6 Quick Tips For Traveling With Your Dog

Whether you're gearing up for holiday travel or planning a summer trip, everything takes on a bit more complexity if you have a dog. If you want to take your pup along and flying with your dog is a terrifying idea, driving's the way to go.

But wait—you can't just jump in and go. Well, you could, but chances are that neither you nor your canine companion would enjoy the ride much. These tips will make the ride smoother for both of you.

Make sure they're car-ready
If Fido is used to going in the car only for those yearly vet appointments, it'd be wise to give him more time in the car leading up to a big trip. Make it fun by giving lots of praise and treats—and maybe even rolling down the car window if you're driving slowly.

Give them a comfy seat
Adding some blankets, towels or pillows can make your backseat more appealing to your pup. If you have a small dog consider purchasing a special dog seat that puts them up higher and watch the world go by.

Don't forget about hotel reservations
Finding a place to crash each night is a little more difficult with a dog than if you just have yourself to worry about. Most importantly, check if your hotel of choice allows dogs. If so, ask about pet fees. Some hotels charge per night while others charge per stay. Of course, some well-known hotels (the Kimpton and La Quinta brands, for example) don't charge pet fees at all.

Allow stops for potty breaks and exercise
OK, this one is practically a no-brainer, but it's pretty important. The ride will be long and boring for your pup if you don't leave time for them to get out, stretch their legs, and sniff everything. For a dog that's guaranteed to be tired for the next leg of the trip, note down some dog parks along your route, if your schedule allows.

Be ready for unpleasant surprises
No matter how old or well-trained your dog is, accidents happen. Have extra towels, cleaning supplies and paper towels to clean up any messes that might occur.

Portion food in individual bags
No matter how many hours you're on the road or how many miles you've covered, know that your dog will still expect a meal each day. You can make the process easier by portioning out individual servings in baggies before your trip starts. And don't forget their water bowl—or purchase a travel bowl, which is usually smaller and may even fold up to take up less room.

No matter what, don't forget that travel is adventure for you and your dog, so be sure to make it fun for both of you. Happy travels!

Elizabeth Xu is a freelance travel writer who's taken her dog on many trips, including along Route 66. Follow her @ElizabethMXu.

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