Ahhhh! The great American road trip. It is as iconic as apple pie and baseball. Whether you are taking I-95 down the East coast to Florida, cruising the Pacific Coast Highway out West, or going across the country on Route 66, nothing adds joy to a road trip like travelling with your Great Dane.
Great Danes love their humans and want more than anything to be with them. They also like adventure and being outdoors, plus they are not adverse to lounging around for extended periods of time. All of these traits make the Great Dane an excellent travel companion. Of course, because of their size, it is important to plan your trip accordingly.
While you want your Dane to be comfortable in the car, you also want them to be safe. Consider using a car harness to secure your Dane in the back seat, or if your vehicle will accommodate it, a crate secured in the cargo area may be a good choice. Whatever option you choose, research is key. Make sure you trust the product you are using and that you understand how to use it correctly.
Always ensure that your Dane is current on all vaccinations before travelling and that he or she has an I.D. tag or microchip with current contact information.
You want to ensure that your Great Dane is comfortable in the car. Take your Dane on short road trips around town or to the park. It is best if the trip involves some activity that your Great Dane will enjoy; a trip to the pet store or the dog park are great options.
Some animals get anxious in the car, or experience motion sickness. If your Great Dane seems agitated or uncomfortable while riding in the car, you may want to talk to your vet about safe medications to ease their anxiety. On the other hand, if your Great Dane settles right in on these short trips, it’s time to plan a longer adventure!
Planning Your Trip
Travelling with a large breed dog has its challenges with overnight accommodations being the most notable. You’ll need to plan your trip carefully to ensure that you will have accommodations for you and your four-legged friend(s) along the way.
While there are many hotels that allow pets, many have weight or size restrictions that your Dane will likely exceed. Be sure to call ahead to verify that the hotel will allow for large breed dogs and be aware of any additional fees. While every hotel is different, you can search for hotels that typically allow for large breed dogs at petswelcome.com.
If you are planning on camping, your options may be more plentiful. Most campgrounds allow pets and there are typically no additional charges to rough it with fido.
If you will be sightseeing along the way, make sure that the places you intend to visit will welcome your Great Dane, and be aware of any restrictions or regulations with regard to pets. You should never leave your Dane alone in the vehicle, so if they can’t go, niether can you.
Prepping Your Ride
Longer road trips will require that your Dane be confined in a vehicle for longer periods of time; be sure to make accommodations for them. They will need enough room to lay down and even turn around to reposition themselves from time to time. If you have a large SUV, this may not be a problem. With smaller vehicles, you may have to get more creative; folding seats down and packing floor boards with blankets or sleeping bags can help. Be sure to give your Dane a padded area on which to lay.
You will want to pack food and water for your buddy to eat and drink on the road. You will also need bowls with which to feed them. Gallon jugs of water, sealable food containers, and water bowls with lids are perfect for road trips. Don’t forget to bring an ample supply of their favorite treats as well and a couple of their favorite toys.
Even if your Great Dane enjoys riding in the car, it is important that you give them time to stretch their legs and relieve themselves. Taking ten minutes every couple of hours to stretch at a rest stop will be a refreshing break for you and your Dane.
Pit stops are a great time to hydrate your Dane and even have a quick snack. Be sure to give them ample time to take in the surroundings and relieve themselves before hitting the road and always keep them on a leash; you don’t want your road trip turning into a foot race.
All Danes have their own likes and dislikes and every road trip is a unique experience. Taking a road trip with your Great Dane might just be the best vacation either one of you have ever enjoyed.
So, go ahead! Pack up your stuff, load up your Dane and go share an adventure together!