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Holistic Guide to Stress-Free Holiday Travel by Car with Dog

The holiday season is just around the corner, and for many pet owners, that means hitting the road with their furry friends in tow. Whether you're off to visit family or exploring new destinations, traveling with your dog can be a joyous experience with the right preparations. In this guide, we'll walk you through twelve essential tips for a smooth and enjoyable journey by car with your dog, ensuring they stay happy, healthy, and nourished even while on the go.

A dog and man get into a van on a road trip with Nature's Diet® Simply Raw® freeze-dried dog food

1. Pre-Trip Health Check:

Before hitting the road, prioritize your pup's health. Schedule a vet visit to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date and that your four-legged friend is in optimal health for the adventure ahead. This ensures your dog is physically prepared for social interactions and minimizes the risk of infectious diseases. Whether exploring dog-friendly parks or engaging in playdates with new pals, a clean bill of health not only sets the foundation for a safe journey on the road but also guarantees your canine companion is ready for the exciting adventures that await at your destination.

2. ID Tags and Microchipping:

Safety comes first. Confirm that your dog's collar has updated ID tags, and for an extra layer of security, consider microchipping to reunite you and your pet in case of an unexpected separation on the road or away from home.

A small white dog waits patiently in the car wearing a harness

3. Gearing Up for in the Car:

Creating a secure and cozy space for your dog during the car ride is essential for a stress-free journey. The right restraint varies based on your dog's size and temperament, so consider these options:

  • Well-Ventilated Crate: For smaller breeds or dogs that find comfort in enclosed spaces, a well-ventilated travel crate can be an ideal choice. It provides a snug and secure environment, mimicking the coziness of a den, promoting a sense of safety. Look for crates with proper ventilation and room for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

  • Harness and Seat Belt Combo: Larger dogs may benefit from a harness and seat belt combination. These harnesses attach to your car's seat belt system, offering both restraint and comfort. Ensure the harness fits securely and allows your dog to sit or lie down comfortably without restricting movement. Look for options with padding for extra comfort during long rides.

  • Travel Hammock: If your dog enjoys spreading out and has a calm temperament, a travel hammock that covers the back seat can be a great choice. This option provides a comfortable space for your dog to relax while also protecting your car's interior. Some hammocks include built-in restraints to keep your pup secure.

  • Booster Seat: Smaller dogs or those who like to have a view of the surroundings may appreciate a booster seat. These seats elevate your dog, allowing them to enjoy the scenery while remaining safely secured. Look for booster seats with adjustable straps to accommodate different sizes.

  • Anxiety-Relief Jackets: For dogs prone to anxiety during car rides, consider anxiety-relief jackets that provide a gentle, calming pressure. These jackets, can help soothe nervous travelers, making the journey more enjoyable for both the dog and the owner.

When selecting a restraint, it's crucial to test it out before the trip to ensure your dog is comfortable, safe and secure. Every dog is unique, so finding the right fit for their size and temperament will contribute to a smoother and more enjoyable road trip experience.

A lovely older dog is ready for a road trip with Nature's Diet Simply Raw and her favorite blanket from home

4. Familiar Items from Home:

Transforming your car into a home away from home for your canine companion involves more than just securing them physically—it's about nurturing their emotional well-being too. Pack a bag of your dog's favorites: their cherished toys, a soft blanket, and a small piece of home, perhaps their bed or an item that carries the familiar scent of comfort. These familiar belongings act as emotional anchors, providing a sense of security and familiarity amid the novel sights and sounds of travel. Whether it's the reassuring texture of a beloved blanket or the joyous squeak of a favorite toy, these familiar items serve as a cozy haven, reducing anxiety and ensuring your dog feels right at home even as you journey into new territories. A comfortable and contented pup makes for a much more pleasant road trip for everyone.

Nature's Diet Simply Raw is the safest, easiest, best way to feed a raw diet on a road trip or traveling with dogs

5. Raw Pet Food Travel Kit:

For dogs committed to a natural, holistic, raw diet like SImply Raw®, a well-prepared travel kit is the key to maintaining a nutritional regimen on the road. Specifically tailored for healthy & convenience, our freeze-dried raw Simply Raw® dog food offers a safe, lightweight, and compact solution, eliminating the need for refrigeration on the road. As you assemble your travel kit, consider pre-portioning our dry Simply Raw® meals into travel-friendly containers, such as Tupperware. This streamlines the feeding process at meal time. No cooler or refrigeration necessary! Just add waterto make a nourishing, safe raw meal on the go. Simply Raw® makes the travel experience for dogs eating a raw diet as wholesome and convenient as possible. Don't forget to include some of your dog's favorite treats and any daily supplements in your travel kit to keep their normal feeding regiment on track.

