black dog in a field at Hunter's Lodge

Our Top Tips to Travelling with your Dog

For many dog owners, the prospect of travelling with their dogs can be both exciting and daunting. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended holiday, ensuring a smooth journey for both you and your four-legged friend is paramount. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps to make your travels as stress-free and enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.

Setting the Stage for a Pawsitive Journey

When it comes to travelling with dogs, the old adage “it’s about the journey, not just the destination” couldn’t be more apt. Making the journey as easy and stress-free as possible is key to ensuring a steady and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend. No one enjoys a bumpy road trip, least of all our canine companions who may not understand why they’re suddenly in a moving vehicle for hours on end.

It’s crucial to remember that each dog is unique, with their own personality, quirks, and needs. This individuality can make the process of planning and executing a journey seem overwhelming at first. Some dogs may be natural travellers, eagerly hopping into the car at the mere jingle of keys, while others might view any trip as a cause for anxiety. Recognising and catering to your dog’s specific needs is the first step in ensuring a smooth travel experience.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with a wealth of tips and insights to help you navigate the complexities of travelling with your dog. So, let’s embark on this adventure together and make your next trip with your furry friend a tail-wagging success!

What to Pack for the Journey?

Dog on a trolly

One of the most effective ways to ensure you don’t forget anything crucial is to create a comprehensive checklist the night before your departure. This simple step can save you a world of stress and prevent those dreaded “Oh no, we forgot the…” moments when you’re already miles down the road.

Here’s a rundown of the key items you should consider packing for your canine companion

1. Toys

dog playing with a toy

Just like humans, dogs can get bored on long journeys. Packing their favourite toys can provide comfort and entertainment. Consider including:

  • A beloved stuffed animal for snuggling
  • A durable chew toy to keep them occupied
  • A tennis ball or frisbee for play breaks during stops

Remember, these toys aren’t just for in-car entertainment. They’ll come in handy during rest stops, allowing your dog to burn off some energy and enjoy a bit of playtime.

2. Water Dish and Bottle

Dogs drinking water

Keeping your dog hydrated is crucial, especially on longer journeys. Pack a portable water system consisting of a collapsible water bowl for easy storage and a large water bottle dedicated to your dog’s needs

Even on shorter trips, having water readily available can make a world of difference to your dog’s comfort and well-being.

3. Treats and Food

Dog food

Giving your dogs something to munch on is a wonderful and easy way to keep them occupied, just like children dogs can become grumpy and noisy when they’re hungry. A chew treat is probably the best option as they tend to last longer than others, so you can ease and enjoy your travels.

Food may seem like an obvious item to remember but imagine forgetting your furry friend’s favourite dish. Dividing the food up into portions beforehand is a great idea, this will save some time and hassle in the future. 

Placing the meals in the ziplock bags will keep the food fresh and ready for whenever it may be needed. We would also suggest taking a few extra bags, just in case of emergencies.

4. Outdoor Essentials

Dog with collar tags

Whether you’re making a quick pit stop or arriving at your destination, it’s important to have all the necessary walking gear for both you and your dog. Make sure to pack:

For Your Dog:

  • Collar with ID tags
  • Lead
  • Harness (if your dog uses one)
  • Weather-appropriate gear, such as a coat for colder climates or a cooling jacket/mat for warmer weather

Make sure you’re well-prepared for any walking conditions by packing good walking boots for muddy places, wellies, and spare clean clothes to accommodate the UK’s famously changeable weather.

To keep your dog comfortable, consider bringing a cooling jacket or mat if it’s going to be warm, or a suitable fleece/dog coat if it’s expected to be wet and cold.

Tip: Keep a bottle of water handy for rinsing off sand if you’re heading to one of the UK’s dog-friendly beaches.

5. Bedding and Crate

Dog with bedding

Making your dog feel at home wherever you go can significantly reduce travel stress. It’s also important to ensure your dog’s safety while travelling in the car. So consider packing:

  • Your dog’s bed or a familiar blanket
  • A travel crate, if your dog is crate-trained
  • A secure lead or a seat belt lock
  • A partition for the boot of the car to anchor their bed

These items carry the scents of home, which can be incredibly comforting to your dog in unfamiliar environments, while also ensuring everyone stays safe on the road.

