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My doodle and I are making a long road trip this summer, and I was wondering if anyone had any comments/thoughts/suggestions for such a trip. I am probably making a huge mistake by driving (it's a 24 hour drive) with Molly, but I casually commented to my husband that I would rather drive with the dog than the kids, and he told me to go for it.

Unfortunately, Molly is not "tested" in the car. She goes on one or two very short drives a week, but I'm talking about 5-10 minute drives. If she were prone to car sickness, would that have already been evident? She seems to love being in the car, and always stops at the car door on our way through the garage as if to ask if we're getting in. She loves to hang her head out the window, (which I know isn't safe). I'd like to make this as painless a trip as possible but don't know where to start. Forgive my ignorance. Any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
 

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we've taken many roadtrips with kumo, starting with a 10 hour drive the day we picked him up from the breeder, at 10 weeks old! i think if your dog were prone to carsickness, you would probably know by now.

we have a station wagon, and kumo rides in the way back. on long road trips he sleeps most of the time, although we usually leave a kong or some other chew toy back there with him. we try to plan our route so that we can all stop and stretch our legs now and again.

kumo usually doesn't eat much when we're on the road. we bring plenty of water with us, usually 2-3 nalgene bottles, and a bowl for water. and plenty of bags for poop.

gas stations can be dangerous for dogs, since drivers aren't really looking out for things at dog-height, and there can be puddles of nasty chemicals. we tend to fill up and then park off to the side away from all of the activity to let kumo out of the car.

one thing that can be a bit of a pain in the summer is stopping for food, when it is too hot to leave the dog in the car for very long. sometimes it requires driving around for a little while to find someplace with outdoor seating, other times we've just eaten in the car.

oh, and i always keep the following in my car on road trips: garbage bags, paper towels, an old bath towel, and nature's miracle. you never know when your dog is going to produce something nasty you have to clean up. oh, and some people recommend putting together a dog first aid kit and keeping it in the car for long road trips (see http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm ... cleid=2881) i have to admit i've never done this, but it sounds like a good idea!

there are many hotel chains that allow dogs. i've found this website to be helpful: http://www.dogfriendly.com/

we bring kumo's crate with us, so he can be crated at night and when we have to go out without him. i can trust him at home, but i would never forgive myself if he decided to chew or pee on something at someone else's house when i wasn't watching.

finally, if we're going to be away for more than a couple of days i cover kumo's ID tag with masking tape and write local contact information on it. his vet's phone number is also on the tag, in case anyone were to find him and need his medical history.

i love taking road trips with kumo -- it is one of the best parts of having a dog! that's about all i can think of.... man, now i want to go camping!!

-em
 

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Cinnamon and I take road trips all the time with no after effect, except she's really in need of some energy waisting once we stop for the night. We bring along a ball to play with either in a well off the highway spot or in our room. I try to plan a long stop (1/2 hour or so) after lunch to help with my fatigue, and a good walk helps with her, too.
I usually keep her in the back seat even though we have an Outback wagon. She has a seatbelt and a quilt to put over the seat (helps with dirty paws). I like having her close, plus it doesn't make me feel weird talking to her!
When she was a pup, she used to play this game where she would push herself off the back seat and land on the floor, poking her head in between the front seats upside down. The first time she did that, I thought she had wedged herself and I stopped at a rest area to help her out. When I slowed down, she popped right up. Little faker! Now she just lays down and watches the traffic or sleeps.
We bring along a chew toy, but for the most part she ignores it. She doesn't drink a lot of water on trips even though we offer it. She also doesn't go to the bathroom a lot, even though we walk her every time we stop. We also bring her dog bed so she will have that when we stop for the night or get to where we're going. (it's a pillow kind)
I love traveling with a dog, it's mainly companionship but she's also a deterrent to bad people, even though the most she would do is beat them with her tail. They don't know that.

Have a good trip!
 

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The only other thing I can add is to make sure your dog is vaccinated/ pre-treated for anything they might encounter where you are going. We will be taking Dante to Arkansas this summer and although we don't have a flea problem in Colorado they do in Arkansas so we will start a preventative before we leave.

Heather
 

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Great advice here, as always! We are doing a 24h drive, split over 3 days with Hershey this summer. I'd be interested in a trip report after you are back home.
 

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Just a thought.
My dog Denver is alergic to bees, wasps etc.
So I have to carry benadryl and an epee pen
when we travel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, thanks for all the tips and advice. Everybody has said it at least once, it seems, but this site truly is a great resource. Thank you!

We are making it a 3-day trip, and I'm hoping I don't regret my choice. (Husband and kids are making a 4-hour flight.) I think I will start making longer drives with Molly to see how she does. Trip is not until June. At the moment, I'm wondering what I should actually do with her during the drive. Right now, since we just take short drives, she's not "contained" and she hops around from side to side trying to figure out which window she prefers. I plan on driving with the seats in the floor, so there will be a ton of floor space for her. But should she be in a kennel? She's a little large for the seats. I think she wouldn't mind sitting in one for a short period, but I can't imagine her spending three days in the seat and being comfortable. I am a little worried about having her loose. Although I think she'd prefer that and would probably eventually settle down well, I wonder about those unexpected moments when she might decide to leap into the front seat.

And how does one find out about allergies? I happen to carry an EpiPen for one of my children, but I didn't know they were made for pets, as well. I think it's safe to assume that Molly is not allergic to bees as she can't resist chasing them around when they buzz past her. I think she's managed to catch a couple...
 
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I find that once we reach highway speed Boyd immediately falls asleep. We always feed him a little ginger the morning of our trips to help with any upset tummy issues and cut back on his food that morning.

We also bring a tie out so if we find a nice place to eat/stop Boyd can go on the tie out and get a little exercise at the same time.
 

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I definitely agree with the harness idea! We have one for Dexter and he lays down very nicely in the back seat. I bet he would try to come up front w/us if he wasn't restrained.

We are taking him to the outerbanks (NC) w/us over Memorial Day week so we too are wondering how he'll do on such a long (~8 hrs) drive. He's never been in the car for much more than 1-2 hrs. I actually found a dog park in Virginia for a pit stop :wink:
 

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We got a harness/seat belt for Cinnamon when she was a pup because I couldn't drive without her in my lap. She's better at that now, but she's so used to the seat belt that it's second nature to her now. No problems.

I do have a tip for you though, if they aren't used to it, unbuckle it while you're taking your potty break. I didn't and she chewed through the belt while I was gone, a total of 3 minutes, tops. She was about 8 months old when that happened. I found that if I unbuckled her while I was gone, then nothing was chewed. I just buckled her back when we got ready to take off again.

Thank Heaven it was her belt and not the car's!
 

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Vanessa, did you forget about her "world travels"?

I got a dog harness for Jonah, he's fine while the car is running, but when you go to park....he leaps for the door. The car harness makes the ride safer and less stressful!!
 

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Lora - it's called Chesapeak City Park. It's looks like it's right along our way...of course only if the weather is nice.
 
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