Summer Road Trips – they`re good for the Soul!

dog in car

Many of us have great childhood memories of family road trips, don’t we?  Fast forward to 2014. Smartphones and our hectic schedules often make it difficult for us to “unplug”, jump in the car and set out on a road trip.  But summer is a great time to do this and it`s a wonderful way to create some new memories for everyone involved.  

Whether you have kids and pets, or just pets (aka furkids!), there are many great places across Canada that are just waiting for you to explore.  Day trips or venturing out with the family on a 1 or 2 week vacation, no matter which city or province you live in, finding some great camping sites, a beautiful lake, a nice beach, scenic walking trails or a fun park is easy to do!  Use the internet to find some pet-friendly places and get ready to hit the road.

Before you go, there’s some pre-planning required when you’re including the pets in your travel plans, whether it’s a day or cross-country trip.  Here’s a checklist of some items to pack so that your pets will have a great time too!

Buckle up!:  We cringe when we see dogs running loose in the car and even worse, sitting on the driver`s lap!  An unrestrained dog can, at any moment, distract you, interfere with driving, and cause an accident.  Global Pet Foods carries many pet restraining equipment, including harnesses, seat belts, backseat barriers, and pet carriers. 

If you plan on using a kennel or crate, ensure that it is secured to the floor in the vehicle and that it`s large enough for your dog to comfortably sit and lie down in. Not only is this a safe method of transport, but with your pet contained, it will be much easier to keep the vehicle clean. Please visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store well in advance of your travel, so that you select the right product, learn how to install and use them, and familiarize your pets with it before hitting the road.

Pet ID tags: Don`t have identification tags for your pets?  Visit Global Pet Foods to pick them up and attach them to your pet’s collar in advance of your travel just in case you and your pet become separated at any point during your excursion. 

Travel supplies and accessories: You’ll want to make sure that your pets have the comforts of home, and that you have the items you need if you go exploring once you reach your destination.  A comfy bed, interactive toys, collar and leash, portable and collapsible food and water containers, extra towels and pet wipes are some of the key items that you need to pack for the trip.  Remember to pack their pet medications (if needed) and a First Aid Kit for Pets.  You may need this if you`re camping or heading to the cottage, where the terrain is more rugged and there`s a risk that your pet could sustain bug bites or other injuries.

Pack their food:  We recommend that you bring your pet`s food with you, enough to last for the duration of the trip.  You may not find the brand that you`re looking for in other pet stores and having to switch foods during travel will most likely result in upset stomachs which can be stressful and difficult for you and your pet.  Make sure you visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods stores before you hit the road and stock up your pet’s food and favourite treats.

Frequent Stops:  If you are heading out on an extended road trip, ensure that your dogs have 30 minutes of exercise before putting them into your vehicle.  This will tire them out and keep them relaxed while travelling.  If your pets are usually quite active, we recommend that you stop every few hours to let everyone stretch their legs and use the facilities.  Pets, especially dogs that aren’t used to travelling, may need to stop for a quick “tree break” and a quick walk or run before getting back in the car.

TIP: Most places you’ll visit will require your dog to be leashed at all times, even when nature calls. Teach your dog how to relieve himself on command.  If your dog isn`t used to eliminating while on a leash, you will need to teach this skill well in advance of your travel.  Begin in your backyard.  Use a verbal cue like `go potty` to let him know that it`s time to perform.  Once your dog does it, praise him and continue to practice until he masters it.

Travel Anxiety: If your pet is normally anxious, travel may only exacerbate the situation.  Pack your dog’s favourite blanket or stuffed animal, toy, or any other any item that`s familiar to your dog that can provide some comfort and relax him.  We also recommend that you rub some lavender oil between your hands to provide some aromatherapy and give massage him gently before you both get in the car.

Some pets do suffer from travel (motion) sickness or extreme anxiety. Test whether this is the case with your pet by taking them for a car ride for an hour or two well in advance of your planned travel.  If your pet appears to be anxious or gets sick, take them on a few car rides (no more than an hour or so at a time) to help your dog become accustomed to travel motion.  In extreme cases, you may need to give them a natural supplement or use a ThunderShirt to help relax them, which can be found at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada. 

Water Safety: If you’re planning on heading to the cottage or the lake dog swimming in life jacketwhere you will be spending a lot of time in the water or on a boat, a properly fitted lifejacket is a ‘must-have’ for your pet.  We recommend that you visit your neighbourhood Global Pet foods store before your departure to have them properly fitted and get your pet used to wearing it.

Travelling as family can be a great way to bond and create a lifetime of memories. You can include your pets as long as you plan in advance.  Enjoy your road trip!

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