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Road Trip With Your Dog? Here Are 17 Things You Can't Forget

  • 5 min read

Feeling overwhelmed by your upcoming trip? We get it. All the planning and packing that goes into it leaves you feeling drained—and most of the time—you end up forgetting something anyway. 

When it comes to bringing your dog along for the ride, you'll want everything fluffy needs. Forgetting something can leave you at a loss for a solution and your pet uncomfortable. Here are 17 things you can't forget on your next trip!

Get your car ready for your dog

Dog in the backseat

Have you ever sat in the middle seat on a long car ride? No one wants to be uncomfortable on a road trip, and neither does your dog. Instead of packing your car to the brim and leaving your dog as an afterthought, make a dedicated space for them to lay down in. Your dog with be a happy passenger if they can lay down in a comfortable spot. The cozier the dog, the calmer the dog. If you travel with your dog a lot, you should invest in a specialized car cover or seat. Having a harness attachment is a great way to keep Fluffy safe, too.

Check in with your vet

Don’t know if your dog is healthy enough to travel? Now is a great time to ask your veterinarian. Refill medicine and pest preventatives, update vaccinations, and ask about anti-nausea or stress relievers if necessary.

Stay somewhere that allows dogs

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth double-checking before you drive all the way to your destination. Make sure your pet is allowed where you’re staying! Whether that means checking restrictions at your hotel or giving your estranged relative a call, make sure your furry pet is welcome.

Check the weather

You’re already checking the weather yourself, so you might as well take Fluffy into consideration! Pack any extra blankets, jackets, or booties needed. Most importantly, checking the weather can help you better prepare for potential natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

Pack a bag for your dog

What to pack for your dog for a trip

Ultimately, you want your pet to be happy, healthy, and entertained on your trip.
Here are some things you should bring with you to make sure your pet has everything:

  • Medicine
  • Plenty of pet food
  • Food and water bowls
  • Water for the car (and more if clean water is limited at your destination)
  • Medications
  • Waste bags
  • Favorite toys
  • Treats
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Bed and crate
  • Important documents and vet records
  • Pet grooming supplies
ID your pet

While your pet should have a microchip, make sure they have a collar with an ID tag with your cell phone number in case your pet gets lost while you're traveling.

Bring your pet’s medical documents

Most vet records can be digitally transferred from your home vet to an emergency vet in the event of a crisis. However, if you're traveling across state or international borders, a health certificate may be required in addition to proof of rabies vaccination.

Feed your dog a few hours before you leave

Don't feed them in a moving vehicle, as this may help avoid pet car sickness. For the rest of your trip, consider feeding your dog at the same time as you do at home. Your pet will be much happier and at ease if you maintain their regular eating schedule while on vacation.

Bring lots of water

Seriously, you can never have too much water. Some areas have limited clean drinking water, and that is not a risk you should take with your pup. Drinking water from an unfamiliar source may cause an upset stomach, or worse—a parasite.

Restrain your dog in the car

Dog safely in the backseat of a car in a back seat pet bench cover

It isn't safe for you or your dog if they are hopping around the car while you're driving. You need to focus on driving, and your dog may distract you if they get excited or scared. Harness-compatible seat restraints, like the ones on this Pet Bench Seat Cover or Pet Booster Seat, will keep your pet safe in one spot. Pets should also stay in the backseat and away from airbags, which could kill them.

Entertain your dog

The best toy you can bring for a long drive is a chew toy. Chewing is engaging for them and takes little to no effort for you. Be sure to choose your chew toy carefully because you don’t want to spend a whole car ride listening to an annoying squeaking ball.

Reward good behavior

Use positive reinforcement & reward your dog with treats. A well-trained dog is going to be easier to road trip with than a dog that is constantly misbehaving. Treats are going to be your best friend when it comes to a nervous dog.

Relieve your dog’s nerves

Don’t ignore your dog when they are anxious! If you notice your dog is stressed or anxious while riding in the car, pressure wraps or stress-reducing treats may be the answer. If your dog pants every time they get in the car because they think they’re going to the vet, it’s time to train your dog to enjoy the ride. Expose them to more car rides and reward them with positive reinforcement (treats)!

Don't let your dog hang out of the window

Dog hanging out the window

Dogs may love this, but it is incredibly dangerous. Your pet risks getting struck by a passer-on or thrown out the window. No one ever expects a collision or slamming on the brakes. If your dog is restrained, this is less of a risk, but you should always heir on the side of caution when it comes to your beloved pet.

Take lots of breaks

Your dog needs them just as much as you do! It is recommended to stop every 2 to 3 hours for potty breaks. Let them stretch their legs and give them lots of attention on the break, too. They’re just as (if not more) bored as you are in the car.

Don’t leave your dog in a hot car

Only temperatures between 35 °F and 70 °F are safe, but it is not recommended to leave your dog in a car alone ever. Your dog may feel stressed, confused, and trapped when you leave them by themselves. Onlookers may see your dog in distress and break your windows to free your dog, too.

Maintain a routine

It’s not possible to do everything exactly as you would at home, but the more you remain consistent, the better. Once you reach your destination, feed and walk your dog on the same schedule you would at home. If you can, increase the walk time to help him get rid of the extra excitement and anxiety of the trip. You’ve taken the time to prepare, so now just kick back, have fun, and enjoy the time together!


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