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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In about 2 months I'll be taking a roadtrip with Fenris (will be 8 months) that includes a 5 hour drive and a stay at a pet friendly B&B. I am especially nervous about any stops we have to make. What if I need the bathroom, do I just leave him in the car in Florida heat? How do solo car trips with dogs work? And this will probably be the first roadtrip of many, longer ones (especially since I eventually want to take hiking trips up to the mountains so that would be 16+ hours away). What is the protocol for solo human driving with a dog?

I'm less worried about the B&B where we are staying, I confirmed they are dog friendly and will have no problem with him over two nights. I'll take his canvas crate. Any other things I should consider? It will be the first time he'll be spending the night outside of our home since I brought him back.

Any tips or anything else to consider?
 

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In about 2 months I'll be taking a roadtrip with Fenris (will be 8 months) that includes a 5 hour drive and a stay at a pet friendly B&B. I am especially nervous about any stops we have to make. What if I need the bathroom, do I just leave him in the car in Florida heat? How do solo car trips with dogs work? And this will probably be the first roadtrip of many, longer ones (especially since I eventually want to take hiking trips up to the mountains so that would be 16+ hours away). What is the protocol for solo human driving with a dog?

I'm less worried about the B&B where we are staying, I confirmed they are dog friendly and will have no problem with him over two nights. I'll take his canvas crate. Any other things I should consider? It will be the first time he'll be spending the night outside of our home since I brought him back.

Any tips or anything else to consider?
I'd lock him in the car and leave the windows cracked an inch or so. Then I'd be hasty doing my business. No dog yet, so this is only what I think I would do, not experience based.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'd lock him in the car and leave the windows cracked an inch or so. Then I'd be hasty doing my business. No dog yet, so this is only what I think I would do, not experience based.
I'm worried though because in 2 months it will be May in Florida. Even with cracked windows it will be hot and I am not sure I can train him to not bark when alone in the car...

Anyone have any ideas on training to be okay alone in the car?
 

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When I would go on longer solo drives with my spoo, I would:
-Stop at a pet friendly store such as petsmart which is quite often close to the highway providing it was open.
-If I had to run in to the gas station or a restaurant (with no drive through), I would park by the door, leave windows cracked (or AC on) making sure I can see the car/dog at all times. I would try to call ahead and order and then call when I get there to see if the order was ready before going in to pay.
-If it was super hot/cold, I would stop at a rest stop and just bring my spoo in (and wipe her down after). No one ever said anything and most times, I was the only one in the washroom.
 

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I had to do two cross country drives over the last year alone with my standard. From San Francisco to Boston in November, then back to SF last week.
I did not have to deal with the heat that you will face in Florida, but I definitely felt the stress of not wanting to leave him alone in a strange place. My meals were all either drive through, delivery app to the motel room, or restaurants that would deliver to the car (luckily with the pandemic, this is most places these days).

Every time I would get gas, I'd make sure to offer him some water (usually every two hours or so). And since our trips were around 10 days each, I planned a fun hike or walk pitstop half way through each day. Most stops that we made (national and state parks, big city parks) had public restrooms that were easy to slip in with a dog. I just took him into the stall with me and never had any trouble.

On our first trip, he was really nervous in all the motel rooms, but he was his goofy self on the ride home. I am so glad I did the roadtrips while he is still youngish to get him used to travel and sleeping in new places. I'm sure the experience will be great for Fenris!
 

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Adding a note about water: keep in mind that at home your pup probably has constant access to water whenever he wants. On the drive he will only have access when you give it to him. That's why I made sure to offer it so often.

How does Fenris do on shorter drives? Any anxiety, nausea, or over excitement?
 

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Do not leave your dog alone in the car! Bring him in to the bathroom with you.
Especially when you are in hot weather. I always brought Dancer in to the bathrooms with me & it was never a problem. Use drive-thru for eating & stock up on snacks. We always make sure to stop every 2-3 hours to stretch legs, get water & relax. Use rest areas when possible.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fenris is perfect in cars, doesn't get sick or anything. Actually, he either sleeps or looks out the window if there is stuff going on. We have driven an hour a few times already with no issues so I am not worried about the car ride itself.

Good point on the water, I will have to make sure to stop every hour and let him have a walk and drink.

That is some awesome advice for the future. Unfortunately, this trip will be through the center of Florida, meaning small towns and truck rest stops among cane fields and even more cane fields. I'm not worried about the food, I've made this trip before with a few snacks, but a bathroom break at a random gas station has always been a necessity (mainly because of the coffee and water I consume while driving). What usually happens is you have to go into the station, get the key, then make your way somewhere out back, and use the most disgusting thing you'll ever see where I wouldn't even want my spoo to step into anyway (it's weird how my city gas station have such clean restrooms but these middle-of-nowhere places remind me of Ultrafest porta potties, yeeeek). So that's what I am most worried about leaving him for on this trip and not having line of sight.

And thank you for the other suggestions, when we take longer trips they will be super helpful.
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do not leave your dog alone in the car! Bring him in to the bathroom with you.
Especially when you are in hot weather. I always brought Dancer in to the bathrooms with me & it was never a problem. Use drive-thru for eating & stock up on snacks. We always make sure to stop every 2-3 hours to stretch legs, get water & relax. Use rest areas when possible.
Would you bring him with you into the gas station to pick up the restroom key? Also, into a disgusting bathroom with pee on the floor? I'm talking middle-of-nowhere gas stations on this trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That doesn't sound like a fun bathroom experience! I was lucky with very clean and spacious restrooms.

