Winter travel with dogs can be beautiful if you are mindful of the colder weather, different driving conditions, and the type of heating you’ll need in your car.
By Laura Pakis, cynologist and dog blogger
Last year, a record number of Americans took to the roads for holiday travel. Statistics show roughly 107.3 million people traveled 50 miles from home from December 23rd through January 1st. With so many people driving for the holidays, it makes you wonder just what happens to their furry little pups during this time of year. Well, they often join their owners. If you’re one of the millions of people who will travel this winter and bring their dog along for the trip, you’ll want to follow a few safety tips to ensure your whole family has a happy holiday.
Begin by assessing your dog’s comfort level while traveling. As you have likely taken them on car rides before, you’ll already know how they react when in a moving vehicle. Please take a few test runs with your dog to prepare for the trip, and remember to pack all of their essentials, such as food, water, favorite toys, and maybe even a cozy sweater or two. If you are going to be renting a car for the drive, you’ll want to research which car is best for your family size, the distance you’ll be traveling, and the needs of your dog. For example, if they’re a large breed, consider opting for a car with a larger space in the back where you can fold down some seats to give them extra room or make space for a crate.
Take Frequent Breaks
Depending on how long your trip is, you’ll want to ensure that you take frequent breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom. It is important to note that some owners often limit the water they give their dogs when traveling with pets. It’s essential to ensure they stay hydrated throughout your entire trip. Letting them out of the car is a great way to ensure their bowels remain consistent and that they’re getting enough exercise to get their energy out. 30 to 40 minutes of playtime in the snow will not only work their heart and other muscles, but it will also tire them out, so they aren’t so rowdy when you reach your destination.
Be Mindful of Road Conditions
While this applies to winter traveling in general, it is crucial when traveling with your dog. Never drive on icy roads or roads where you’re unable to assess the depth of the snow. Watching the distance between you and the car in front of you should be even more critical. The average following distance of three to four seconds should increase to eight to ten seconds. And, most importantly, be sure to warm up your car sufficiently beforehand to ensure you and your pup are nice and toasty for the journey.
Keep Everybody Safe
Roadtripping is a great way to bond as a family and a great way to see many of the sights this country offers. Winter traveling on the road can be beautiful if you are mindful of the colder weather, different driving conditions, and the type of heating you’ll need in your car to keep you and your dog safe, warm, and content during the journey.