit more than many other breeds (we think it makes them even cuter). But this sassy feature also makes it easier for our buddies to get debris in their eyes – ouch! If you do roll the winds down, make sure it is just a bit and of course, never enough for one of these bold buddies to leap out! Yes, I have had crazy Frenchies leap out of car windows and I needed cardiac recussitation both times it happened. Thankfully, I was parked in my own driveway – crazy dogs!
• Ok, here are a couple of common sense recommendations…do not let your dog run loose all over the car! I know there are many of you who let your dog stand in your lap while you drive…one word…DON’T! They can cause accidents when trying to give kisses, roll the window down or by just being a dog…so, do not let them have free rein in the car…period.
• Keep your dog crated OR in a seatbelt OR doggie car seat (yes, they have them). It is safer for them, for you, and for everyone on the road. Please. Heaven forbid we sound strident or preachy…but we do not want you and YOUR Blissful Dog to be injured. Enough on all that!
May you and your flat-faced friends have a Blissful Road Trip!