The Ultimate Guide for Taking a Road Trip with Your Dog

There is no better moment to go on a road trip with your pet. You may be eager to get on the road after being trapped for several months in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

You can enjoy the outdoors with your family without leaving behind your dog. Your dog will love to explore new areas and sniff out new scents.

Here are some tips that will help you plan a memorable and smooth road trip with your dog.

Road Trips: Benefits The Best Way to Travel with Dogs

The road trip is a great way to travel and bond with your dog. There is no need to be concerned about getting on an airplane during a pandemic or researching the safety requirements or record of an airline.

Your dog won’t need to be boarded, or even left with a sitter when you travel by car. While practicing physical distance, you can have an adventure with your dog and make the most out of your vacation.

The flexibility of a roadtrip with your dog is one of its biggest advantages. You can stop whenever you like and choose the best places for dogs to visit. You can bring along your dog’s favorite treats and toys, as well as a blanket or bed in the trunk.

Basics for Dog Road Trips: What to bring

You’ll need to pack a few essentials if you plan to travel with your dog. What you should never leave home without.

Medical Records/Health Certificate

Book an appointment with the veterinarian of your dog before you go on a trip, whether it is a weekend getaway with your dog or a cross country trip. This will ensure that your dog has all his vaccinations up to date. Bring both electronic and printed copies of your dog’s medical records or the health certificate you received from the vet, especially if you cross state borders. The validity of a health certificate is 30 days. Medical documentation is also important if there’s an accident on the road.

Food and Medication

The author chooses all featured products. Vetstreet will receive a small commission from affiliates if you make a purchase after clicking through.

Prepare for any delays by packing your dog food and supplement. You can also bring an extra week of these items. Feed your dog three to four hours before leaving the house to prevent accidents.

xid:fr1717912972011hib&″>Bow Wow Labs, recommends pet parents bring their dog’s own food on the road. This will prevent upset stomachs and loose stools, especially if the stores you’re visiting don’t stock the food your dog eats.

Devereaux suggests ginger to soothe your dog’s stomach if he is prone to motion sickness. This potent plant can help with nausea in all its forms and make the trip more enjoyable for everyone. You can buy pet-friendly chews of ginger online or from your local pet shop.

Microchips, GPS collars, and identification

If your dog is lost in your neighborhood, it’s one thing. But if you are separated from your pet while on a road trip in an unfamiliar area, that’s another. If you want to increase your chances of finding a dog that has taken a detour unintentionally, make sure your contact information on the ID tag is easily visible. If your road-trip companion hasn’t already been microchipped consider getting one before you leave.

Even if you have a properly-tagged dog, your registration information is current, and the chip is in place, a GPS tracking collar like the TRACTIVE GPS Dog Tracker can literally save your life on Tractive allows you to track your dog in real-time, without having to wait for someone else. The waterproof clip-on GPS tracker gives you real-time tracking information to help you quickly reunite with your lost pet. You can also monitor your dog’s location and activities using the powerful features.

Up-to-date Pictures of Your Dog

Accidents can happen. Do not leave home without a current photo of your dog. You can print out a few and keep them on your phone for when you need to get flyers or show shelters.

Dog First Aid Kit

Prepare a pet first aid kit for minor injuries, to remove ticks, foxtails and wrap up any wounds. List clinics, hospitals and the ASPCA’s Pet Poison Helpline (888-426-4435) in case your dog ingests a poison. Sign up for telehealth to get healthcare advice from veterinarians and receive live triage assistance while traveling.

Dog Road Trip Packing List

Pack items that keep your dog happy, comfortable and entertained on the road. For road trips with your dog, we recommend that you pack the following items:

  • Take plenty of water with you on the road and at rest stops
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Safety harness seatbelt crash-tested
  • Leashes in both lengths
  • Travel crate, carrier or container
  • Bed and/or blanket to give a feeling of home when in an unfamiliar situation
  • Treats and puzzle toys
  • If you plan to do any water activities, it is important that you wear a life jacket.
  • Extra collar with ID tags
  • Booties are recommended for hot climates to protect you from hot surfaces.
  • If you’re headed for cooler temperatures, coat up!
  • Poop bags
  • Use old towels and grooming products for cleaning
  • Calming Aids and Supplements (if needed)

Road Trip Safety For You and Your Dog

It’s important to ensure your pet is safe when you are driving. To ensure your dog’s safety, follow the advice below.

