It might be a little harder to travel with a larger dog, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Whether you’re staying in your state or pursuing a cross-country adventure, proper preparation makes it easy to travel with your big pup. Sure, there’s a lot to consider, but it’s well worth the extra effort, time, and preparation.
Managing the Routine
Dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds depend on their daily routine. Meal times and bathroom breaks at scheduled intervals are essential to a calm, relaxed state of being. In fact, stress, fear, worry, and anxiety can quickly stem from even slight disruptions to anticipated and interrupted events. Likewise, foregoing their daily exercise opportunities can be upsetting and can cause them to behave in unpredictable ways.
When you travel with a large dog, you need extra steps to keep them safe and comfortable. This means investing in a good ramp to help them in and out of the car. You also need a harness that tethers to the seatbelt ring to keep them secure inside the moving vehicle. Without a harness or other safety belt system, a large dog may be at risk of severe injury if there’s a collision.
A backseat barrier can go a long way toward keeping your big dog where they belong. You can still see and hear them, but the barrier decreases distractions while driving, and, like the harness, keeps them in the backseat.
Some owners find success at crating their large dog inside the vehicle’s cabin. If your dog can stand and easily turn around inside the crate, this might be an ideal solution for your travels. The crate must be secured to the vehicle’s seat belt tether.
Stop and Go
Travel with a large dog typically involves frequent bathroom breaks and opportunities to stretch the legs. It depends on your dog’s capabilities and comfort level, but every two hours is a decent goal to work towards.
Be sure that when your dog is on their seat or inside the crate they receive excellent cross-ventilation of fresh air.
The list of what your dog might need while away from home can be an extensive one, but it depends on where you’re going. Generally, the following items should complete your large dog’s travel kit:
- First-aid kit
- Food and water
- Travel bowls
- Back up collar and ID tags
- Extra leash and harness
- Toys and treats
- Waste bags
- Medical records (including their vaccinations, parasite prevention, and microchip info)
- Recent photo of them
- Numbers of veterinary hospitals and specialist near your destination
Travel With a Big Dog
We’re pretty sure that your big dog will make your adventure even more fun.
If you ever have doubts about travel with a large dog, give us a call at (951) 461-4100. We can check them out to ensure they’re up to the demands of travel, and give you some customized pointers designed to benefit your unique pup. Our staff at Sky Canyon Animal Hospital is happy to help!