How to Have a Safe and Fun Road Trip with Your Dog

How to Have a Safe and Fun Road Trip with Your Dog


Road trips are fun but also very stressful and hectic. Add a pet into the mix, and you may lose your mind sooner than expected. Going on a road trip with pets, kids, or both...

If you are thinking about vacationing, then the chances you and your family are going on a road trip are pretty high. Of the 208 million Americans planning to travel in the summer of 2022, 80% revealed they would be taking a road trip.

The number of people travelling for vacation would be even higher since 37% of all dog owners reveal forgoing a vacation to stay home with their dog. Additionally, 38% of dog owners have travelled by car rather than fly to accommodate their furry friend.

Road trips are fun but also very stressful and hectic. Add a pet into the mix, and you may lose your mind sooner than expected. Going on a road trip with pets, kids, or both takes a lot of patience and planning.

It is not impossible to go on a safe and fun road trip with a furry friend, given that you prepare for it appropriately. Yes, it requires much work, but it is all worth it.

How to Have a Safe and Fun Road Trip with Your Dog

Top Tips to Follow When Going on a Road Trip with Your Dog

Here are a few things you must consider when planning to travel with your dog:

Prepare your Dog

Make sure your dog is physically and mentally prepared for the road trip. Even a short road trip, less than 500 miles, can be stressful for your dog if they are not appropriately prepared. Sitting for long periods goes against their nature.

Even if you plan on making frequent stops so your dog can stretch their legs and move about, you must know the exact length of time your dog can comfortably sit and be on the road. Dogs already used to travel in a car tend to have a higher stamina for sitting.

Try to practice for the journey before you undertake it. This will help your dog to increase their stamina for travelling in the car and help them get used to the idea of travelling by road.

Plan the Journey Carefully

Planning is a necessary component of getting to your destination safely. Most places have multiple routes you can take to get to. Survey and research all possible routes and choose one that is suitable. The route should be short but must have plenty of stops as well.

If you plan to spend the night somewhere on your way to your destination, ensure the place accommodates pets. Confirm if they allow dogs and cats  so you can be sure. You should also book in advance to avoid any hassle once you arrive.

Consult your Dog’s Vet

Get your dog checked out. The vet must ascertain that your dog is fit and healthy for the road trip. The vet may even prescribe medication to help keep your dog calm so they won’t suffer too much during the trip.

Be sure to have your dog’s vaccination updated. Keeping a copy of the vaccination schedule with you on the trip is better to be safe. Also, pack a first-aid kit specifically for your dog. Remember to keep all their medications, the ones your dog takes regularly, and extra ones for particular occasions, like anti-allergy meds.

Requesting your dog’s vet to remain available on the phone for the trip is better. This way, you can call them and get a consultation in an emergency.

Create a Comfortable Space

Comfort is critical to a fun and safe road trip for your dog. They need enough space to lie down, move around, and stretch. Try to rent a bigger car so everyone can be accommodated comfortably along with the luggage.

Aside from the space being big enough, it should also be inviting so your dog is happy to spend a couple of hours sitting or lying in it. Place your dog’s usual bed and other accessories, like pillows and blankets, or, buy a suitable dog car seat so they feel at home even while travelling.

You can also fill the space with your dog’s favorite toys to occupy themselves while on the road. Being in a car is very different from what dogs generally experience, and it is necessary to ensure that sitting in the car does not feel like a drastic change.

Ensure your Dog is Restrained

Your dog needs to be restrained, and you can use special seats with belts to help keep your dog in place. Just like people are required to wear seat belts, and babies are supposed to sit in car seats, dogs must also be placed inside car seats designed for them.

Smaller dogs may also be kept in a crate. But the crate must also be tied down so it is not jerked or tossed around. Just fill your dog’s crate with their belongings and comfortable bedding so they can lay inside as they would back home.

Being strapped in might be uncomfortable for your dog, but it is necessary to balance safety and comfort. Travelling on the road is risky, so it is best to ensure your dog is secure in their place.

Pamper your Dog

Be sure to pack your dog’s favorite food and snacks. Keep them hydrated, and remember to keep them motivated by giving them treats and words of encouragement. Food and drink will calm your dog down if they feel anxious or stressed during the drive.

Be careful about overfeeding them as it may lead to an upset stomach. You also do not want to risk it as some dogs get nauseous due to motion sickness, just like people.

Interact with your dog by calling their name and talking to them; it will lessen the anxiety of travelling. If your dog likes to listen to music, put on some music. Anything to distract and entertain them so travelling doesn’t feel like a chore.

Take Care of their Bathroom Needs

Talking about food, we must also address the issue of your dog having to relieve themselves during the trip. Frequent stops are necessary, not just so your dog can move around and stretch its legs but also so it can answer the call of nature. Doing this is less likely to cause digestive issues  in your dog.

Keep poop bags, wet towels, and other cleaning products nearby, just in case. There is no telling that you may have to deal with an accident, so it is better to remain prepared. You want to avoid completing the rest of the road trip in a stinky car.

Make your Dog Wear a Collar

You can never be too cautious. You want to avoid losing your dog in an unknown area. This is why it is necessary to keep a close eye on your dog when you stop somewhere and let it run about. Places like gas stations and public parks are notoriously crowded. It is dangerous for your dog to roam unsupervised in an unfamiliar area.

Ensure your dog wears a collar with a tag  with all their identification details. Also, add your contact information for extra safety. It is better to keep your dog close by at all times. Eat in the car if an establishment does not allow pets, rather than leaving your dog alone.

Tripping with Your Dog

A road trip is challenging yet fun; doing it with your dog can be even more rewarding. It can be a real bonding experience for you and your dog. Navigating the route and dealing with unforeseen circumstances is stress-inducing. But you can significantly alleviate that stress by being prepared.

Do your research and over-prepare for the trip before you leave. It is better to over-pack than to find yourself in a place you hardly know, missing an essential item. Pay particular attention to the things your dog needs and requires. Please make a list and check it off as you collect each item.

All dogs should be trained to travel in a car, and you never know when you may need to take a car ride with your dog. For example, some emergencies necessitate that your dog travel by car. A medical emergency or escaping from a catastrophe, like a house fire, are just some instances when your dog must get in a car.

The good thing is that dogs are very flexible and easy to train. A little effort on your end will be all it takes. Train your dog to travel in a car before a planned road trip. Start small so they can be at ease when travel for a road trip is required. Travelling by car should not be a novelty for your dog; it should be part of their everyday life.

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