Keep dogs in a crate or restrained while driving

Your dog will love the fresh air, new smells, and freedom of an open window. But an unrestrained pooch could be dangerous if you have an accident or make a sudden turn or stop.

Michelle Belio is the owner and head trainer at Pawsitively waggin’ academy LLC, serving New York City, Long Island and surrounding areas. She recommends using a crash-tested crate for road trips. She says that if a crate is conditioned properly, it can be a safe place for your dog on the road. It also keeps our dogs away from us and to be attentive to the road.

There are different sizes and types of travel crates. Choose a crate large enough for your pet to turn around and stand up in. Attach it firmly to the floor of the vehicle or to the back seat.

Use a crate that is designed to calm separation anxiety for your anxious dog. You can also cover the crate with a blanket and create a den-like atmosphere. If crating your dog is not an alternative, you can secure him with a seat belt and a safety harness that has been crash tested. The harness is worn around the chest of the dog and the strap attached plugs into a seat belt buckle.

Install a backseat barrier or a guard on the floor of the boot/trunk of the vehicle to create a safe area in the rear of the vehicle for dogs that have difficulty relaxing while restrained. The hammock or dog sling in the back seat will provide extra security, and keep any mess off the seat. When driving an RV with your pet, ensure that he is safely restrained.

Leash Rules

Once in the car remove your dog’s leash so he does not get tangled up or suffer whiplash. Leash the dog up when letting him out of the vehicle to stop him from running off. Devereaux says that you should never let your dog jump out of a car without a harness. If something startled them, you wouldn’t be able to control where they went.

Never leave your dog unattended in the car

Heat-related illness or death can be a serious threat to pets left in vehicles. Even with windows open, temperatures inside cars can reach almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Keep your pet cool by running the air conditioner in hot weather.

Keep a safe distance from wildlife

If you visit areas with a lot of wildlife, keep your dog in a designated area that is closed off (or in a collapsible kennel) or on a leash to avoid any situations where the animal may be stressed or bitten. In the event of an attack, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Follow CDC guidelines and practice social distancing

To prevent COVID-19, keep a distance of at least 6 feet from other people at gas stations and campsites. Dog parks are a bad idea because they’re often crowded. If you are unable to maintain a safe distance, wear a face cloth. Also, keep wipes, disinfectant and gloves in a bag. After use, dispose of personal protective equipment (PPE) properly.

Road Trip Tips for Dogs: Make the most of your journey

The road trip with your dog is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Follow these tips to make the process easier.

Test Drives

Belio suggests that if your pet’s only car trips have been to the vet, the groomer or the dog park, you should “take your dog for long car rides and increase the time they spend in the vehicle each time”. This will allow you to address any problems your pet might experience on longer rides.

Train Your Dog To Love New Places

Belio recommends bringing your dog to three new locations at least a week before you embark on your trip. When you arrive, reward your dog with his favorite treat (or toy), every time he interacts with the environment. This way, they will associate all these new things with their favorite things.

Paws to Prosperity: Coastal Pet Products Success Story 2024

How to Address Anxiety

If your dog is showing signs of anxiety or discomfort, you have several options. Belio says that desensitization and supplements like CBD Oil can help. For desensitization work with your dog to have them eat in the vehicle, play in the vehicle, and go in and out using fun car games.

Take frequent breaks

When you’re on a long trip with your pet, take frequent breaks (every 3 to 4 hours) and include a walk for the dog. Also, make sure that there is plenty of water. Puppies and older pets require more frequent breaks. Belio says, “I do not find exercise important as the car trip is stimulating enough.” You can take a short walk of under 10 minutes for your break.

Fido doesn’t need to wait for you to be ready to stop before he drinks. Keep a non-spill bowl of water by his side, so he can take a drink whenever he wants.

Provide Stimulation

Use a stuffed animal to distract your dog while you drive. This will keep him entertained and prevent him from chewing on seatbelts or other items. Belio suggests packing frozen Kongs or safe dog chews. Play tug or fetch during breaks to keep your dog active.

Give Your Dog Space

Give your dog space to relax and be comfortable, no matter which type of four-wheeler vehicle you use. Avoid cramming your dog into the backseat or stuffing things next to him.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest Articles