I recently published a piece here on Gadling titled 10 tips for road-tripping with your dog. Somewhat chronicling my experience with hitting the road for 38 consecutive days with my 6 month old puppy, I thought through what made the trip work for me and compiled those thoughts into 10 tips for those of you enjoy the open road alongside your pooch. Luckily for me and all of our other readers, many of you chimed in, as requested, with your own tips through the comments. I was excited to read so much useful advice from those of you who are road warriors and dog lovers. So excited, in fact, that I felt a part 2 to my first piece was in call for… and so, here you have it, a list of additional tips for road-tripping with your dog, courtesy of the typing hands of Gadling readers who comment.1. Don’t assume hiking trails and other recreational areas are dog-friendly.
As one reader pointed out, you sometimes have to learn the hard way with this one. I was recently in Laredo, Texas and found that the only park in the city (that I could find) for dogs was Lake Casa Blanca. Once I paid the fee and got into the park, I found out that dogs aren’t actually allowed off-leash inside the park. So my dog, Fiona, and the puppy I rescued off of the street while in Laredo, Donnie, got to exercise a bit, but not as much as I was hoping for. If a campground is dog-friendly, don’t automatically assume the surrounding park is. Do your research.
2. Get a Kennel Cough vaccine.
If at any point in time on your journey you’ll be boarding your dog or leaving your dog where other dogs are or have been, consider getting a kennel cough vaccine for your dog. Kennel Cough is a highly contagious illness that affects canines. It causes inflammation of the upper respiratory system. Not only do you want your dog to be healthy and free of nasty bugs like this one, but a sick dog can demand altering your travel schedule and/or itinerary.
3. Research before crossing borders with dog food.
One commenter says that you cannot enter the USA with an open bag of dog food nor can you enter the USA with dog food from another country. Before crossing any country line, make sure you know the rules about what kind of food you can bring into the country for your dog.
4. Have a doggy bag.
Consider putting together a bag that is just for your dog. This bag can include everything from your dog’s paperwork to medication. This way, while you’re cramped up in the car, you’ll know exactly how and where to find everything your dog may need.
5. La Quinta.
La Quinta hotels, according to one commenter, are pet-friendly and don’t charge a pet fee. Keep that in mind.
6. Safe water.
Not all water is created equal. Make sure you have a healthy supply of water for your dog. Don’t assume the water in any particular region of the world is safe for your pup to drink before knowing the facts. In some cases, your dog will need to drink bottled water.
7. Safety check every space.
Before letting your dog off-leash at a pet-friendly hotel or even the house of a friend or relative, make sure you sweep through the area and check for pet-unfriendly items. I was recently at the home of a relative and found chocolate candies on the floor that her daughter had dropped. Not the fault of the relatives, of course, they don’t have a dog and probably don’t know or think of doggy no-nos, but checking the floors and areas can prevent your dog from illness or even death.
8. Dog tags.
Make sure your dog has all of the proper tags on his or her leash. Vaccination tags, name and contact information tag, microchip tag, etc. This will be a dog-lifesaver if your dog wanders off without you.
9. Have photos of your dog.
Make sure you have good and clear photos of your dog before embarking on any trip. In case your dog does get lost, this will enable you to more easily and effectively have people in the respective community on the lookout for your dog.
10. Bathroom on command.
I have Fiona trained to use the ‘bathroom’ on command (and I’m working on the new guy). This is particularly helpful if you are road-tripping. If your dog knows the bathroom command, you won’t have to worry about having accidents in the car.
11. Doggy daycare is everywhere.
Rather than leave your dog in the car if you’ll be away from the car for any extended period of time, consider looking into local doggy daycare centers. When I say they’re everywhere, I’m only kind of exaggerating. They are available in many locations, many of which you will likely be traveling through.
12. Know local law.
If you do sometimes leave your dog in the car for short and safe periods of time, beware the laws of the land as you travel. One commenter told a story of having a dog removed from a car in Burbank, where, apparently, people frequently remove dogs from their owners’ cars without consulting with the owner (who, for all they know, might have been picking up takeout food from the restaurant just beyond the restaurant parking lot, for instance). If a place you’re traveling through has regulations in place regarding dogs left in cars–know them. Know them well.