It's that time of the year again where we make the arduous trek back to our hometown to visit our families. We only get to see our siblings, parents and other loving family members every half year or so because travelling is so expensive. While I am looking forward to visiting everyone, I am absolutely dreading the trip itself. We are bringing Bella along with us because we are planning on staying nearly two weeks at my in-laws (pray that I make it). Placing her in a kennel would be traumatising for Bella since she has severe separation anxiety and we do not want to trouble mates for such an extended amount of time. This means that we have to pack our car with our luggage and dog and drive the entire twenty hours back home. Our trusty vehicle has been used and abused over the years.
We've made this trip several times now and know exactly how to make it through smoothly.
Numerous audiobooks on the iPod sedate the humans during the trip while rawhides and water breaks are enough for Bella. Although Bella has countless bad traits, we are extremely grateful that she is such a good sport in the car. She never whines in the car and is perfectly content sleeping through the entire trip. I was really nervous about our first extended car ride with her because she refused to have a wee at any rest stops and I feared that she would go in the backseat. Eventually, we realised that her anxiousness at a new place prevented her from even thinking about using the loo so we gave up on trying to take her out the next few trips. The humans needed to stop more often than the dog. Lucky us!
If you are planning on travelling with your pooch this summer, here are some tips that have helped us in the past:
Have a separate resealable container holding enough food for your pet just for the trip. This way, you will not need to fumble around with any heavy bags and risk spilling kibble everywhere. Don't forget to pack their bowls! I adore collapsable bowls to save room.
Keep your dog or kitty hydrated with their own water jug. Although I know Bella is thirsty, she often is too distracted to drink what we put in front of her. We've dumped out a lot of water because of this so only provide a little bit of water at a time in her bowl. If she looks like she is still thirsty, pour a little more.
There's no need to leash your dog while she sits quietly in the car. However, always clip on the leash before you open the door and make sure you have a good grip on it. The last thing you need is for her to run loose in a car park or a busy road.
Protect your car seats with some sort of cover to shield them from scratches, mud or fur. You can buy one
or quickly make one using a fitted sheet. The elastic bands can be used to slip around the headrests.
Save yourself from massive headaches by choosing quiet toys for your dog to entertain herself with, such as treat filled toys. Squeaking toys in a small space for twenty hours? Are you nuts?
Try not to leave your dog in the car by herself, even if you pop open a window. Take turns going to the restroom or into a store. Restaurants are probably out of the question with a pup in tow so pack plenty of snacks and sandwiches for the trip.
Bella is fairly relaxed in a car but I know other dogs who like to pant and whine in your ear the entire ride. If this is your dog, ask your vet for anti-anxiety medication.
I know that Bella won't mind being in the car for such a long period of time. In fact, I think she actually loves it. I can't say that I will be okay sitting for hours on end. Are there any books I should catch up on during our car ride? Do you have any road trip games for us to play?