TIME FOR ROAD TRIP WITH YOUR GREYHOUND?
Finally, it looks like things are opening up, and summer is around the corner. Time for a get-away! Taking your Greyhound along can be loads of fun if you plan carefully. Here are some trip tips to make traveling with your dog more enjoyable.
Start by keeping a buckle collar with current identification on your Greyhound at all times. A microchip is recommended for extra security. In the event that your dog gets away from you on your trip, you can increase the chances of recovery by making sure he can be properly identified.
Maybe your Greyhound already loves riding in the car. If not, don't expect to just throw your pup in the car the day you leave. Take your time and get him used to the car well in advance. This important step will help your hound become more comfortable with car rides.
Let him into the car, let him sniff and explore while the car is stationary in a secure place like your yard or garage. The less excitable he is when the car is in motion, the better it will be for all of you. Take him out on short test runs, maybe to the local pet store, to see how he reacts in a new, confined space that is moving. Make sure to give a lot of praise and treats! If you can go somewhere close by that you know your dog loves, make this trip often so he associates car rides with something good.
To begin with, there are a few unwritten rules about dogs and travel. Most of it is just common sense that every pet owner already knows, but just in case, here are a few clear pointers:
- No dog should ever travel in the front seat, unless specially equipped
- All dogs in a car should be strapped or crated, not roaming freely
- Allowing your dog to stick his head outside of the window is a big no-no
- Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death. In some states, it’s also illegal.
- The more rest stops your dog gets, the better it is for everybody
Plot rest stops along the way while traveling with your dog, and plan to stop every 3-4 hours to allow your dog to relieve himself, drink water and stretch his legs (more or less depending on your dog’s needs). Before you leave home, teach your dog to relieve himself on multiple surfaces — not just grass! Having the ability to potty on different terrains, such as concrete, mulch, and gravel, will alleviate his discomfort as well as the possibility of accidents while you’re on the road or otherwise.
Try the app called USA Rest Stops: This app will help you easily find the nearest rest stop on the US, including Interstates, US highways, and state highways! You can browse by state and interstate or you can browse on a map. It’s great for water and potty breaks.
Make a list of several veterinary hospitals that are easily accessible from your route, preferably within one hour’s drive from any given point. Check that they will be open during your travel. Consider a list of things to bring for the car ride:
- Lists of rest stops and veterinary hospitals (or apps)
- Dog seat belt or crate/kennel
- Bring his regular food, or at least enough to get you to the next place where you could buy it
- Bottled water and bowls (collapsible - let him get used to using them one week or so before you travel)
- Treats and a toy or two
- Blanket and/or dog bed
- Poop bags
- Medications, if applicable
- Your dog’s medical records, including list of recent vaccinations, and a recent picture of your dog
When in the car, even if you are just on a quick jaunt, you never know what could happen. Most people keep a first aid kit in their vehicle for themselves, so why not put together a first aid kit for your dog as well? Having an emergency kit for your dog ensures you are prepared in case there is an accident, traffic, or car trouble that results in a breakdown. It's easy to keep this kit in your glove box or trunk so it's out of the way.
See this article for a DIY Portable Dog First Aid Kit.
An emergency kit for your dog should contain several things. The most important is water. If you get stuck in traffic or breakdown, you may be stranded for hours. In this time, your dog will need water (you probably will too!).
Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or have size restrictions. If your Greyhound is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff, and the property. Keep your dog as quiet as possible. Do not leave your dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place. Ask the management where you should walk your dog, and pick up after him. Do not leave any mess behind.
Puppy-proof the vacation home (or room). Before you let your dog have free run of his home away from home, make certain it’s safe for your dog to explore. Be sure that the previous occupants didn’t leave anything on the floor or under furniture that could be potentially harmful to your dog. Also watch out for electrical cords.
Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.
BringFido: This app (and website) helps you locate pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks and activities.
HOT CAR WARNING
Although everyone should know this, when traveling with dogs, never ever leave your pooch unattended in a car. Cars act as insulators – they can heat up to exorbitant temperatures very quickly, and a dog can die after only a short time alone in a hot car. If you need to stop, take your dog with you.
To a lesser extent, cars in cold weather can be the same. Temperatures in the car can drop, and your dog may freeze. No matter what the temperature is when you are traveling, don't leave your dog in the car!
PREVENTING MOTION SICKNESS
Luckily, it is not common for dogs to get motion sickness, but it’s possible. Symptoms of dog motion sickness include:
- Excessive drooling, panting
Quick tip: Keeping your Greyhound in a crate or harnessed while you drive will minimize nausea because they don’t have the freedom to move around. Always make sure your dog faces forward while you drive so that they aren’t looking out the window in all directions while in motion, a common cause of nausea in dogs. BTW, a crate can also keep your dog from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Also, in case of an accident, they’re much less apt to run away.
You can also help your pet by opening your car windows a little bit so your dog can get fresh air, especially if the car trip is a long one. Allowing him to feel the breeze and fresh air will be calming and lessen his queasiness.
Don’t feed your dog or give too many treats before he gets in the car. While you want to make sure the car is a positive place for a dog, over-feeding him treats will only intensify the nausea.
If none of these tactics above help your dog to deal with car motion sickness, there are medications available that can help eliminate nausea in dogs. Consult with your veterinarian before you leave on your trip to find out your options.
Lastly, remember that a tired dog is an easy traveler. Make sure your dog gets a lot of exercise before doing a long stretch in the car, or stop along the way so they can run around. It’ll make your dog feel better, and make for a much more comfortable trip, for both you and your hound.
Apps to find dog parks: try Sniffspot - showcases safe and private dog parks and off leash areas hosted by locals. Or try BarkHappy – find dog friendly restaurants, bars, hotels, parks and more. Even see their pet policies and amenities.
Make sure that your canines are safe, well-cared for and always protected. Pet safety is the number one priority when riding in the car for both you and your dog.
Remember, it’s a vacation. Traveling can be stressful, but a calm owner usually has a calm pet. Our animals pick up on our stress, so if you’re nervous and uptight, your dog may show stress and anxiety, too. Planning and learning how to travel with your dog can make the experience less stressful and a lot of fun!