I am jealous of the Teslas with the Pet Mode that keeps the car locked, AC on, and display saying you will be right back. I'd love to see more cars have features like this.
Yeah, I'd love more cars to have that mode too! Unfortunately, this is a common route for me to visit friends across the state (and see many metal shows pre-COVID) so I know it very well, including the bathrooms. I could detour through Orlando but that would probably add another hour to my trip.
 

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We've traveled from the Metro Kansas City area to Hendersonville NC two times with our mpoos, and numerous shorter trips to the Ozarks and found that after getting on the road for the first time, our girls needed a sooner than later stop but settled very nicely after. The boys just hang out until we stop.

We usually stop at 2-3 hours to get them out of the car, get a drink, and pee or poop as needed. We try to do this somewhat off the main highway. I'm a bit paranoid about them getting loose :(

Something that I do is plan over the route using resources like bringfido.com and dogfriendly.com. That helps with having some options already explored on paper.

Something that might be helpful would be to look for pet stores, vets, groomers, doggie day cares, places like that along your route. Contact them before you start your trip and see if you could stop at their location for your necessary break/s. Maybe even pet friendly motels along the route.

Drive thru dining is a staple when traveling with dogs but most places with outdoor eating areas will also be dog friendly. Just check first. In temperate weather we've left them in the car but parked so we could see them from inside.

It will be the first time he'll be spending the night outside of our home since I brought him back.

Any tips or anything else to consider?
So long as he's with you, he'll be fine. I think our poos always enjoyed going to new places with us.

I bring a half liter bottle or so of water from home and start mixing it with local water for a transition. Changes in water may not be a thing for dogs but it can't hurt to do it.

I bring a few toys, extra leashes, extra ID tags, collars, harnesses, enzyme cleaner jic, a familiar blanket or throw for the car, and I use the bedding from inside their crate on the seat of the car.

I used to print out, but now just save, immunization records, microchip info, clear current photos to my phone and to a cloud stored option so I can access them from anywhere, even if my phone can't. I've also added them as Contacts and to my emergency contact info.



A recent thread with a different topic brought up lists of many dog friendly businesses which might possibly be along your route.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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These articles suggest that just a few minutes in the car aren't likely to be life threatening.

Both say how hot a car gets after an hour, but what about before? And what’s the experience like before it becomes life threatening? I think a quick bathroom break could easily take ten minutes:

“Sergeant John Perrine and Captain Mike Pruitt wiped rivers of sweat off their faces and necks. They had only been in the car for 10 minutes, but they were already finding it hard to breathe and even harder to think or speak. Outside the car, it was 86 degrees and partly cloudy, a warm day but not unbearable. Inside, with the windows rolled up and the air conditioning shut off, the temperature had reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit.”

And:

“It was so hot that even technology failed; they lost the first phone to heat exhaustion after only six minutes. Five smart phones overheated during the experiment, which lasted a total of 40 very hot minutes. After only 10 minutes, the temperature inside the car had reached 110 degrees, 23 degrees hotter than it was outside. At 21 minutes, the car was at 118 degrees Fahrenheit, and Perrine’s body temperature was 100.1.”


When minutes count, I’m inclined to advise anyone against leaving their dog in the car on a hot day.
 

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Can you lock your car from the outside while it is running? One of ours you can but the other refuses. If yes, I would practice doing that with him in the car. You wouldn’t even have to go in anywhere, you could park at the back of a lot, walk up to the store (out of his line of vision) and then walk back to see how he handles it. I would only ever leave an animal in a locked, turned off car in May-oct during the daytime if it were raining and very cloudy/dark. Cars heat up so fast!
 

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If you want a cleaner bathroom, then you could just visit a starbucks.

I'm not sure how Covid has changed refill procedures... But I imagine you could work the system. (cha chinngg)
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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I live in the SE and have to contend with the heat. You have two concerns: keeping him cool when you have to leave the car and keeping him calm. Some advice for a 5 hour drive:
  • Mia likes to stop every 2 hours or so, which means you might be able to get away with only 1 stop, but I would plan on 2, especially if he's not used to long drives.
  • If you can, drive in the morning, when it is cooler, instead of the afternoon. I'm not averse to leaving at 5 am to avoid the hottest temperatures.
  • I plan her exercise so that she'll nap most of the drive. When she was younger, she needed to stretch her legs during our rest stops, but she doesn't require as much now.
  • Bring ice water for him. I use the same giant container we use at agility. If you're bringing a cooler, consider bringing frozen treats, like kongs or even just sticking soft treats in the cooler, to give him something to do and a way to cool off while you run into a store.
  • Be efficient at your stops. Don't dawdle! You can pee while the pump is running to save time, etc.
  • If you have a newer car, you may be able to keep your car locked and running with the AC on.
  • If not, he'll be ok for a few minutes in the car. I have left her for perhaps as long as 10 minutes with windows cracked and parked in the shade. I will often pull away from the gas pump to park in a spot further away from people and in the shade to ensure she's undisturbed.
  • Bring your own food and drinks to limit your need to stop. I'm not one to stop at restaurants while driving; I'll either eat in the car, or more typically, I nibble the whole drive. Frozen grapes and carrot sticks, although not things I eat at home, are good candidates because I can eat mounds of them.
  • If you have a sun visor for your car, use it.
  • Be prepared to crank the AC when you get back to the car.
 
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