I am the mom of a 12-pound Chihuahua named Bob. He’s more of a napper than a yapper, and he’s been a road trip dog since he joined our family. Traveling with kids has it’s challenges and traveling with dogs can be equally as challenging. Sure, there are no “are we there yet?” conversations, but if you travel with Bob The Dog, you quickly learn that there are whines and a few bumps in the road. The whines and howling stop right after he realizes we’re not headed to the vet or the groomer. Unfortunately, that takes about 20 minutes.
So how do you road trip with a temperamental Chihuahua?
You turn up the Adele CD and push on. Meanwhile, here are 5 sanity savers, that will keep you and your pooch happy in the canine car.
5 Tips for Traveling with a Dog
1. Use a harness that will secure your pet and keep him and you safe during the drive. A dog in your lap is cute, but it’s dangerous and can be deadly when you’re trying to steer a vehicle.
2. Bring a spare leash. The last thing you need is to be on the road without a leash or with a broken one. I also prefer a non-extendable one for rest areas, to insure the pet stays close to you and doesn’t run into a traffic area.
3. Play tag team. If there’s more than one adult on the journey, consider switching off with the pup during rest stops. Bob The Dog is a little high strung and panics when the rest of us disappear from the car. We take turns and give him a longer walk in the process.
4. Bring plenty of bottled water on the journey. You’ll throw half of it away because your pet never wants to drink or eat when you think he should.
5. Invest in a pet play pen. This wire fold-down fence, was the best investment of our puppy parenting. When Bob The Dog’s on a road trip, we never leave home without it. It folds into any configuration and is a real life saver if you need to restrict your pet from certain areas, but give him room to roam. Note: It will rattle like crazy on the drive unless you secure it in your trunk by wrapping it in a blanket or placing luggage on top of it.
Nancy Berk, Ph.D. has been described as "Dr. Phil meets Tina Fey." Dr. Berk is an accomplished psychologist, speaker, and award-winning lifestyle humorist. She is a stand-up comic armed with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University and the skills of a therapist, professor, and researcher. A columnist, podcaster, and blogger on lifestyle, parenting, and women’s milestones, Nancy writes a weekly blog for MORE Magazine’s MORE.com and co-hosts the iTunes humor podcast Whine At 9. She’s a columnist for SHADY AVE Magazine and MitzvahMarket.com, a three time contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and author of Secrets of a Bar Mitzvah Mom (2005). She's been spotlighted in the New York Times about over the top bar mitzvahs, interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on how to navigate nightmare double dates, and explained the nuances of smart phone addiction to AARP. Her stand-up comedy has landed her on the stages of TEDx and 30 Rock. She’s just finished her second book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get Into A Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Relationship, And Mind, and now faces an empty nest with an extra guest room. Empty Nest Travel Mom looks forward to providing great tips, humor, and inspiration for travel without kids and with them, because lots of grown children enjoy a freebie family vacation.