Puppy Road Tips 101

If your puppy is anything like mine, she loves to go for car rides, and my Jack Russell Terrier pup, Jasmine, loves sticking her snout out the slightly-opened window during travel. I love taking my little girl wherever I go, but when I embark on a lengthy trip, I plan accordingly. Traveling with a puppy can be quite the fiasco, so take the time to prepare for your furry passenger tagging along.

Safety first!

If the trip is anything more than running to the grocery store down the street, my little one takes her usual seat. I care far more about my puppy’s safety (and my own) than I care for her to have her preferred seat in the car, right on my lap. While you can purchase a dog safety seat to provide your pup with some stability in the car whenever you turn or need to stop suddenly, there is an even safer option — crating your dog.

Dogs typically don’t mind crates, and some are able to relax more when in a crate, as it provides them a sense of calm. Prior to crating your puppy, make sure they are well-exercised. The more energy your puppy burns before going in the crate for an extended period of time, the more likely they are to simply relax and enjoy the ride.

Make sure all leashes, loose collars, and any other items that may be dangerous to your beloved pooch are removed from the crate. When you’re ready to hit the road, allow your pup to enter the crate on his own. If you force him into the crate, it’s the equivalent of talking to your dog in a strict and stern tone; your pup will pick up on your energy and will be more anxious and active. Keep the peace, and let your puppy know you’re excited about your trip. The happy vibes will go a long way with your crated puppy.

Bones, Toys & Blankets, Oh My!

Your puppy needs to be in a place of comfort while riding in the car, so place a dog bed in your puppy crate so your pup feels at home while traveling. Throw in some of their favorite chew toys (those that don’t squeak are recommended) so your little one can entertain himself while you cruise to your favorite beats. If your dog loves bones, find a larger rawhide for him to chew on, but beware of leaving puppy treats in the crate. If your pooch becomes anxious, he can vomit any snacks that are left for him, leaving you with an unexpected mess to clean up on the side of the road.

Plan to Stop Every Hour

It may seem like a daunting task to stop every hour, especially if you’re taking a longer trip. However, your little pup will appreciate the breaks. Even if you stop alongside the highway and let your pup stretch his legs for a few minutes and do his business, your breaks don’t need to be too long. Taking your puppy on short walks prevents him from getting riled up and going crazy in the crate. However, if you do choose to pull over on the side of the highway, remember, safety first: Always put your puppy on a leash when you walk him — especially near busy streets.

When you eat, your puppy eats

If you stop for a quick bite, a good rule of thumb to follow is whenever you eat a meal, so does your puppy. Never leave him alone in your car, even if you think you’ll only be gone for a few minutes. However, if you’re stopping for fast food and don’t want to eat while driving, pull over into a shaded parking spot, hop out and prepare your puppy’s food and water dishes. Open the windows, and once you finish eating, take your pup for a quick jaunt to stretch his legs and let him burn off some energy before completing your road trip.

Rachael Jones is a blogger for DIYMother.