A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
The sun is finally out, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the open road is calling. Although it may sound fun to hop in the car with your dog, open up all the windows and just drive, you won’t get far before you wish you’d packed him a bag, first.
Packing for a road trip with a dog can be fast and easy, and will help keep your pooch safe and comfortable on the drive. Here’s a few things to grab on your way out the door for a day of fun on the road, or to keep in a bag near the door for those spontaneous road-tripping urges!
Before you leave:
- Make sure that your dog is wearing ID tags and his collar (make sure that it has your cell phone number and not just your home address)
- Take the time to potty in your own yard before leaving (there might not be a good location right away, which is always when my dogs like to go)
- Check the weather forecast to be prepared for unexpected weather changes
What to Pack:
- Water dish and water (you don’t know the water quality in some areas, and a picky dog might refuse some)
- Tupperware container with food (that can be used as a feeding bowl, once the lid is removed) and snacks
- Harness or Seatbelt, for the safety of both of you
- Towels or a blanket for the seat (which can get hot in the sun)
- Extra towels/rags (for spills, wet/muddy paws, or accidents)
- Poop bags (always bring more than you think you’ll need!)
- Toys or a chew stick
- Canine first-aid kit
- Make sure that your dog is in good health and up for the excursion, including being current on vaccinations
- Spring means bugs! Remember to have flea/tick and heartworm protection for him
- Stop every 2 hours for a potty break and to stretch
- Don’t leave your dog in a parked car while you go inside for lunch. Pack your own snacks and enjoy a picnic together outdoors in the shade together.
A few minutes of packing, before you leave, can save you hours of frustration on the road. Most importantly, it will ensure that your pooch is safe and comfortable and will enjoy the ride, along with with you!
April 16, 2021 | DogGeek
It is important that your dog receives lots of opportunity for exercise and recreation. Make sure your backyard can provide your dog a place to freely roam, without sacrificing the quality or design of your landscape. With a couple of tricks, you can create the perfect outdoor environment for your pup. Here are some ways to make a dog-friendly backyard landscape:
Dogscape Your Garden
Create an outdoor space that creates harmony between your dog and garden. Keep in mind the needs of your dog when designing your garden. Make sure your dog has the means for exploration, without messing up your plant presentation. Build a running track or path that weaves through the garden to keep the dog on an established path away from plants.
Make the path comfortable for your dog’s paws with small cedar chip mulch or smooth flagstone rocks set in pebbles. Your plants should be soft yet sturdy — anything too delicate can be trampled by your pet. Create stone or driftwood borders around plants for increased protection.
A dog’s good training can go out the window when distracted by the lure of a squirrel chase. Make sure a fence protects your dog from its own uninhibited excitement.
You can provide a solid boundary with a wood fence that surpasses the height of your dog’s jumping capabilities. Set your fence into the ground a few feet deep so that your dog can’t dig a hole under it.
If you’re worried about the solid and stark aesthetic of a fence, plant large shrubs or ornamental grasses along the perimeter. This will keep your yard a green oasis while also keeping your beloved hound safe.
A training course is a way you can engage your dog’s brain or condition it for any course competitions. Create a fun and ideal training course with a circuit setup with structures and fixtures that test a dog’s physical agility.
For a variety of tricks within the course, set up hurdles, a seesaw, cones and tires. Tires are great for your dog to jump through. Use your old tires as a method of sustainable recycling.
Provide your dog with access to water for refreshment after a hearty play session. You can create a natural spring or pond within your landscape that has regular circulation of water. However, if you live in a mosquito-prone region, a large body of water will draw them onto your property.
Alternatively, consider a small drinking fountain for your dog. You can install a water circulation pump within a galvanized tub or trough. This will look rustic and stylish, while providing a water source for your pup.
If you want a more transportable option, iMounTEK makes a hygienic dog fountain. Your dog can quickly be trained to use the paw-pressable pedal that controls the water stream. Since the water is never stagnant, there is less threat of bacterial growth or water contamination.
April 15, 2021 | DogGeek
The holidays are a fun and hectic time for all of us, including the family pets. Here are some tips to make your trip safe and worry free.
- Get their ya-ya’s out before you get in the car! A tired dog is a happy dog. Take them for a walk or to the dog park to get some of the travel excitement out. Besides, you could use the fresh air too! You’ll just be sitting on your butt all day in the care anyway.
- Plan in advance! Before you hit the road, plan out where you can stop with your pets for potty breaks, food and lodging. Don’t wait till the last second! Many hotels, especial pet friendly hotels, sell out quickly. Book your dog friendly hotel in advance.
- Bring water along with water and food bowls. You don’t know if where you stop will have them and it’s always better to have something that your pet is familiar with.
- Pack wisely. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve packed up our pack only to get to our destination to see that we forgot a Frisbee for our Border Collie mix. A Border Collie without a ball or Frisbee is the equivalent of a small child crying on an airplane… no one is going to be happy! Check, double check, then triple check that you brought everything you need!
- Don’t forget the food. Many pet stores are closed (as they should be) on holidays. Don’t let your pet have an upset stomach because they had to eat table scraps that they are not use to.
- Don’t let your gifts get destroyed. No one wants a hole if their gift from a dog that stepped on it during the car ride to Grandma’s. Plan ahead on how you will store everything in your vehicle so that everything gets there in one piece.
- Make sure all tags are up-to-date. Ensure that your correct mobile phone number (including area code, you are traveling) is on all tags and is readable. Also make sure rabies and other tags are up-to-date too. If you have your dog micro-chipped, ensure that all information is correct there too.
