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Hi everyone,
In July Grissom and I are going on our first road trip. The two of us will be driving to Florida to see my family. We are on no time schedule (I'm off for the summer!!) so we are going to take our time. I was just wondering if anyone had any advice on traveling with a dog since this will be the first time I've ever travelled with a dog, let alone by myself! It's going to be a fun adventure....I hope!! LOL
 

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i think they are pretty easy unless the chance arives that they need to poty or bark at nothing in your ear! haha you should run her/him out first so he/she isnt so hyper :) bring some bones just in case he/she gets bored :) good luck! i hope you have fun!!
 

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I have several suggestions.

1. Get some national hotel books and maybe AAA books for the states you'll be driving thru so you can easily find pet friendly lodging. I've learned that all language is not the same. For instance, "small dogs only" ... I have found motels that take GSDs in spite of this description ... so call to see what they consider small.

2. Make sure you take enough food for the trip. I ran out on a trip to CA, couldn't find my brand and ended up having to buy something I wasn't sure Mac and Slider could eat or not.

3. Make a check list of things you'll need for your vacation with your pooch. In addition to food, bottled water, treats, medications, bowls, extra lead, extra collar, ID, toys, poop bags, crate/s, bedding, sheets if they get on furniture, etc., I also like to take a clean-up kit just in case there's an accident in the room - scrub brush, paper towels, rug shampoo, Odo-Ban, trash bags, cheap towels.

4. Enjoy your trip, make stops every couple hours for you and your pup to stretch your legs.

5. Since you'll be traveling in the hot summer months, always keep in mind it's extremely important not to leave the dogs in a car for very long ... make sure you park in a shady spot, hopefully with the a/c on and windows cracked (always take two sets of keys ... one to be with you at all times). Try to dash in and out as fast as you can!!! IMHO while you're on the road, plan to eat at fast food/drive thru restaurants so you don't have to leave them in the car.

6. When I stop for the night, the first thing I do is look thru the phone book for emergency vet numbers ... if I can't find any, I call the desk clerk for help.
 

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I'd get a battery operated fan/crate fan for the hotel rooms and possibly the vehicle. Use only purified water, no local sources, just in case.
If he isn't already microchipped, do that and make sure the contact info has your cell number, breeder info and home info updated.
Have a blast!!!
 

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Just completed a two week trip with two of mine. Take enough food and have a gallon jug of fresh water at all times. Take a bowl for him to feed and drink out of. Plan on stopping every 3-4 hours for a potty break at rest stops and that's also a good time for a small drink for him.

I only had one hotel say no to dogs but they recommended a place a couple of blocks away that did acccept dogs. Best Western and Days Inns accept dogs or at least I've never had one say no. I've also had success at LaQuinta accepting dogs. I try to find those with doors opening to the outside to expedite geting dogs in and out for potty breaks, etc.

Motels and hotels have a place for dogs to relieve themselves so don't be afraid to ask where and be sure to pick up afterwards. I took bags to pick up with.
 

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Red roof inn is also really good about accepting dogs, in my experience.

The biggie I try to make sure is that the dog is comfortable. Obviously an adequate sized crate for safety and comfort is ideal, but if you don't have room for that, lay your seat down if possible so they have some room to actually lay down comfortably.

Take cleanup gear (plastic bags, poop bags, regular towels, paper towels, etc). Even a good traveler may get a little car sick or have an "oops." Better to be prepared that be caught off guard in the one place on the interstate where exits don't seem to exist for miles and miles on end!

Always have plently of water and food. Pack more than you need. It's worth it to make room in the car, especially since it's just you and him. Take some of his favorite toys, and a jar of peanut butter for stuffing a kong if he's bored or stressed and needs some relaxing time.

Try to find hotels and stopping places that have a good bit of grass and an area to walk around, rather than just a hotel or mcdonalds in a parking lot.

Think about what you will do when you need a potty break. He can't go with you of course. NEVER leave the windows all the way down, no matter how reliable you think he is. You'll either have to find somewhere shady at your exit or try another one (sometimes easier said than done in the heat of the summer). Otherwise consider leaving the car running with AC, and have an extra key to get back in. Do NOT leave a door unlocked, if he gets stressed when you leave the car he may accidently hit the lock button. Or of course your car may get stolen, yes, even with a german shepherd inside it.

Most of all, have a good time. If you see a nice little park on the way since you aren't in a hurry, stop and get him out to relax for a bit, maybe eat your lunch.

