Thinking of getting out and enjoying a spot of adventure this summer? You’re not alone. America is home to some of the most amazing dog-friendly road trip destinations for pet parents.
Whether it’s lounging on a southern beach while you soak up the rays or exploring one of our amazing national parks, road tripping with your dog(s) is a truly special and amazing experience–-or at least it can be if you plan in advance.
If you’re thinking of your hyper pooch and wondering how the heck he’d ever make a good road trip companion, understand that it’s all in the planning. Work with your dog’s needs and these summer adventure suggestions to achieve success.
Visit National Parks
Not every national parks allows pets (particularly dogs), but many certainly do. Our gorgeous national parks are like your dog’s paradise–so much to see, sniff, and pee on that they’re likely to be overwhelmed with joy.
Best of all, most of our national parks have campgrounds and tenting areas that are more than happy to accommodate your pooch. Some locations even have special swimming areas for dogs or dog parks where your furry friend can get to know other pups as he plays.
Not sure which park to visit? See this list for the nation’s most pet-friendly locations.
De-Flea Well in Advance
Thinking about a summer road trip with your pooch? Don’t leave flea and worm treatments to the last minute. Many of these medications take a day or two to kick in, so if you head out into the wilderness right after you treat, your pup could still be exposed to harmful pests.
This is especially important for any medication used to ward off ticks as they can transfer Lyme and other diseases.
Use spot-on treatments at least 48 hours in advance. For oral medications like Capstar or Bravecto, begin dosing at least seven days before your trip.
Check Tender Toes after Trips
You check your dog’s paws in the winter, when ice, snow, and salt can build up and cause painful ulcers. It’s also wise to check your pup’s feet after trips to the beach or walks in urban areas during hot summer months.
While you aren’t likely to encounter ice or snow, tiny pieces of gravel, glass, and debris can become lodged in your dog’s footpads, as can splinters of wood. Remove these carefully and follow basic first aid for dogs to treat any cuts, scrapes, or blisters.
Beware Hot Roads
If you’ve ever stepped on hot pavement with bare feet in the summer, you’re experiencing what your dog experiences when he does the same thing first-hand. Asphalt driveways and roadways (including sidewalks) can become hot enough to cause second-degree burns to your dog’s paws. The darker the pavement or surface, the higher the risk, but sand can heat up quickly, too. Even wooden or stone walking paths aren’t foolproof; in full sun, they, too, can become uncomfortably hot.
Before you venture out on your trip, think about where your dog will walk. Are you visiting an urban center? Or will you spend most of your time in the woods?
Light leather booties will protect your pooch from burns while preserving his freedom, but not every dog has the same appreciation for them. If you decide to try this method, fit and try them on several days before your trip. This will give your pooch time to become acclimatized to them before you leave.
If your pup simply refuses to wear booties, you can lower the risk for burns by staying out of the sun between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Walking on grass, mud, dirt, and shaded areas are also helpful, as these surfaces don’t become as hot.
Pack Plenty of Food & Water
Calculating your dog’s food and water needs while road tripping isn’t always straightforward. Temperature, activity levels, and even the environment you’ll be adventuring in can all play a role in how much your pup drinks or eats while away.
As a general rule, don’t rely on daily ingestion amounts at home–your dog will likely drink and eat more than this on a road trip because he’s burning more calories out and about.
To get a rough estimate of your dog’s needs, multiply his current daily intake by 2, then multiply that by the number of days you’ll be away. Bring along a few cans of wet food sized just right for one meal–they’ll provide nutrition and hydration, too.
For water, expect your pup to need 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds (55 to 110 milliliters per kilogram) per day while you’re away. Bring this water with you if you plan to camp or spend time in the wilderness.
Never rely upon puddles, brooks, or lakes for hydration along the way unless you are absolutely certain of their safety–these can contain harmful pathogens like leptospirosis that can make your pet (and you) very sick.
Finally, remember that a hot car will dehydrate your pet faster, even when actively traveling. A little bit of air conditioning goes a long way to preventing dehydration on the road.
Use Dog-Friendly Hotels & RV Parks
Even if you plan to camp out, you’ll eventually need to stop for a rest. Plotting out your rough path before you go and identifying dog-friendly hotels and inns will prevent last-minute snafus.
Sure, you could sneak your dog into the hotel like some pet parents do. But this is a risky endeavor; one misplaced bark could see you sleeping outside (not to mention the fine charged to your credit card).
USA Today has an excellent list of dog-friendly hotel chains; use these for long-haul trips or adventures to urban centers. But Bring Fido is by far the best website for digging up details on pup-perfect rest stops. Search by destination, city, dates, and other variables to find your perfect fit.
Still can’t find the right place? Try Airbnb. Many listers indicate if they’re okay with furry friends, and the quieter environment may be better for nervous buddies.
Follow in the Path of Other Furry Friends
Can’t decide on an adventure destination? Take advice from those who have come before you. According to Rover, certain destinations boast more for dogs than others. These include:
- The California coast
- The San Juan Islands
- Montana’s scenic route
- The Great Lakes
- Route 66
- New England
Each of these locations has locations your dog is certain to love, though which you visit may depend on the time of year you go. Keep in mind that Route 66 can be blistering hot in the middle of summer; it’s a much better choice for late spring or mid-fall instead.
If America isn’t enough adventure for you, consider heading to Canada and experiencing another country first-hand. Southern Alberta, the eastern provinces, and British Columbia are especially beautiful in the summer, boasting everything from pristine glacial lakes to beachside retreats. All you need to get across the border is a vet’s certification of your dog’s health–no quarantine required.Tags: summer safety tips