It’s been eight years since I adopted Max from a rescue group at a farmers market in Long Beach, California. Little did he (or I, for that matter) know that we would be embarking on a seemingly never-ending journey together. Throughout the years, we have made some mistakes, learned some lessons, and found some amazing spots to camp. If you are thinking about traveling with your pet on a road trip, here are some tips that will help in planning and taking the next step for your journey with your four-legged best friend. I can’t imagine life on the road without Max.
Pack Their Bag
It makes things so much easier when everything they need is in one place. Remember to pack food, toys, poop bags, and treats, as well as their favorite bed or blanket. It’s important for our dogs to have a space where they feel comfortable.
Bring Vaccination Records
I’ve had Max’s shot records handy and for good reason: many state parks require to see shot records in order to camp. Although it was only in a few places, I was thankful that I had records with me. Max is microchipped and has an ID tag, just in case.
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Watch Out for “No Dogs Allowed”
More often than not, dogs won’t be allowed on national or state park trails. Do your research so you won’t be disappointed on the restrictions when you enter a park. I have found that your best bet for letting your furry friend roam with you are national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. You can find campsites on our public lands through their website at www.blm.gov. If you are tired of camping, look for a nearby pet-friendly, such as Motel 6 or Red Roof Inn. Max and I have stayed in both and they are a nice way to recharge after camping for extended periods of time.
Use Travel Apps
I have found some apps that help with searches on where to sleep. I use the Allstays app for researching campsites nearby when I decide to stop driving and start searching for a place to sleep. It’s helpful to determine where you can camp nearby and many times, I use it as a tool to decide on a direction to head each day. If you have a social dog, use the Dog Park Finder app (available for iPhone and iPad) to find parks so your pal can run around with new friends.
Get Out of the Car
Remember to move around outside of the car as much as you can. Even if you are planning a long driving day, it’s important to take your dog out as much as you get out. I always take Max for a walk when we stop for gas. Having a routine is important to your pet. Max and I have a walking routine each morning so things seem familiar to him. I think it’s comforting for your dog to know that they will be walked and fed each morning, even though they don’t know what the day has in store.
For ideas on how to incorporate some training into your road trip adventures, check out Gentle Canine’s post, Training Tips for Road Tripping With Your Dog.
Follow the Weather
Remember that your dog can get overheated fast in summer months. It’s important to keep them cool and supply as much water to them as you drink. Use common sense and don’t leave your pet in a hot car, and remember to bring blankets and sweaters for cold weather.
With just a few adjustments based on your needs, you and your best friend will have the time of your lives!
About the Author/Photographer
Alison Turner was born and raised in Southern California. She learned early on that freedom consisted of long road trips and camping with her family in their wood-paneled station wagon. You could find her playing in the mud by herself or running around in circles in the wet grass when her grandfather told her not to. When they camped, they all slept together in a huge army-green canvas tent that took a small village to assemble. She loved every moment of it. To this day, Alison still has a love for the open road and spends most of her time traveling in her van with her rescue dog, Max. She has a passion and curiosity for people and their way of life. Visit her website at www.alisonturnerphoto.com and follow Alison’s adventures on Instagram: @alisontravels