Make sure he has a secure collar that is on at all times, no exceptions, with an updated ID tag with current info (including your CELL number with area code since you will be traveling), and I'd personally ensure he's microchipped as well if he's not already.
 

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Make sure you take all of your important vet records (including shot records) with you, and clearly lable the folder as to what they are.

Ask your vet for a couple of motion sickness tablets for your dog, just in case. It's a long hot trip, and you want to make sure everyone is happy! Bring a couple of extra towels in case there are any (drooley) accidents.

VERY IMPORTANT that you don't wait till you absolutely have to go before you stop to potty. Your pup will need to go first, nothing funnier then being the dancing person on one end of the leash waiting for pup to potty. It's a new place and he'll take his time. When I travel to Kentucky (from Texas) I go to the large state rest areas so I can take Hondo in with me. It's a tight squeeze but I'd rather have him with me then waiting in the truck alone. And they have large grassy areas for him (and you) to streach his legs.

As stated above, plenty of food and water. I always bring way too much water because I worry about being stranded in the heat.

Make sure you have a crate with you...just in case.

Safety tip: Always stop (to fuel) in will lighted areas with plenty of people. I try to stop at the big truck stops because they are well traveled and always have lots of people moving around. You can pay at the pump and not have to leave your dog unattended. Never let your car get below 1/4 of a tank.

Bring plenty of good snacks for you as well. I hate to stop to eat on the road (gotta get there...gotta get there) and it isn't good to travel on a full stomach. You could get sleepy. Good snacks are the best to keep 'em rolling.

I love road trips! Have a great time!
 

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Wow!! Great advise!! Thank you so much!! Okay, I've made a check list with each and everything everyone recommended. So many things I hadn't considered! I am bringing his crate, but do you think it's okay for him to be in the backseat of my Ford Escape with a dog hammock? He normally travels with me on errands around town and is quite content to be in the seat behind me. I actually got an app for my phone called pawtrotter which uses your location to tell you where pet friendly hotels are, dog parks etc. Thank you for the advice of calling in advance to clarify "size." I'm guessing Grissom will be around 50 pounds when we travel next month.

Again, I'd like to thank EVERYONE for all your experiences and advice. That's why I love this board. I knew I could count on your support. I am so looking forward to this trip with Grissom, and I want to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible.
 

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Traveling suggestions with your dog:

Since you haven't done a long trip with him before I would suggest treating it just like every day. So if he is used to going outside and using the bathroom every four hours, plan to treat the car the same way. When we drive from Athens to Jacksonville (about six hours) we don't stop once and he's good with that.

I've found that my dog never wants food or water when we're traveling -- until we get to our destination, but that's just my dog.

Make it comfortable for your dog, I found that my dog likes laying across the bucket seats in the back of the van, so I set it up with one of my pillows in the middle and he's very happy with that and he sleeps almost the entire time we're in the car.

And definitely find dog-friendly hotels in advance that allow your dog. I've never stopped at a hotel with my dog before; but thankfully the longest drive we've had to was 15 hours and we didn't need to stop for the night.


Traveling with a dog is great. I love traveling with my dog!!!, it's easy once you've done it a couple times. Mine sleeps everytime we're in the car for two seconds now.
 

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Awesome!! I hope Grissom loves it as much as your dog!! He's always been great in the car with the dog hammock in the back seat, so I'm hopeful he will continue this pattern. It helps to know you guys are only a click away if I need advise or support!!
 

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DogFriendly.com® - Pet Travel Guides and City Guides for Dog/Pet Owners

I would browse on some sites like this and see if you can include one or two good doggie events enroute since you are taking your time... like a dog beach or hiking area. And dog friendly restaurants too.

When I travel for agility I also take a "quiet" game to play in the hotel room at night... like a soft frisby or ball or one of those mental games to play, or chose it as a good time to clicker train a new trick that will amaze the family :)

Not sure what your vehicle is but if I was doing alot of summer driving I would get a fan and one of these things to lock the car open with ventilation...Clean Run: Ventlock Tailgate Locks and get a sun shade to reflect the sun off the car for when you park to run into restaurant, etc ... lots of agility folks who trial out of their car use these. Clean Run: Cool Puppy Shade Cloth Panels

On the side of you can never be TOO prepared... As a just in case and hope you never have to use it... go ahead and make a paper Lost Dog flyer with a recent picture and your cell phone number, your vets number at home, your family's local number, etc and put a couple copies in your glove compartment... that way you are prepared just in case or if you have an accident the police/etc will know about your dog's name, vet, etc (esp if he needs meds or something).

have a great time and take lots of pics!!
 
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