Road Trip with Dogs: The Essentials and Practical Tips

You’ve been dreaming of tagging along with your furry best friends whenever you travel.

Well, the easiest way to realize that is to go on a road trip with your dog.

This can be a daunting task, though, if you haven’t done it yet, or it is your first time to do it.

You definitely need some guidelines to make your trip as smooth as possible.

Perhaps a road trip with dog planner is critical.

Let us guide you through with the following tips for traveling with dogs:

Plan for a Pet Friendly Road Trip

Avoid any issues during your dog’s road trip. It would be a good idea to take care of tasks before even hitting the road. Proper planning for traveling dog is the key.

Prepare the Vehicle or Car

Tune-up your car and make it pet-ready. Going home with the family safe together is the most significant part of this family trip.

Make sure to secure your pooch while on a dog car trip.

A car harness, carrier, or crate will prevent him from peeping outside, and protect him from any injury in case of an accident.

There are also floor cover and dog car seat cover to protect your vehicle and make him more comfortable.

Invest in these items if you frequently travel with dogs. If he is not used to be buckled up in the car, allow him first to explore his new crate or let him wear a harness in the house. Take him for short drives as he gets more comfortable. Make traveling with dogs in cars slowly and he will be road trip ready before you know it. This is would even be doable for long car rides with dogs.

Consult the Vet

Talk to his veterinarian and confirm that his vaccinations are updated and he is in good health before leaving on a land trip. Discuss with the vet possible health issues that might happen at your destination.

Just in case, ask about remedies for diarrhea, restlessness, and car sickness while on the driving. This likely occurs when traveling long distance with dog.

You may also consult the vet if you’re planning a cross-country road trip with a dog. Have him micro-chipped or keep it up to date with the information in case he will get separated from you.

Veterinary clinics, humane societies, animal hospitals, animal health centers, and shelters are equipped with scanners to read the chips to notify you and recover your dog.

Ensure Your Pooch is Road Ready

Some dogs, especially those you have not experienced road trips, may be hesitant or resistant to travels.

You, as a fur parent may also worry about the possible travel-related effects on your pet. Know how to travel long distances with a dog.

Try to take him on brief trips so you may observe if he has a sign of anxiety, motion sickness, or any other health issues when traveling. Start for a 15 or 20-minute drive, then go for a half or one-hour next time. Actually, many canines may overcome motion sickness after several rides.

If not car sickness, he may suffer from nervousness or he may be wound-up in the vehicle. This could be a matter of desensitization just like in motion sickness.

Perhaps you can give your dog treat rewards the moment he hops in until he hops out from the vehicle. Check with his vet for health supplements or sedatives in case more or severe conditioning is not effective. This will help him make it through even for a long road trip with dog. Make sure to get him prepared for the trip, so plan ahead.

Pack the Essential Items for a Road Trip with Your Dog

Just like babies, pets need things when going on a vacation. Here’s the list of the stuff you have to bring:

  • Dog treats and foods
  • Vitamins, supplements, and medications for his health
  • Poop bags
  • Leash & collar along with updated ID tags
  • Drinking water
  • Water and food bowls
  • Medical records
  • Proof of vaccination
  • Travel crate

This list may sound like a lot for you to bring but remember, it is still better to have proper planning to be ready than sorry. A travel bag for dogs can be beneficial to pack these essentials properly.

Never forget the necessities for your safety against COVID-19 such as hand sanitizer and masks. This is just in case anything comes along or if you’ll be in contact with the crowd. Be sure to pack everything.

Pack Foods and Water Just Enough for the Road Trip

Keep your dog well-fed and happy on your trip. You may follow some of the tips below:

  • Measure the exact amount of foods that your dog usually consumes on certain days of the trip with your dog. You will have easy access when you are road tripping with your dog as you can properly store food in the car. Bring extra food if you are traveling through smaller towns.
  • Pack for emergency food and water. Having so much fun would, at times, require an extra day of stay. There may be a delay in going back home if your car will break down.
  • Waterproof food containers. Use one traveling bag for the storage of all food items. This will help make your life and that of your dog a lot easier.
  • Always pack snacks or dog treat. Snacks help keep his mind active and boost his energy apart from off-leash dog distraction.
  • Provide him with bottled water or bring your own from home to be sure that he is drinking clean water. Water from any unfamiliar source can result in an upset stomach.
  • Avoid giving him a heavy meal prior to the trip. Feed him four hours before the trip at least. Take him on a short walk before putting him in the car. You are letting him stretch his legs so he can relieve himself.

Now that you’re done with the groundwork, it is time to choose the route and the things you want to see.

Select the Pet Friendly Route for the Trip

Envision the best road trip with a dog. Choose state, national or rural destinations that would give you and your pal a good feel. Poke around and you will find interesting and fun destinations for your pup. You will have endless possibilities – mountain getaways, new cities, and national parks. Having a jam-packed itinerary for pet friendly stops would be tempting. Sniffing some roses remains significant in a certain destination.