Biologically appropriate Simply Raw freeze-dried food for dogs just add water

6. Regular Breaks for Exercise:

Just as we humans crave a stretch and a breath of fresh air during a long drive, our canine companions require regular breaks to ensure their well-being and comfort on the road. When planning your road trip itinerary, be sure to incorporate designated stops for your dog's leg-stretching adventures. These breaks are not just about bathroom necessities; they're an opportunity for short walks, playtime, and a chance to soak in the surroundings. These moments of activity not only help your dog release pent-up energy but also contribute to their mental stimulation, keeping them relaxed and content throughout the journey. Making sure your dog has regular exercise actively enhances your dog's overall well-being and reducing any restlessness that may arise during extended periods in the car.

a man and his dog take a break during a road trip

7. Hydration is Key:

In the midst of the excitement of a holiday road trip, it's easy to overlook a fundamental aspect of your dog's well-being—hydration. Just like us, dogs need a consistent supply of fresh water to stay healthy and happy, and this is particularly crucial when on the move. Traveling, with its unfamiliar surroundings and potential stressors, can be dehydrating for your furry friend. To counteract this, make it a priority to always have a readily accessible source of water during your journey. Whether using a spill-proof travel bowl or a specially designed water dispenser for pets, ensuring your dog stays hydrated is a simple yet vital step in maintaining their overall health. By keeping this canine hydration station well-stocked, you're not just quenching their thirst; you're safeguarding their well-being and contributing to a more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience.

A dog takes a drink on a road trip in the grass

8. Plan Pet-Friendly Accommodations:

For overnight stops, securing pet-friendly accommodations in advance is a game-changer for a seamless travel experience. Before hitting the road, invest time in researching and booking lodgings that warmly welcome your furry companion. Many establishments now cater to pet-loving travelers, offering amenities and services to make your stay as comfortable as possible for both you and your dog. When making reservations, it's essential to inform the accommodation about your dog's size and breed. This ensures that they can provide the most suitable and welcoming environment, from cozy rooms to designated pet areas. By planning these pet-friendly pit stops ahead of time, you not only eliminate last-minute stress but also guarantee a relaxing overnight experience for you and your four-legged friend.

A woman hugs her dog by her camper van traveling with a dog and Simply Raw dog food

10. Familiarize Your Dog with the Car:

For dogs unaccustomed to the rhythmic hum of the open road, introducing them to the concept of car rides gradually can make a significant difference in their comfort and confidence. Before embarking on your road trip, consider taking a series of short trips as a prelude. These excursions serve as a gentle introduction to the car environment, allowing your canine companion to acclimate to the motion, sounds, and scents associated with travel. The aim is to transform the car from an unfamiliar and potentially anxiety-inducing space into a familiar and secure haven. Gradually extending the duration of these rides provides your dog with the opportunity to build positive associations with the car, reducing anxiety and ensuring that when the big journey arrives, they'll step into the vehicle with confidence and a wagging tail, ready for the adventure ahead.

Nature's Diet digestive carrots prevent diarrhea

11. Emergency Kit:

Prepare a dog-specific first aid kit with any necessary medications, bandages, and contact information for local veterinarians along your route. Being prepared for unforeseen circumstances adds an extra layer of security. Bandages, antiseptic wipes, and tweezers are valuable additions for addressing minor injuries or irritations. Additionally, consider including items such as Nature's Diet® Digestive Carrots to treat diarrhea if it comes up on the road. Just like people, some dogs can experience gastrointestinal upset with changes in their routine like travel. These carrots can be a handy natural remedy in case travel-induced stress upsets your dog's stomach. Equally important is having the contact information for local veterinarians along your route readily available. By packing this comprehensive first aid kit, you're not just prepared for the unexpected – you're demonstrating a commitment to your pet's health and safety, making the journey a safer and more secure experience for your four-legged friend.

Nature's Diet diarrhea carrots are a natural and holistic solution for dogs

12. Be Mindful of Temperature:

As you hit the road for your holiday adventure, it's crucial to keep a watchful eye on the temperature fluctuations that accompany the changing landscapes. Whether it's the warmth of a sun-soaked afternoon or the chill of a crisp winter day, never leave your dog unattended in a hot or cold car. Vehicles can quickly become inhospitable environments, posing serious risks to your furry companion's well-being. Be mindful of the climate inside the car—ensure it's comfortable and safe for your dog, adjusting ventilation and temperature controls as needed. In warmer weather, consider using sunshades and parking in shaded areas to shield your pet from excessive heat. In colder temperatures, provide cozy blankets or a warm doggy sweater to keep them snug. By staying attuned to the weather conditions and prioritizing your dog's comfort, you not only enhance their travel experience but also reinforce your role as a dedicated and responsible pet parent on this holiday journey.

A white dog jumps into a car for an adventure

As advocates for a natural, holistic, and raw pet food lifestyle, we understand the unique bond between pet owners and their dogs, especially during the holiday season. At Nature's Diet®, we believe road trips are an opportunity to connect and make memories with our dogs. By keeping these twelve tips in mind, you're well on your way to creating memorable and worry-free travels with your dog. With freeze-dried Simply Raw®, traveling while feeding a raw diet is easy and mess free. Our lightweight, compact, safe raw food requires no refrigeration for convenience without compromising nutrition. If you travel with your dog this holiday season, send us a photo! We would love to see. Safe travels, and may your journey be filled with tail-wagging moments and the shared warmth of the holiday season. We hope you enjoyed this guide to stress-free holiday travel by car with your dog. Happy trails!

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