Devin Harris of Joplin, MO owns and operates Great Danes of the Ozarks, a breeder of these large companions. In the following article, Devin Harris discusses traveling with a Great Dane, a dog which can weigh as much as an adult and stand taller than most children – with some extra planning and forethought, traveling with this large dog can be a rewarding experience.
Very little in life compares with the joy of experiencing it all with a dog by your side. They’re man’s best friend, provide loving companionship, loyalty, head-out-the-window hilarity, and they never complain about the music choice.
But when the dog is the size of a small horse, the journey can be a little more complicated.
Comfort and Security
Great Danes of the Ozarks reports that a dog should always be safely contained in a car, no matter what their size, but it’s ten times more important to properly secure a Great Dane. Having to brake suddenly and sending a baby elephant hurtling toward the windshield could have disastrous consequences.
Devin Harris of Joplin, MO suggests that if the car is large enough, invest in a crate. A blanket and a few toys that smell like home should provide comfort and security, but it can take some time to introduce a dog to a crate if they don’t usually use one at home. If they hate the crate, use a car harness. Either way, securing these large animals safely is vital to protect everyone else in the car as well.
The theme for the entire trip is to plan ahead every step of the way. Get the dog used to the car. Do some practice trips. Make it a fun experience from the beginning. And don’t forget to keep the temperature nice and cool. Dogs can easily overheat in cramped, unventilated cars.
Invest in a Good Quality Car Seat
Devin Harris of Joplin, MO says that there’s a huge range of car accessories aimed at the dog owner market. Don’t be quick to get the cheapest product that will do the job. A dog should be comfortable on its road trip so, if possible, get a car seat or harness that doubles as a pillow, so they’ll be happy to take a snooze.
Covers will save seats from any kind of accident, from a knocked-over water bowl to nausea-related accidents. Pockets in the seat cover are a great idea too, for toys, wipes, and anything else needed at short notice.
Contact Hotels in Advance
Great Danes of the Ozarks reports that even if hotels, motels, and campsites that appear to be dog friendly on their website, may draw the line at miniature giraffes. A Great Dane is often the softest, goofiest, most loving animal possible, but their sheer size can worry a hotel owner, and create a sense of liability.
Be transparent about the intention to bring a Great Dane. Search for hotels in the area that allow dogs, but call them, too. Be prepared to pay extra fees in some cases. Campsites are usually more relaxed than hotels, but it always pays to check first.
Make Plenty of Stops
Devin Harris of Joplin, MO explains that a house-trained dog who travels without car sickness still requires more stops than a small child. And with a Great Dane, it’s even more important. Drivers can push through a few more hours if necessary but those long limbs need to stretch at regular intervals, especially if they’re in a crate.
Pet owners should always keep the dog on a leash when making stops and be sure to head off the highway for a safe place to take break. These intimidating dogs can have a timid personality and may become unruly if at a rest stop along the highway. It’s safer for everyone to let your pet stretch at a dog-friendly, open space. Be sure to carry plenty of fresh water and food, and don’t forget the bags for cleanup.
For dogs who do have bouts of travel sickness, consider cutting back on food intake as early as 12 hours before leaving for the destination. Great Danes of the Ozarks suggest to seek a vet’s advice -they may be able to recommend anti-nausea medication.
Great Danes of the Ozarks explain that a road trip takes plenty of preparation, but there may be a need to take a Great Dane on a plane, too. And this requires even more planning and preparation.
Flying with a Great Dane is obviously more complex than flying a pug or a corgi. Not all flights allow the cargo space required for such a large animal. It may require the dog’s owner to supply an appropriately sized crate, so be prepared for this extra expense, as well as being up to date on all medical and travel documents.
Devin Harris of Joplin, MO says that two great tips for flying with a Great Dane are to speak to the Live Animal Desk of the airline before flying, and to alert the captain of the plane to the presence of a Great Dane in the cargo before takeoff. Pilots can control the temperature of the cargo area and can adjust it accordingly.
Thankfully, no process of traveling with a Great Dane needs to be too difficult, as long as planning starts early. Experiencing the world with a dog by your side can be quite the memorable experience.