Bringing your Dog on a Road Trip? Here’s Everything you Need to Know!

By Hayley Braun | Travel Tips

As anyone with a pet knows, your dog is a part of the family. And when it comes to travel with family, your dog might even be the most tolerable family-member to road trip with!

So, here's everything you need to know 
for your next road trip with your dog - from what to pack all the way to where to stop, we got you covered!

Pack your pup's road trip essentials

THE BASICS

  • Water bowl & your dog's regular food
  • Any medications
  • Leash, and collar with tags
  • Poop bags
  • Grooming supplies and a towel
  • Crate/Kennel, dog bed, or blankets
  • Favorite Toy
  • TREATS!

JUST IN CASE

  • Keep a dog first aid kit, and download Red Cross's Pet First Aid app
  • A recent photo of your dog  (and if you're like me, you already have hundreds of these)
  • Vaccination Records
  • List of nearby Vet Clinics (or access to Google!)

OTHER TIPS & TRICKS

  • For a lot of the "Just in Case" or other Emergency items, I have documentation saved in my Google Drive. That way no matter what, I can access my pet's (or my own) vaccination records from anywhere if needed!
  • Download a few more pet-friendly apps to help you along the way.
  • Try a less-smelly treat for the car to keep BOTH of you happy. Maggy loves these dental chews.
  • Lastly, get your dog their own "suitcase" to keep treats and supplies organized. A lot of these also come with portable food & water bowls!

Make sure your dog is comfy & safe

Even though, let's be honest, they can get comfy ANYWHERE.

  • Always use a pet seat belt
  • This is great for keeping your pup safely restrained while riding windows down! It'll also keep them from trying to jump in the driver's seat with you (as Maggy loves to do).
  • Don't let your dog roam around. It's safer for them and the driver!
  • Consider keeping your pet in their crate for the drive. A lot of pets even sleep better in a crate, and consider it a safe place.
  • Put a dog bed or blanket over the seat so they're cozy
  • Or, do it all with a "car seat"!

We just got this for road trips with Maggy, and it's incredible. My other (dog) friend Bogey rides around in one and loves it, so we had to try.

This dog "car seat", or dog hammock will keep your dog from roaming around, and even comes with a pet seat belt! It'll also keep your seats clean for your less-furry, human friends.

You can find a ton of these on Amazon. We use the one pictured here, and it's been great!

What if my pet gets anxious or car sick?

(If you're lucky enough to have a dog that jumps at the opportunity to "GO FOR RIDE?" then you can skip this section!)

This is super common in dogs, and nothing to be worried about! Our dog Polly used to get car sick on every road trip. A lot of puppies grow out of this, but if your adult dog gets motion sick, it's usually due to anxiety.

Luckily, there's a few ways you can help:

  • Try not to feed them for a few hours before you leave.
  • Take your dog on a lot of short rides before attempting a road longer road trip. Also drive your dog to places that are fun for them, not just the vet! Dogs that only associate "car = vet" may get stressed or anxious easily on road trips.
  • Keep a cool and calm environment in the car.
  • Check out this article from VCA Hospitals for other signs your pet may be getting anxious, and how to help them!
  • If nothing else works, try medication.
    • A lot of human nausea meds actually work for dogs too. Talk to your vet to discuss what options may be best!

Where to stop along the way

  • Keep an eye out for rest areas with a dog park. This is becoming more and more common, and you and your dog can both get a much-needed break from the car.
  • Check out BringFido.com for everywhere you can bring your dog. They have lists of hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and tons of other dog friendly places! This is a great app to have on your phone as well.

Good Luck, and Happy Road Tripping!

We'd love to see your own road trip pictures with your dog - because who doesn't love cute puppy pics? Drop them in the comments below, and let us know if you have any more tips for planning a road trip with your dog!

About the Author

I'm a recent Clemson engineering grad (go tigers!) and have been traveling for as long as I can remember. I've always loved exploring new places and meeting new people. I started travel blogging to be able to do more of what I love, and get to share it with the world!

  • Tammy says:

    Great post! I haven’t gone on really long road trips with my dog (max 2 hrs so far) but I always end up forgetting something! I will refer to your post for future travels 🙂

  • Janet E Rose says:

    Great post. It will be very helpful for planning in the future. I appreciate you giving us a complete checklist for taking pets on a trip! Thanks for sharing.

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