Dogs are the best companions. Of all the pets we can bring into our homes, they are by far the most loyal, loving, and fun to have around. Through all the times they beg for food, make a mess, and chew on our shoes, it’s still easy to see how much they love us and strive to please.
One of the best parts about owning a dog is that they are usually easy to bring along. Unlike a hamster or a pet snake, we can load them up in the car for a long trip and they’ll actually enjoy it. It won’t be stressful or traumatic for them, unless they think they’re headed to the vet.
If you’re the owner of a younger and more energetic puppy and you’re planning a fairly lengthy trip, you’re probably worried about how to keep them entertained. Without a proper plan in place, a puppy could totally ruin your car by chewing, using the bathroom, or by going so crazy that she takes your attention away from the road.
Luckily there are plenty of simple things you can do to satisfy your puppy’s needs in the car, regardless of the breed, size, energy level, or other needs.
While entertaining your puppy is important for her health and happiness, safety is still the number one concern.
Before loading up the car and getting on the road, it would be wise to take your puppy for a long walk or run to tire them out for the beginning of your drive. This will give you a chance to get settled on the road before their energy spikes up again. If you’re lucky, they may even lay down and take a long nap.
In case you can’t tire her out before you start your drive, or if you expect them to become restless on the road, make a plan to keep them secured away from the driver’s seat.
If you’re bringing a friend along for the trip, have that person sit in the back seat with the dog and keep her occupied. If that’s not an option, purchase a puppy seat belt or, space permitting, secure a crate in the back of your vehicle. The last thing you want is a hyper puppy in your face when you should be focused on the road.
Pack the Essentials
If you leave your house without a bucket of toys and bones for your pup to enjoy, you can go ahead and kiss your sanity goodbye. Having a plethora of toys for your dog to choose them will not only tire her out, but it will also keep her happy and entertained
With your sanity in mind, we would recommend steering clear of squeeky toys. But the more variety you can provide, the less likely your puppy is to get bored and seek out other ways to entertain themselves. A variety of bones and rope, cloth, or rubber-based toys should do the trick.
If you’re parenting a pitbull or other bully breed known for their powerful jaws, consider buying yourself a Kong and a jar of peanut butter. Kongs come in different sizes and they’re known for being durable enough to handle even the strongest bites. Your puppy will be entertained for hours if you fill yours with peanut butter and treats giving them something tasty to work toward on the ride
Other items to bring along include your dog’s leash and collar, identification tags, water and food bowls (as well as water and food), treats, waste bags, a blanket or towel for her to lay on, and motion sickness medication in case the long car ride turns her stomach. Packing smart is the number one key to an easy ride.
Make Frequent Stops
Depending on the length of your road trip, you can pretty much guarantee that your puppy will become restless at one point or another. You’ll obviously be making plenty of stops for both you and your puppy to use the restroom, but you may also want to extend the length of some stops so you can both get some fresh air and stretch your legs.
One great way to squeeze out all of your pup’s energy is to take her to a dog park. Depending on her age and size, a fifteen-minute stop should do the trick and get her calm and comfortable for another few hours in the car.
If you’re having trouble locating dog parks in towns you may have never visited before, try downloading Dog Park Finder on your iPhone or Android.
With proper care and attention, a distracted and tired dog is usually a happy dog. Making all road trips with your dog fun and easy will make her excited for the next time you take a trip together, even if it is just a trip to the vet!