I’ve often travelled with my dog in the backseat, and we both had a blast every time! It was important for me to keep sharing these long drives with my feisty Rottweiler. And when my baby arrived, I had to make sure that every member of my little family was safe, and having a good time.
Travelling with dogs and a baby in the car safely is a major concern for most families. That’s why I came up with these 13 best tips for safe and enjoyable travel. Mostly, it’s about doing a bit of planning, and rounding up the essentials beforehand. Knowing the essentials helps a lot.
Read-on these 13 best tips on traveling with your little ones for a fun and easy trip.
Decide Who Sits Where
Assigning the right spots in the car for your baby and your pet is probably the biggest challenge while traveling. It gets bigger with a large dog.
The most important thing is to make sure that your kid and your dog are safe and secure in their places. This depends largely on the type of car you have, and who would be traveling with you.
Don’t Leave an Unharnessed-Dog Beside Your Baby
Don’t leave the dog free from a harness or crate beside your baby. Even the sweetest dogs could get agitated by the buzz of the road, and this could easily make them unpredictable or aggressive. That’s the last thing you want to experience when you’re driving on a highway.
Transport Your Dog In A Crate Or Carrier
It’s best to get a carrier or crate for your dog. The backseats of some cars can fold separately, you can use the extra space to fit a bigger crate for Fluffy. Ideally, your dog should be able to sit and stand in the crate.
Harness Your Dog Even If He’s In The Trunk
If you’re in the habit of leaving your dog back in the tunk, make sure it’s harnessed in place. This is primarily for the dog’s safety. In addition, it helps in keeping the dog from crossing to the back seat.
Some people prefer installing a gate between the trunk and the back seat. That’s where the baby would be, so it’s best to make sure the dog can reach that spot.
Declutter The Trunk To Make Extra Room For Your Pet
Also, try to declutter the truck from any objects that could fly-off and hurt your pet if you stop suddenly.
You can mount a rack on the roof of your car to store your luggage. This way, you’d have extra room for your dog in the trunk.
Separate Your Dogs
If you have two dogs, you can still go out with your little tribe. Just keep each dog in a different seat. If you can put one in the front seat and one in the back seat or trunk, that would be great.
In all cases, remember to harness your dogs or put them in comfortable crates.
Take The Necessary ID’s And Papers With You
Pets need to be fully identifiable when you take them out of the house. Make sure that their collar has all the essential details that could help in returning your pet back to you. This is highly recommended when you go on a short trip to the supermarket, and just as important when you’re taking a train to another state.
If you’re traveling further than your Stateline, remember to take the dog’s vaccination sheet. This could be a requirement in some states, especially the rabies shots. Otherwise, you could be asked to double back, and that would be a real bummer!
You should also take your kid’s identification with you. It’s a security measure to eliminate criminal activities involving baby kidnappings. It’s also important for child custody issues associated with marital disputes.
When you’re out with a pet and a baby, be prepared. In every way!
Get A Ramp For The Older Dogs
If you have a large dog who doesn’t like jumping in and out of the car, you can invest in a ramp to ease mounting and dismounting. This is especially helpful if your dog is aging or has arthritis. The alternative would be carrying the dog in and out.
Get a Baby Carrier and a Leash for The Trip Stops
Life could look peachy while your baby is happily tucked in his car seat, and your pet is just as chirrupy in his crate. A couple of hours later, you’d need to make a stop to change a nappy and give your dog an opportunity to relieve itself.
The next stop you make could be to the supermarket, the part, or a friend’s house. In all these places, or in any other destination, you’d need to carry your baby securely and control your pet at the same time.
Invest in a light baby carrier to keep your baby secure and close to you. And also a medium-length leash for your pet. You might need to attach the leash to a wall, chair, or other fixture while attending to your baby. That’s why it’s best to get the kind that has a hook.
There’s an important point that you should always remember: never leave your baby or pet in the care alone. In summer the car becomes a sauna and in winter a freezer. Both conditions could be detrimental to your little ones’ wellbeing.
Prepare Some Snacks for the Trip
Kids get hungry every two hours or so. They also need to be hydrated regularly to keep them happy and healthy. And as you might know, pets have very similar nutritional requirements.
It’s not recommended to feed your baby, or your pet, while your vehicle is moving. Your young ones could get groggy from having a snack with all the movements and buzz.
Motion sickness is a very real thing, and having a full tummy could aggravate the situation. This might sound like the worst-case scenario and a bit farfetched. However, studies state that more than 25% of children in a moving car could experience an uneasy feeling with varying symptoms. [Source]
Pets could experience similar feelings of disturbance, and some may even vomit. This is one of the least welcome incidents you’d want to happen during your trip.
Give your kid and pet light snacks when you make stops. Kids could be a bit finicky when it comes to food, as you sure know!
I find that compartmentalized snack containers, stackable containers, and food pouches work like a charm. Stock them up with various food types, bearing in mind your kid’s preferences, the temperature inside the car, and how long you expect to be on the road.
Refreshments would be good too. And here’s a pro tip form hard experience: water quality differs from place to place, and this might not sit well with your baby or your pet. Get them an extra bottle of water, and replenish with mineral water when you need it.
Eating during stops has extra benefits too. You can be fully attentive to your little ones, and even share a bite with them!
Bring Along Their Favorite Toys
Babies and pets are easily attached to their toys, and usually, a particular one becomes their favorite. When they play with that toy then seem to be more cheery, relaxed, and amused. That’s exactly what you need them to feel during the trip.
A soft toy that doesn’t have any safety issues of any kind is preferred. It would keep your little ones occupied and at ease. If your kid likes variety, then bring along several toys, and keep your baby engaged throughout the trip!
Put Together a Traveling and First-Aid Kit
When reaching the family pediatrician and vet isn’t easy, like when you’re traveling, it’s best to be prepared with a few precautionary items.
For your baby, a band-aid and disinfectant are absolute necessities. So is an anti-inflammatory medication, sun protection, wet wipes, extra nappies, and moisturizing cream. It’s best to throw in a little brush and a comb as well.
Having an extra change of clothes in a day trip is always wise. For longer trips, a baby bag would be needed of course. The weather can change at the drop of a hat, so bring along a waterproof jacket or a light sweater depending on the season.
A light blanket could also be needed. Get one that fits nicely on your baby’s car seat, and if it can be fitted to the baby stroller as well, even better. Each child has different needs from the next. Add all the items that you believe could come in handy.
Make a List of Everything You Need to Do
If you’re traveling for more than a day, make a list of what you need to take with you, prior to the trip. Babies and pets need plenty of items that anticipate their every need, not just the bare necessities. This should keep your family happy and you at ease.
A Few More Things
The travel To-Do list could go on and on when a baby and a pet are on board. You might miss out on a few items, and that’s totally normal. However, make sure these two items are well taken care of: your little ones’ safety, and having a great time!