Tips for traveling with dogs (Van / car & hotel)

We travel with our dogs a lot. I spend so much time away from Shadow while I’m at work that I always want him with me when possible on the weekends. We’ve taken them on numerous trips and have stayed in the van with them ~ 20 nights (not consecutively). We also have different personalities to account for, here’s a quick rundown:

Shadow –  lab mix: mostly chill in car rides, only barks when he sees bikes/skateboards or if someone sketchy is nearby (usually fair tbh)

Charlie – corgi mix: 9/10 he is slightly anxious when we first take off. He calms after the first 20 mins or so but we’ve had to adapt to learn how we can accommodate him better.

Vehicle Travel Tips – Pup comfort

Here are some of the things we’ve found to be helpful to keep our dogs as comfortable as possible.

  1. Walks before
    • Great way to let your pup release any energy they may have from seeing you get ready and packing the car or suitcases – they know what is happening!
  2. Water in the car at all times
    • I’ve noticed that because Charlie gets worked up and anxious during the packing process he gets thirsty by the time he finally gets in the car. Ever since I noticed it I make sure to have fresh water available even before I put him in the car, he goes immediately for it as soon as he gets in now!
    • Dehydration prevention! It’s important to remember that dogs can get dehydrated too, and if they’re not used to traveling they may be panting more than normal.
  3. Fresh air
    • Our van only has windows in the front seats, it’s important to make sure we always have enough ventilation circulating in the vehicle.
    • If your dog is small or has a particular spot in the vehicle, make sure they are able to get plenty of air flow.
  4. Window shades
    •  If we are going to be parked for more than 10 minutes I’ll put up some shades in the back windows of our van to give the pups some added shade.
      • this also helps because Shadow will start to get excited thinking every stop is another park visit 🙂
  5. USB fan
    • Smart purchase for peace of mind to know there is extra air circulation available.
    • We have this one, I really like that it has multiple speeds and timers! We clamp it onto the headrest pole.

After a lot of wet spots and spills I decided to get a bowl meant for vehicle rides. This bowl has been a GAME CHANGER, no more spills and easy to transport! It makes me so happy to see them use this and know they are staying hydrated while we are on the go.

We have these great 8ft long leashes attached to the back inside corners of the van, they work great when we get parked somewhere to have the dogs outside and have enough room to sniff and stretch. There are multiple rings so you can change the length, sometimes I find shortening it helps the boys to focus on eating instead of sniffing everything.

Hotel Travel Tips

  1. Food and Water available
    • They may not feel like eating at their normal time if they’ve been traveling more than normal, make sure to have food and water available for when they are ready
    • the handle on the waterboy pet bowl above is great for bringing into a hotel room!
  2. Bring toys
    • Let them know they’re in an area where they can relax and have fun, if they’re nervous it will give them an outlet
  3. Play music
    • It will help them feel more relaxed and not focus on external noises they may here and be unfamiliar with (especially at night if you’re in a city area)
  4. Pet beds
    • If you have something you want them to sleep on bring it in right away so they know where their spot is, some pet friendly hotels (Kimpton) offer dog beds – be sure to ask!

I hope this has been a useful tool for you to feel more confident and comfortable when traveling with pets!

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