Nomads who are thinking of adding a dog to their #VanLife or homebodies itching to hit the open road with your best friend, here are some great tips to make the best of your best life!
Train. Train. Train.
The more training you and your dog do together, the stronger your bond and communication. Sit and Stay are just the basics! Travel on the open roads, means, well, roads! Roads are dangerous, but the better trained your dog is, the safer they are.
Be sure to take advantage of the new environments to add training opportunities every day. Many traveling folks find it easy to incorporate training time into meal time with their dogs. Dog’s got to eat, so working 10 minutes of obedience work into the meal is a realistic goal. Never stop training. Besides the safety features, think of how many awesome poses your dog can add to your Instagram account!
Plan it out
Don’t leave the dog in the vehicle unattended. We have all heard the horror stories of leaving dogs unattended in vehicles, as the temperature can quickly climb. Even if the temperature isn’t too high, and you have a fancy cooling device, well intentioned people are likely to break your windows in order to save the dog.
But with proper planning, you won’t need to leave your dog unattended. If you are in a position to travel with a partner, one person can always stay with the dog while someone pees or gets groceries. If you are travelling solo, either get food from drive thru’s, or meal plan. For bathroom situations, there are a number of devices on the market that allow a traveller to answer nature’s call.
There are also doggy daycares and pet sitters you can access of of apps. So you can ensure your dog is always attended and taken care of.
Okay, this one goes out to the pups with a more sensitive stomachs. Switching food can be a bit upsetting for them, especially on the road! If your dog is a one brand loyalist, consider expanding their diet to at least two brands. The reason being, depending on where you plan to travel, it can be difficult to find some brands of foods. By expanding their menu, you increase your chances of finding the prefered brand as well as decreasing the chances of having an upset stomach from switching foods. By feeding more than one brand at a time, your dog will develop a tolerance for different foods.
Thankfully many cities have 24-hour emergency veterinary care, which are easily in reach from your smartphone. But a small canine emergency pack will help until you can reach professional medical help. Include all a copy of vet records and rabies certificate, hydrogen peroxide (for cleaning wounds and inducing vomiting), antibiotic ointment, ice pack, gauze, tweezers, scissors, rubber gloves and vet wrap. You may decide to add extra items to your first aid kit, depending on your dog, and where you plan to travel.
Get Plenty of Exercise
A tired dog is a good dog. So while the open road calls, don’t forget the whole point is to have an adventure. Look for scenic hikes, dog friendly beaches and parks to explore together. Social media can be a good source for must-do hikes and secret swimming holes. Remember, even the best behaved dogs should be kept on a leash in new surroundings for their safety. The journey is greater than the destination, then stop, smell the roses and take the dog for a hike! You will both feel better after a chance to stretch your legs.
Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: “Get outside and play with your dogs!”