Always be mindful of the state of his comfort when you plan the route. Some pets may be anxious when they are away from their homes. Relieve this stress by sticking to your dog’s exercise schedule and normal feeding. Try to set or leave a sign or an alarm for meals, walks, and do some activities to burn off energy.

Experiencing sites with him is part of the trip’s fun. Look for animal parks and roadside attractions where you can stop along the way. Take a break from driving to let him stretch, sniff, and get hydration.

Book a Place to Stay

Find pet friendly hotels and reserve your accommodation. The enthusiasm that your dog will receive from these establishments may differ although many locations welcome pets. Consider the following factors:

Pet friendly accommodation

It is relevant to verify that the hotel welcomes pets. Hotel policies on pets may change from time to time so ask upon reservation. Try to ask if a crate is allowed inside the room.

Breed or weight restriction

Hotel properties commonly impose weight restrictions on pets. If your pooch is big enough, it would be best to ask for possible exemptions. They may have specific rooms for him.

Allowable occupancy

This would be a critical consideration if you are traveling with more than one pet. Bringing a crate is also a consideration.

Additional pet fees

Some hotel chains allow pets to stay at their property free of charge. There are also properties that heap on extra charges. Make sure you have understood the inclusions of the cost before making a reservation. Determine if your booking is for the entire stay or just for a night only.

Amenities offered

A grassy pet relief spot is the most significant amenity a hotel can offer to pet owners. Some hotels also offer pet beds, doggy room service, and treats at check-in.


Generally, pets are not allowed in pools, restaurants, fitness rooms, and breakfast areas even when there is no obvious sign. Ask ahead for the areas where you should not leave your dog alone. Hotels here consider barking which may disturb other guests and any possible damage inside the room although they are pet friendly.

Keep Dog Entertained

Keep your canine engaged and entertained to make your ride easier. Try to bring him something to chew on. This will keep him busy and prevent him from chewing on the back seat belts of the car. You can give him a tug toy that he can play with at rest times. Tug-of-war sessions are also pet friendly as it will help him rest between pit breaks. Meanwhile, fetch toys or dog disc toys will offer him more space to run around.

Apps for Dog Road Trips

Download pet friendly apps that would be helpful for easy road tripping. Apps like Dog Park Finder Plus can be your guide in finding a dog-friendly park. BringFido is another app for park location along with restaurants, events, stores, and hotels suitable for dogs. This will also help you find dog-friendly places nearby. In fact, many consider it a great app for taking a dog on a land trip.

Be Mindful of Driving Safety Rules

Getting on the open road with your best friend would be riskier as you will not only consider yourself but for him as well. Learn how to secure dog in car. Here are some safety rules and tips for you to keep in mind before you leave for a trip:

  • Never allow your pal to sit in your lap while driving. No matter how behaved he can be, there is still something moving between you and the car’s steering wheel and brake. God forbid, but this may result in an accident.
  • Do not let him hang out the window. Allowing him to lean out the window is a no-no although letting him do so to enjoy the breeze and view is great. One reason for this is the danger when another obstacle or vehicle comes and side-swipes him. Another factor is if he is unrestrained with countless cases of pets falling out of a car’s window.
  • Check temperature within the vehicle. Make sure that there is enough cool air in the back seat to keep him safe from overheating. See to it that the air circulates well and that he is comfortable.
  • Do frequent stops for bathroom and water breaks. Never underestimate how quickly your dog’s bladder can fill up or how he becomes dehydrated. You can stop every couple of hours so he could empty or fill up. This will help break up drive boredom too.
  • Make sure to keep the sound inside upfront to prevent blasting his sensitive ears. The music that you are blaring may not give his ears a great feeling. Note that dogs do have better hearing than humans. Set the sound in the front speakers to keep him at peace at the seat while on the roadside. Try playing soothing music to keep him calm.
  • Always opt for the “safest way for dog to ride in car.”

Enough Time for Recovery

If your trip takes several days, give your pet enough time off the road so he can recover from the daily exertion. Allow him to run around after every stop. Give him sufficient food and water. It is also advisable to monitor for signs of possible fleas, ticks, dehydration, etc.

Check Weather Report

Knowing the weather condition will help you prepare for concerns or issues such as rain. These factors may slow your travel. Learning what’s ahead of you will prevent possible natural disasters including tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. Moreover, this will give you a pet friendly hint of what to pack for the trip like extra clothes for rainproofing.

Get on the Road and Have Fun

Sometimes things go a bit sideways. It’s either you would let it ruin everything or consider it as a new adventure. Dogs can also be good teachers and just want to spend time with you and have fun. Every detour would be an opportunity to have a great time and grow closer to the experience. This mindset will be doable when you let it happen.

Congrats! You have prepared everything, hit the road, enjoy quality time with your furry friend, and have a great road trip with your dog. Stop by some interesting spots. Taking short hikes for less than an hour can be a great idea. Enable him to safely enjoy himself outside your home. Have a memorable dog road trip then.

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