- Don’t forget the pet medications too.
Last of all, don’t forget to have a good time! It is the holidays, enjoy them!
December 11, 2020 | DogGeek
Here at DogGeek we love to travel with our pack! As you most likely know, getting ready for a long trip with your best friend takes a little bit of extra planning. You have to think about potty breaks, not just for your dog but for you since you can’t leave them in the car in the heat. Where to eat, water, etc… Below are a list of items for you to remember.
Thank to HerePup for creating the infographic below.
December 2, 2020 | DogGeek
A quick walk around the block on a leash isn’t enough physical activity for dogs. Dogtime recommends 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day, depending on the type of breed and how active they are.
But what if you don’t live near a dog park for additional play? Make a dog retreat in your backyard complete with an obstacle course and design an inspired resting area. Here are five aspects you need to create a dog-friendly backyard that is fit for a king.
Dogs love playing and resting in the sun, but can get overheated after a day of play. Create a shady retreat in your backyard where human and dog friends can cool off. Position benches, an outdoor chaise or a porch swing attached to a tree to cool off. Make sure to put some of your dogs’ favorite calm down toys and lovies nearby so they can nuzzle and gnaw in the shade.
Place a few bowls of water out and break out the frozen treats to make it a family affair. Sugar-free popsicles or cucumber ice water for the kids and grown-ups and Frosty Paws for the dogs are a good place to start.
Doggy Dining Area
Dogs are loyal companions and want to be where the people are. Situate your outdoor patio furniture in a shady area, or add patio umbrellas to block the sun. Roll out an outdoor island or bar cart to stock with snacks and treats. Get inspired by the W Hotel’s Fido’s Kitchen in Los Angeles where patrons and pooches dine together with an organic dog menu of Apple Crunch cakes and blueberry scones.
Dogs often flee their yards because they’re bored or curious about the greener side of the grass next door. Set up your own agility obstacle course with tunnels, a teeter totter for running and balancing and plenty of things to jump through to keep them occupied. Try tying a tie to a rope and hang it from a tree limb that’s low enough for Fido to soar through. Situate a line of PVC piping to let your dogs weave in and out of the course and show off their skills.
A fence is necessary for dogs and children to play safely in your backyard. But that doesn’t mean you need to let an unattractive wooden or chain fence distract from your dog-friendly retreat. Add green vines or paint a wooden fence with a mural or your favorite dog motif to turn it into a canine-inspired beautification area. Your dogs will feel more at home in their natural retreat and can watch the butterflies and birds playing along the green vines and flowers along your fence.
Dogs love to dig, so give them a place to do it that doesn’t involve your flower beds. Set up a dirt or sand box in a small wooden encasement and let your dogs dig and bury to their heart’s content. A tiny wooden fence or retainer around the box keeps the dirt where it belongs.
Arrange some favorite toys or bones nearby so your dogs can hunt, dig, hide and retrieve. If you discover your dogs are actually using their digging depot as a bathroom spot, create a separate dirt spot alongside it and put a small doghouse around it that makes it easy to hide and clean up later.
April 28, 2019 | DogGeek
If you want to get your dog all excited and wagging its tail, just jingle your car keys and ask “Do you wanna go for a ride?!” It (almost) never fails.
Like many pooches, your pup adores riding in the car with you. Whether you’re heading out on a road trip or merely running some errands in town, you also love having your four-legged bestie along for the adventure.
Check out the following tips to keep your best pal as safe as possible on the open road.
1. Invest in a Doggy Restraint System
Much like you prioritize wearing a seatbelt — hopefully for your kids, too — you also want to make sure Fido is safely restrained before putting your car in reverse. Indeed, don’t let your dog go unharnessed and suffer an injury.
According to PetMD, when you get in an accident with an unrestrained dog, they can incur broken bones, punctured lungs and other serious injuries. To prevent this altogether, purchase a restraint of some kind to keep your dog safe and secure. You can find canine seatbelts at any local or online pet store.
For example, the website for Doctors Foster and Smith carries vehicle safety harnesses in a number of sizes for about $25 each. So if you’re heading out on a long trip with your dog, you might want to test drive the harness first, allowing you to practice safely strapping your dog in as they get used to the idea of wearing it.
2. Keep Your Car in Tip-Top Shape
Getting a flat tire on your way to Starbucks with your pup for a latte and “puppaccino” is stressful enough; having car trouble in the middle of nowhere is even worse. To prevent this from happening, follow your car’s regular maintenance schedule by getting regular oil changes and tune-ups. Also, keep a close eye on your tires to ensure they’re in good, working condition.
To evaluate your tires for baldness, use a penny or a quarter to determine each tire’s remaining tread depth. Simply insert a penny into the tire treads on all four tires, with Honest Abe’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires are at 2/32nds of an inch or less of tread and should be replaced immediately.
3. Don’t Let Fido Stick His Head Out the Window
We’ve all seen it: Carefree, happy-looking dogs sticking their heads out of the car window. Despite the joys it may bring Fido, it’s definitely not a safe activity. Of course, road debris and any number of other things can fly up and hit your dog in the face, and if they spot a small animal (squirrel!), they may very well try to jump out, leading to serious injuries or death.
Have Fun, and be Sure to Send a Postcard
Despite these and other safety warnings, it’s definitely fine to bring your pooch with you on driving trips. But by incorporating these tips into your routine, your time together running errands and going on vacation will not only be fun, but it will also be safe for your beautiful dog.
June 25, 2018 | DogGeek