Chihuahuas are great travel companions. They love to go where you go, they (and their stuff) take up very little room, and you won’t run into breed or size restrictions at pet-friendly locations when you’re traveling with a Chihuahua.
However, there are a few things that can make a BIG difference when traveling with your Chihuahua (or other small-breed dog).
Before we get to the 10 Tips, we also created a handy little checklist for you so you don’t forget anything important on your next road-trip! Get it here (by subscribing to our newsletter):
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Now for our Top 10 Tips on Traveling with a Chihuahua (by Car)…
The number one aspect to safety when traveling with your Chihuahua should actually start at your veterinarian’s office. What do we mean? The absolute most important element should your Chihuahua get lost while traveling is a microchip. Regardless of if you choose to let your Chi ride loose in the car, in a crate, booster seat, or wearing a seat-belt, you need to make sure your Chihuahua is microchipped, and that the microchip is still scanning properly and registered to the correct name, phone number, and address.
Probably the safest option for car travel (at the time of writing this article) is the crash safety tested Sleepypod. The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock was named a 2015 Top Performer by Center for Pet Safety. If you visit their website you can even download the 2015 Carrier Crashworthiness Study Summary Report!
Make sure your vaccinations are current. Not just for the state you live in, but the state you are traveling to also. We recommend traveling with a copy of your latest vaccination records from your veterinarian. If you want to travel light, it’s still easy to bring along those records….just snap a picture with your phone and save! Now you can take those records anywhere you go! We also recommend talking to your vet about what vaccinations your Chihuahua doesn’t have, but that they might recommend for where you are traveling. For example, we are located in Arizona where veterinarians rarely give the Leptosporosis vaccination, but depending on where we are traveling to, it may be recommended.
This is an important (and oftentimes overlooked) aspect to traveling with a dog. NOT ALL HOTELS ARE PET FRIENDLY….even the ones that belong to chains that advertise they are! Many hotel chains are operated independently as a franchise of the main hotel. That means they can apply their own rules to their individual location. Don’t get stuck with no hotel (or exorbitant fees)! Call before you make the reservation!
In our experience, the best hotel chain for traveling with pets is La Quinta. Plus, they have a great loyalty program where you can earn points toward free rooms and you can save up to 25% by booking early!
4) Boredom busters
If you are planning a long road trip with your Chihuahua, you need some things to keep your little dog busy during not only the long drive, but also the time spent cooped up in a hotel room. We recommend checking out companies like Pawstruck for this! Dog bones and chews are not only a great way to keep your dog entertained during long drives, but also an important (and easy) way to promote healthy teeth. While Pawstruck offers all sorts of bones, we personally recommend the softer chews, as they are safer for teeth (hard bones can cause teeth fractures), and with small dogs, even soft chews can last a long time! Some of our favorites include: cow ears, bully sticks, and bully stick covered esophagus.
5) The essentials
No trip is complete without the must-haves. When traveling with your Chihuahua, these essential items include: food, bowls (for both food and water), potty bags, and a leash. Our favorite food to travel with is Stella and Chewy’s Freeze Dried Meal Mixers, because they are light, healthy, and high value so they double as training treats while on the road!
6) The non-essentials (but still important)
Depending on where you are going, you may need to bring items that can help your Chihuahua adjust to the new location. For example, we live in Arizona, and we typically travel to cooler locations. This means we bring jackets and jumpsuits to stay warm in the cooler temperatures. Another optional item to bring on road-trips is a stroller (or a kennel on wheels) so your Chihuahua has a safe location for your time spent out of the car, and you have a convenient kennel!
7) Dealing with carsickness
Carsickness can make road trips miserable…for both you and your Chihuahua. This type of issue is best discussed with your veterinarian. Typically, your veterinarian will recommend an over-the-counter option such as Dramamine or a prescription option such as Serenia. Regardless of which option your veterinarian feels is best for your dog, we recommend you give the medication for every car ride for at least thirty days to helps set up a new behavioral response. This will eventually allow your dog to enjoy car rides with you without the aid of any medication.
This is especially important for the car ride if you plan on traveling with your Chihuahua in a crate or seat belt as those two options limit activity in the car. If your Chihuahua likes toys, this is as simple as playing tug of war or fetch until your little dog is showing signs of being tired and ready to rest. If your dog doesn’t like toys, take him for a brisk walk or even a run! A slow walk won’t burn the type of energy you’re hoping to get out before a long car ride.
9) Vehicle First Aid Kit
While you never want to assume you’ll be in need of a first aid kit while traveling, it is always best to have one. AKC offers an easily portable Pet First Aid Kit that you can add to your packing list for every road trip. There is even room left in the bag to customize it by adding things you might need for your dog such as Benedryl!
10) Be flexible!
This may seem like a common sense tip, but it may be one of the most important! When taking a road trip with your Chihuahua, remember, things may change. That six hour drive may turn into seven if your dog has an upset tummy and needs more potty stops. Plan for the unexpected by giving yourself more time than you (think) you’ll need for your drive. It will make the trip run much more smoothly if you aren’t stressed about “getting there on time”.
BONUS TIP for traveling with your Chihuahua!
Human potty breaks:
This may not be a problem if you are traveling with more than one person, but it can be a BIG problem if you are traveling by yourself. It is not safe to leave your Chihuahua alone in your car (even for a short time) for you to run in to a restroom without them. So what do you do?! PetSmart! We plan to stop at a PetSmart when we only have one person traveling, so that they can go in with us. Just be sure to buy your dog a little treat on the way out to “thank” the store.
Do you have any tips that you feel should be added to this list of traveling with your Chihuahua by car? Let us know in the comments below!