By Hannah O'Connell
My partner and I recently went on a road trip up our beautiful country and decided the only thing that could make our trip more awesome was bringing our dog (Oakey) with us. Oakey reckoned she had to juggle a few stick chasing and lake swimming appointments with her four legged fur friends, but she reckoned she could make it work!
So off we went!
Oakey and I thought it would be great to share some of the things we found helpful (and maybe not so helpful), just in case any of Oakey's buddies were planning on joining their humans on their own road trip.
Before you leave
Is it worth it!? Before you leave, you need to think about whether accompanying you on your
journey is the best thing for your dog? Are they happy traveling in the car? Do they get stressed out by new people or places? Do they have a tendency to run off, or escape their confinements?
It’s a hard decision to make, but some dogs may be better off having other arrangements made for them while you are away. Thankfully, there are some awesome options available if your dog can not join you on your journey. Having a reputable pet care provider come and hang out with your fur buddies while you are away is definitely one of those awesome options.
What to bring
If you and your fur buddy have decided he/she is accompanying you on your journey, you will need to help them pack. Their suitcase might not be full of spare undies or toiletries, but we found Oakey still had a number of important items that we couldn't leave without. I have listed some of those items below:
X2 Leads. I think 2 leads is important! It's handy if you lose one, or your dog needs to be tied up for a duration and you can join the two leads together to make one longer one.
Plenty of Food, especially if you will not be able to restock along the way.
X2 bowls (is best), one for food and one for water.
Plenty of water. We are pretty lucky in Otago. There is plenty of clean, fresh rivers and lakes for drink breaks. But if you are in an area you are not familiar with, or driving along the coast where the water is salty, plenty of fresh drinking water is a must.
A bed or blanket, something comfortable for your dog to sleep on.
A 'dog' towel, in case your dog gets wet, cold, or dirty.
Your dog’s Vet Book, in case your dog spends some time in a doggy day care or kennels. The Vet Book is also important if your dog needs emergency medical treatment.
A favorite toy, this could be a soft toy or a Kong? Something that can entertain them, and help them blow off some steam along the journey.
Flea and worm treatment. You won't bring this with you, but make sure your dog is up to date with both before you leave.
On your journey
You’re finally on your way! The most important thing now is to have fun! I found the easiest way to enjoy your trip is to 'take a leaf out of your dog’s book'. Stop and explore, treat every outing like an adventure, and interact with new people along your journey.....just maybe don't greet them by sniffing their butts!
Also make sure you plan plenty of stops along the way. Some stops may just be to let your dog out for a toilet and drink break. Other stops may be to take your dog for a walk, or to throw a ball and let him blow off some steam. I found it helpful to google 'Dog Parks' prior to arriving in a town or city. We stopped at a few dog parks along the way. Some of them were amazing, and some were more basic. But they are all generally, a safe place you can let your dog run around off lead.
I found out along our journey that there are quite a few areas dogs are prohibited from.
Understandably, many native bush areas prohibit dogs. But to my surprise, a number of main
town and city areas, and a number of beaches along the coast also prohibit dogs. We are pretty lucky in the Otago area in regards to where we can take our dogs. There are plenty of awesome walks, parks, rivers, and lakes out dogs can accompany us to, but this is not always the case everywhere. So make sure you do your research on any place you are heading to, and find out where you can and can't take your fur friend.
I feel very lucky that I was able to bring my fur buddy with me on my adventure, and I would
highly recommend it to anyone who is able, and considering whether to bring their own pet with them on their journeys.