Planning the first road trip with your dog


Dr Ritesh Sood
A road trip with your dog can be one of the best ways to bond with him. Let’s find out how to make it in a safe, pleasurable and memorable way.
From shortlisting a pet-friendly destination to preparing a checklist of essentials, you will want to leave no stone unturned to look forward to a memorable road trip experience for you and your dog. Keep the following list handy before you begin planning the road trip with your loyal canine.
Health check-up
Consult your vet to make sure your pooch is up-to-date with necessary vaccinations. Road trips may invite unwanted illness, if proper care is not taken. Go on short trips to see if your dog has motion sickness or is nervous about travelling. If so, check with the vet for medicines or supplements that can help your pet make it through long trips.
Plan bathroom breaks
Take a 15-30 minute break every four hours. Your dog will be at ease and more comfortable if he is allowed to take bathroom breaks frequently. This will also help him move around and adapt to the changing environment. In the meanwhile, stick to his feeding schedule as well. Keep plenty of water and dog food available.
Your dog’s bag
Carry a separate bag for your dog that contains the following items.

  • Food and water bowl
  • Chew toys (preferably, your dog’s favourite one!)
  • Medications
  •  Towel and blanket
  •  Seat covers
  •  Dry bath shampoo and brush
  •  Treats- preferably the healthy ones
  •  Leash
  •  First-aid kit

Driving precautions
The foremost precaution to bear in mind while travelling with a dog is never to let him hang his head out of the car window. While it may seem enjoyable, it can be extremely dangerous. Check your dog’s temperature regularly and adjust the temperature in the car to suit him. Don’t play loud music as dogs have far better hearing than we do, potentially causing discomfort to your dog. Most importantly, never leave your dog unattended or locked inside the car. With some upfront planning, traveling with your dog can be an enjoyable experience for both of you. So, go ahead and explore places and create everlasting memories with your best travel companion.
(Dr Ritesh Sood is Product Manager – Animal Health Division, The Himalaya Drug Company.)