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What You Need to Know Before Bringing Your Dog on a Road Trip

Bringing your dog on a road trip, but aren’t sure how to prepare? Follow these essential tips to ensure your next voyage is a safe and happy one for you and your fur baby.

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Tips for bringing your dog on a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

Thinking about bringing your dog on a road trip? Read this first!

Setting off on a road trip is an exciting time, but if you’re planning to bring your dog with you there are a few things you need to keep in mind. From preparing their space in the car, to planning adequate rest stops, we’ve got 10 easy ways to get you and your fur baby ready for a road trip that’s memorable for all the right reasons.

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Bring your dog's health records on a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

1. Gather your dog’s health documents

Make copies of all of your pet’s medical records and ensure that they are up to date on their vaccinations before you set out on the road. If your pet gets sick while on the road, it will make it much easier for health professionals to treat them if they know your pet’s medical history.

Keep in mind, health documents are just one the 10+ things you should never keep in your glove compartment.

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Bring your dog on a practice road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

2. Go on practice runs or mini road trips with your dog

Make sure your dog is familiar with your car and riding in it prior to going on a long road trip. Try taking them on short errands or trips to ensure they’re comfortable with being in the car.

Worried about your dog’s claws slashing holes in your upholstery? Don’t sweat it—here’s how to repair a leather car seat.

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Groom your dog before a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

3. Groom your dog ahead of time

Book an appointment for a full grooming before you go on your road trip. This way, you’ll be travelling with a clean pooch, which will make for a much more pleasant experience for everyone in the car.

Got a funky smell in your interior that you just can’t shake? Here are four unconventional ways to freshen your car.

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Secure the dog in its carrier on a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

4. Secure your dog’s crate or harness

Whether your dog is more comfortable in a harness or a crate, it’s important to secure this in place for the safety of you and your pooch. A dog that’s left free to wander through the interior can pose a serious driving hazard. Here are more driving mistakes that can put you in danger.

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Don't overfeed a dog before a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

5. Don’t overfeed your dog

Feed your pet light meals before hitting the road. A full stomach can lead to carsickness and accidents in the car. When you’ve stopped driving for the day, feed your dog regularly.

Psst—this is why some people get motion sickness and others don’t.

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Bathroom breaks for dogs on a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

6. Make frequent stops en route

Be sure to stop at rest stops and parks frequently on your drive. Giving your pet ample breaks to walk will lessen the likelihood of an accident.

Here are 13 things you’re doing in your car—but shouldn’t.

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Don't let dogs hang their heads out the window on a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

7. No heads out of the window!

Although it may seem like fun to let your dog hang its head out the window while you’re driving, it could be a hazard. Another car or flying debris could cause injury to your pet’s head. What’s more, your pooch could be a distraction to other drivers. Here are more driving tips that could save your life (and some money, too).

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Dog-friendly hotels for your road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

8. Find pet-friendly accommodations ahead of time

Check with hotels along your route to make sure that they are pet friendly. If you’re staying with friends or family, be sure to let them know you’re bringing your pet.

Looking for road trip inspiration? These are the top 10 road trips across Canada.

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Microchip your dog before a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

9. Microchip your pet

Consider adding a microchip to your pet. Should your pet go missing while on the road, a microchip can be the quickest way for others to help locate the animal. You might also consider investing in these car anti-theft devices to protect your ride—and your passengers.

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Dog drinking water on a road tripPhoto: Shutterstock

10. Bring your own water

Bottle your water from home or use bottled water for your pet. Tap water in areas that your pet is not used to can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea.

Make sure you’ve also packed plenty of these Canadian road trip essentials.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest