Can I Go Too?

Traveling this winter with your dog

Traveling this winter with your dog

Holidays are here and along with wish lists, big dinners, and bright lights, some are planning to visit family and friends too. This season happens to be off to a cold start, which means the roads will probably get a little unpredictable.

So for safety reasons, start any journey by mapping out your route – and be sure to keep it a safe one. Side roads, shortcuts, and other “off the beaten path” routes may not save you as much time as you think. It’s better to stay on the main roads where you and your pup are more likely to be rescued in case of an emergency.

Pack for the trip and the stay

It’s easy to forget things when you’re packing, particularly if they aren’t things you yourself are planning to use. So that your furry pal isn’t looking at you with a sad face, make sure you bring their stuff too. Water, some food in sealable containers (so it won’t spill all over the floorboard), a few treats, and a toy of course. And make sure you don’t forget their leash. In many situations, you’re carrying your pup in their crate or kennel, so a leash may not be on your mind.

Depending on where you’ll be staying, it is also a good idea to carry some bags to pick up your dog’s droppings. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to bring some tape (packing or duct tape work well and are good for a many things) or a lint roller to remove fur from anything and everything, including your host’s furniture.

Keep calm

You’ll also want to keep them calm during the trip too. Most pooches will sleep, but a few may want to see the sights…all of the sights. For road trips, a crate or safety belt will help prevent your friend from hopping all over the dash, rushing between the back and front seat, and otherwise being a big distraction.

Just because they’re stuck in one spot doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the trip. Keep them entertained with toys, puzzles, or something to chew on (that’ll help with changing altitudes). Just make sure they have enough room to move around and occasionally stretch so they stay comfy. And if they aren’t entertained by the toys, try singing. It reminds them their best friend is still close.

Prepared for the weather

Due to the cold weather’s unsuspecting attitude, things can change from sunny to ice very quickly, especially when you’re traveling. First of all, always keep an eye on the weather forecasts so you know what to expect.

The biggest concerns out there are ice, snow, and the general cold that can hit suddenly, so you should be prepared to stay warm with your pup. Even if you don’t expect to see it, carry an ice, a scraper or de-icer spray to keep your vehicle’s view clear. It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have. A flashlight is always handy, big or small, it’s the brightness that matters. Just make sure you have extra batteries for it.

A blanket is a must. Fleece is nice and cozy, but it does make your pup’s fur stand on end with static if they rub around in it too much. Additionally, an old worn towel can help reduce your need for scraping ice off the windshield early in the morning. All you have to do is lay it across the windshield and peel it off in the morning.

Snacks are a regularly packed item for most, but just in case of a traffic jam or you’re forced to stop for harsh weather, keep some extra food for you and your pal. Also consider some of the essentials for road safety as well. Pack some road flares or some way to signal distress. And they can help keep you warm.  It is also wise to keep enough cash for a hotel room, in case the power is out and the credit card machines don’t work.

Travel safe this holiday season, whether you’re visiting friends, family, or just trying to vacation somewhere a little warmer. And remember to always plan ahead for both you and your faithful companion’s needs on the road. Stay warm, and in case of cold, snuggle with your warm, furry friend.

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