There will come a time when every owner has to travel with their dog. Preparing beforehand is important whether you’re moving house or taking a trip together. A great first step is to gradually introduce your dog to short journeys, as it can help to reduce any anxiety when the time comes for a longer trip.
Preparing in advance is especially important during the winter, as you’ll need to bring more items to travel safely with your pet. Here, we’ve outlined the essentials for any trip during the colder season.
Food And Water
It may seem obvious that your dog would need food and water, but you’ll need to consider how to transport it. Bring plenty of bottled water or fill up a large airtight thermos alongside portable bowls to make keeping them hydrated easy. It’s not uncommon for dogs to drink less water if they get anxious, so try adding some bone broth if they need extra encouragement.
As with any trip, you will have worked out how much food you need to bring for the time you’ll be away, but this will need to be extended during the winter. You should be prepared in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, and you get stranded, as you’ll need to have enough food to keep your pet fed and healthy during that time.
Comforts From Home
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, so bringing some items that smell like home can help to calm them down if they start to get stressed. Make sure to bring some of their favorite toys that they can keep close to during the journey. Chew toys can also be helpful, as they distract attention from the vehicle’s movement.
You’ll also want to bring plenty of blankets. Allow at least one for each family member, plus one for your four-legged friend. Not only blanket comforting, but they’re vital to keeping your dog warm. If it’s particularly cold where you’re going, it’s recommended to bring a pet-safe heating pad that they can sleep on too.
Traveling during the winter means extra layers are needed for the whole family, including your furry friend. Particularly for dogs that don’t have a naturally thick coat, you’ll need to consider buying them a sweater or a jacket to keep them warm. They may not like it at first, so it’s advisable to get your dog used to it ahead of time. A great way to do this is to put it on when they’re at home and reward them with a treat once, creating positive associations for your pooch.
The same goes for their feet. They’ll also need protective boots if you plan on walking them through any snow, as the cold can be damaging to their paws. Dogs can even get frostbite if exposed to the cold for too long, so getting them some little boots is highly recommended.
Leashes Or Harnesses
Even if you don’t normally walk your dog on a leash, we’d recommend bringing one on your travels. Walking in unfamiliar areas with new surroundings can be intimidating, so it’s best first to walk your dog on its leash just to be safe.
If you’re traveling by car, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll keep your dog safe throughout the journey. If your dog will be in one of the back seats, it’s recommended that you purchase a harness to keep them strapped in case of an accident. Most travel harnesses still allow your dog to move around and get comfortable, so they’re unlikely to feel restricted.
Preparing For Your New Adventure
Safety should always be the main priority when traveling with your pet. If you’re reading this article, you’ll likely agree. Keeping them healthy and happy is all any owner could want, and preparing ahead of time can go a long way. For families with young children, it’s also helpful to make them aware that traveling can be stressful for their pooch. Encourage them to keep the noise to a minimum and avoid distracting the dog from making the trip as pleasant as possible for everyone.
Jane Philips works as a Veterinary Assistant and has a passion for animals. She volunteers at the local dog shelter in her spare time, helping unwanted dogs find new homes. She also has two wonderful dogs that are the center of her world.