Thousands of Americans leave their homes every day with one or more of their pets coming along for the ride. Not just any ride, mind you, but a vacation that will take them far from their homes.

If you are planning to take an extended trip with your favorite pooch in tow, there are number of points to consider before you hit the road. Roving with Rover can be fun, but it takes much planning to execute an enjoyable trip.

Vet Visits and Such

When was the last time you took your dog to the veterinarian? He should be current on his shots and in good health. Make that appointment to confirm that he can handle the trip.

Your veterinarian may prescribe special medicine to help keep him calm while you are on the road. Discuss any other concerns that you have and bring an emergency number with you.

Buckle up for Safety

No dog should ride in a car unless properly restrained. There are special canine safety seats that can keep him in place. Not all seats provide the same level of protection. In fact, the industry is not regulated. Your veterinarian may know of any preferred seat that will hold your head in place.

If you prefer to have your dog ride in the back of your utility vehicle a crate may do. That crate should be secured in place with straps and other tie downs utilized. You must consider that a sharp turn could prove injurious or even deadly to your pet.

Make Your Dog Comfortable

A long road trip can be boring for humans and canines alike. Fortunately, your pet may spend most of the time sleeping especially if he is not too wound up. Your dog may desire to look out the window as you are driving, but for safety sake keep that window closed and the air conditioning on.

Bring with you a few of your dog’s favorite toys and his blanket. Consider not feeding your dog just before you leave in the event that he throws up. You should allow your dog to get acclimated to the trip before stopping and feeding him. Bring with you snacks and plenty of water, stopping every two hours to allow him to stretch and exercise. Keep your dog’s collar and identification on him at all times.

Places to Stay

If you will be staying at a cabin or in a friend’s home you may have less of a challenge on your hands than you would if you were to stay in a hotel. Not all hotels accept pets and those that do may charge a daily service fee. Find out which hotels are pet friendly before you leave on vacation.

Most hotels do not allow owners to leave pets and rooms unattended. Those that do ask that you put up a sign to warn the cleaning crew and keep your dog in his cage. Know that even a temporary environment can be unnerving to your pet. Keep good watch on your pooch to make certain that he remains calm and happy.

Things to Do

With your pet joining you on vacation you may forget his needs as you go about your own. Try not to disrupt his routine anymore than it already is. This means if he is used to being fed at a certain time to keep that schedule. He will also need ample time to go outside to relieve himself and play.

Your dog may show uncustomary signs of excitement for bad behavior while you are on the road. You need to keep in mind his needs and, if necessary, get him some help if he shows signs of illness or extreme behavior. Your dog may not like noise and therefore should be kept in a quiet place as much as possible.

Safety Considerations

You should also know that leaving your dog unattended is not wise while on the road. This is especially important when he is in the car and you are not there. Cars can overheat very quickly and leaving the car on with the air conditioning running can result in a ticket.

If your dog has never traveled before, starting off with a short trip first can be wise. That means if you have a one- or two-week vacation coming up, then you should practice being away from home with him for a day or two. You want him to be used to riding in your car and getting used to visiting new places.

Lastly, consider assembling a pet first aid kit before you leave on vacation. That kit can contain many of the same things found in a first aid kit for humans as well as his medicines, nutritional supplements and bandaging materials.

See Also — 7 Hotel Pet Travel Essentials