For overlanders around the world, hitting the road in search of adventure just isn’t the same without the family pets. But, even for seasoned overlanders with years of experience travelling solo or with family in tow, planning that first trip with a furry friend might be a little nerve-wracking. For a little advice on the topic, we caught up with Sammie Grant, an expert solo overlander who regularly brings her dogs Porter, Holland, and Miles along for the ride.
Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind before setting off:
- You know your dog better than anyone. Do they like to travel or are they more of a homebody? Do they get stressed riding in cars or in new environments? Although most dogs love spending quality time with us, new places and the smells and sounds of the wild can be overwhelming for some.
- Make sure you’re up-to-date on preventatives and vaccinations, especially ticks, heartworms, rabies and parvo.
- Double-check that contact information is up-to-date on the chip and/or on the collar.
Unsure about what to pack? This really depends on the activities you plan to do, but one good habit is to always check of time for pet supply stores near your planned campsites just in case you leave anything behind.
A few “must-haves” for the road include:
- Collapsible portable water bottle.
- Water, at least one ounce of water for every pound of your dog’s weight, for every day on the road or campsite.
- Enough food and treats for the entire trip in sealable bags.
- Plenty of poop bags.
- Pet first aid kit, including a tick removal kit.
- Doggy blanket
- A few favorite toys.
- Doggy brush.
- Towels to dry and clean.
- Paw protection such as dog paw balm.
A few more helpful hints:
- Shade, either an awning or tent. Your furry friend will require shade if it is warm outside, and even putting down a simple tarp, dog bed or a blanket helps.
- Across the country there are many places that allow you to camp with your dog. Check in advance where you are planning to stay and make sure to ask about their pet policies. This goes for trails too – the National Park Service has a good resource for this: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/pets/visit.htm and top pet friendly campgrounds https://www.bringfido.com/lodging/campgrounds/
- It’s always good to know the local veterinarian services at your destination, just in case.
- Make sure you have recent picture of your pet, for worst-case scenarios.
Overlanding with your pets might add a few extra steps to the pre-travel checklist, but few things match the bonding experience of hitting the open road with your furry friend.