Traveling Cross Country With A Dog

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Traveling cross-country with your dog can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. According to the ASPCA, traveling with a pet can be highly stressful, but with a little thoughtful preparation your trip can be safe and comfortable for everyone. Ensure your cross-country trip with your dog is a success by planning and preparing extensively ahead of time.

Items You'll Need:
• Dog crate
• Dog food
• Toys
• Dog bed
• Pet first aid kit
• Food and water bowls
• Leash
• Dog collar/harness
• Identification tags
• Pooper scooper
• Water jugs

Begin the trip with a trip to the veterinarian.

Take your dog to your local veterinarian's office for a health screening before heading off on your cross-country trip together. Your dog may need certain vaccinations or shots before being permitted to travel cross-country.

Identify pet-friendly lodging early.

Plan lodging reservations beforehand. If you plan on staying in a hotel or motel during your trip, you need to know ahead of time which establishments are pet-friendly. You can find pet-friendly lodgings online at the website.

Keep your pet's gear in one place.

Gather all required pet equipment necessary. You will need a sturdy dog crate, dog food, toys, a dog bed, a pet first aid kit, food and water bowls, a leash and a collar or harness with proper identification tags. According to the American Kennel Club, the identification tags should include your dog's name, your name, and your home phone number or cell phone number as well as proof of rabies shots.

Acclimate your dog to their crate in the weeks leading up to the road trip.

Introduce your dog to the crate ahead of time. According to the American Kennel Club, using a crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe and happy while traveling--as long as it's large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down and has the proper ventilation holes on each side of the crate. Place the crate in a safe, quiet area in your home and leave it open so your dog can become familiar or accustomed to it. You can purchase dog crates at pet stores.

Make conditions for your dog as comfortable as possible.

Put a dog bed and a few of your dog's favorite toys in the crate before placing your dog into the crate. Dogs can become bored very easily when traveling--therefore, your dog will need plenty of toys to keep him happy and occupied throughout the cross-country trip.

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Be sure to take frequent potty breaks.

Stop every few hours for potty and exercise breaks. Dogs, like humans, need regular breaks to relieve themselves. Dogs also need regular spurts of activity, like walking or running, to stay healthy and happy during travel.

Don't veer from your dog's at-home feeding schedule.

Feed your dog on a regular schedule and provide plenty of fresh water for your dog throughout the cross-country trip. Feeding and watering your dog on a strict schedule will help keep your dog's potty breaks on a regular schedule.

Warning: Never leave your dog unattended in your vehicle while traveling.