6. Medication

Dog medication

If your dog is on any medication or supplements, these should be at the top of your packing list. Make sure to include any prescribed medications, clearly labelled with the dosage instructions, as well as a syringe or any favourite treats to help administer the medication.

Additionally, consider creating a small canine first aid kit that includes:

  • Flea and tick prevention.
  • Basic first aid supplies (consult with your vet for recommendations).
  • Pet-friendly suncream, especially for lighter-coloured dogs like those with white fur, as they can get sunburned on their ear tips and noses.

Remember, it’s always better to be over-prepared when it comes to your dog’s health and safety.

Preparing Your Dog for the Journey

Preparation for your journey doesn’t just involve packing the right items; it also means preparing your dog mentally and physically for the trip ahead. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your dog is ready for the adventure:

Acclimatising to Car Rides

If your dog isn’t used to car travel, it’s crucial to acclimatising them gradually. Start with short trips around the block, gradually increasing the duration. Make these experiences positive by offering treats and praise, playing their favourite music, and stopping at fun destinations like a park or a pet-friendly café.

Addressing Motion Sickness

Some dogs, like humans, can experience motion sickness. If you notice signs such as excessive drooling, vomiting, or restlessness during car rides, consult your veterinarian. They may recommend:

  • Over-the-counter remedies
  • Prescription medications
  • Natural solutions like ginger supplements

During the Journey: Keeping Tails Wagging

Once you’re on the road, there are several strategies you can employ to keep your dog comfortable and content:

Regular Stops: Stretch Those Paws

Plan to stop every two to three hours on longer journeys. These breaks allow your dog to relieve themselves, stretch their legs, burn off some energy, and rehydrate.

When choosing rest stops, opt for dog-friendly areas with some greenery rather than just motorway service stations. This gives your dog a more enjoyable and natural environment to explore.

Settling in at the Destination

Arriving at your destination doesn’t mean the end of your responsibilities. Here’s how to help your dog adjust to the new environment:

Set up a space for your dog with their bed, toys, and water bowl. These familiar items will help them feel more at home in the new surroundings. 

Allow your dog to explore the new environment under supervision. Research dog-friendly resources in the area, such as:

  • Beaches where dogs are allowed
  • Local walking routes
  • Dog-friendly pubs or cafes

When You Can’t Take Your Furry Friend Along Hunter’s Lodge Will Come To The Rescue

While we always encourage including your dog in your travel plans when possible, we understand that sometimes it’s just not feasible. Whether it’s a work trip, a holiday to a location that isn’t pet-friendly, or any other reason, there are times when you need a reliable and loving place for your dog to stay.

That’s where we at Hunter’s Lodge come in. We offer a range of services designed to keep your dog happy, healthy, and well-cared by our professionals for while you’re away:

  • Dog Kennels – Our comfortable and secure dog kennels provide a safe haven for your furry friend. Each kennel is spacious, clean, and equipped with everything your dog needs for a comfortable stay.
  • Dog Daycare – If you’re just away for the day, our dog daycare service offers a fun and stimulating environment for your dog to socialise, play, and burn off energy under expert supervision.
  • VIP Dog Rooms – In addition, our brand-new VIP dog rooms offer an extra level of comfort and luxury. These spacious suites come with added amenities to make your dog’s stay extra special.

At Hunter’s Lodge, we understand that leaving your dog behind can be stressful. That’s why we strive to create an environment that’s as close to home as possible, ensuring your dog is happy, safe, and well-cared for until you return.

Happy Travels for All

Travelling with your dog can be a rewarding experience that strengthens your bond and creates lasting memories. By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to handle the challenges and joys of journeying with your pooch.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Be patient, stay flexible, and always prioritise your dog’s comfort and safety. With the right preparation and mindset, you and your dog can look forward to many happy adventures together.

And for those times when you can’t bring your dog along, remember that Hunter’s Lodge is here to provide top-notch care. Whether you need dog kennels, daycare, grooming, or our luxurious VIP rooms, we’re dedicated to giving your dog the best possible experience while you’re away.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions about our services or need advice on caring for your dog while travelling. At Hunter’s Lodge, your dog’s happiness is our top priority, whether they’re embarking on an adventure with you or staying with us.

Happy travels to you and your furry friend!