You have introduced the newest member into your family, your puppy, and you can not wait to do life with them. The feeling is excellent that your next move is to introduce your puppy to the world.
Yes, you can go on a road trip with a puppy, but different dogs will get different experiences. While your new puppy might be bound in and out of cars without a care in the world, some other puppies find traveling with a car a little nerve-wracking. But thankfully, there are many things that you can do to make your new four-legged friends feel more comfortable.
It is recommended that you start traveling with your puppy when they are between 8 and 12 weeks old, also referred to as the key socialization period.
Let us walk you through the tips that you can do to ensure that you enjoy the long car road trip with a new puppy and how to keep your new friend safe.
Tips For Road Tripping With A Puppy
Traveling with a dog is recommended to provide a wide range of positive experiences for them. When your puppy is still young, it is the right age to introduce them to new experiences as it significantly impacts how the puppy will view the world and their sense of security. Puppy training should be on your to-do list.
The key is to make your new puppy comfortable and confident in your long car road trip. The more confident and comfortable they are, the more relaxed they will be. Ideally, you will want your puppy to get used to the car as soon as you bring them home, which will mean a less nervous puppy in the pictures.
1. Introduce your puppy gradually to the car.
Start by introducing your puppy to a stationary car. Allow your puppy to explore their pen or the area they will be traveling in. This will help them feel comfortable, calm, and confident in the vehicle before you start the engine and drive with your puppy in the car.
You can even give your puppy some treats for positive associations with the car.
2. Bring a copy of your puppy’s vaccination records.
Most states require that incoming pets travel with a current certificate of veterinary inspection indicating that your pet was healthy by the time of inspection and is up to date with the required vaccines.
Bring a copy of your puppy’s vaccination records when you plan to take your puppy on a road trip.
3. Make sure that your puppy has an up-to-date tag.
Losing your new puppy in a location that you are unfamiliar with can be scary. Therefore before you plan on driving with a puppy, ensure that your puppy is microchipped and has an ID tag which will make it easier for you to find your pup in case he wanders off.
4. Pack supplies the night before
When planning a road trip, it is best to get organized the night before. Prior packing will ensure you have packed your car with everything your puppy needs. Supplies are critical to a happy, healthy trip. Some of the things that you should not forget include:
- Your puppy’s food
- An extra leash
- Favorite treats
- A blanket
- Collapsible food and water bowls
- Disposable plastic bags and hand cleaners in case you have to deal with puppy car sickness.
- Safe toys or bone for chewing on during the trip
5. Use positive reinforcement and reward your puppy with treats.
It goes without stating that a well-trained puppy will be easier to road trip with than one constantly misbehaving. You should therefore train your new puppy that if they do what they are told, they will get rewards with treats.
Over time your pup will learn to do as told, treat or not, making the road trip a breeze.
6. Ensure that your puppy has access to water.
Your four-legged friend does not have to wait until you make a stop for gas to quench their thirst. With the collapsible water bowl you packed, put some water and let it sit on the backseat floor. Then your puppy can drink at its leisure.
7. Make several stops
Your dog needs to pee and stretch. Therefore, you need to make a few minutes stops when you have your puppies on long car rides. While on the stops, make sure that you take your puppy for some much-needed laps around the parking lot to stretch and breathe in the fresh air.
8. Pack your pup’s favorite toys and snacks.
Quality toys and snacks are essential things to pack during your long drive. The toys and snacks will help engage your puppy’s attention while providing mental stimulation and keeping them in good spirits.
When packing the toys, remember to bring ones that are more durable so that they do not fall apart a few hours into the trip.
9. Exhaust your puppy before the trip.
Before your trip, try and tire your puppy a little by having a little play session. A tired puppy is also a sleepy puppy and will therefore be less prone to being stressed when traveling as they will likely sleep through it. Puppies do need a lot of sleep.
10. Find local puppy parks.
When you get to a new town, your dog will be exhausted. Finding a local dog park will help your puppy blow off some steam. And it is also an excellent way for your new friend to socialize with other new friends.
11. Camp instead of staying at hotels
Finding pet-friendly hotels can be a little cumbersome, and camping is a fantastic option as your puppy will be able to roam. Ensure you have your leash, as most camping sites only allow dogs on leashes.
12. Do not leave your puppy in the car.
If your trip is during summer, remember that if it is too hot in the car for you to be uncomfortable, it is also too hot for your pet. Therefore do not leave your pup unattended for a long time in the heat. This also applies in the winter season, as it can be fatal.
13. Get your puppy used to confined spaces.
While using a crate is not essential while transporting a puppy, it is a good idea. It is an excellent way to keep your puppy safe when traveling. Your puppy will be less likely to get injured in case there is an emergency stop, or you turn a sharp corner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my pup sit on my lap in the car?
Although your puppy sitting on your lap might seem the safest place, it is not recommended. This is because, in some countries, there are legal requirements that dogs should be restrained when in a moving car, either by crates, dog seat belts, or travel harnesses.
Holding your new puppy on your lap might also cause danger to itself and be a potential distraction to the driver.
How long should you wait to travel with a new puppy?
When planning to travel with your new puppy, it’s best to wait until they are at least eight weeks old before taking them on any long road trip. Do not crate your 8-week-old puppy for more than two hours during your road trip. The recommended breaks should be between 15 to 30 minutes each and plan on driving no more than seven hours a day.
How do you calm a puppy on a long car ride?
Car anxiety is a real issue with your new puppy. If you are planning a long road trip, it is essential to help keep your pet calm, as this will improve their level of enjoyment and yours as well. To calm your pup, you can:
- Try to stop every few hours for pit stops
- Ensure that your puppy has enough food and water
- Make sure to keep your pup safe by using a pet safety seat belt
- Bring your pup’s toys
What can I give my puppy for long car rides?
You can give your puppy some toys, dog treats, chew sticks, food, water, and blankets during long car rides.
How do I keep my puppy from getting car sick?
Do not feed your pup immediately before your car trip, as this might trigger car sickness. And in case of an emergency, give your puppy some medication.
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