Le Wild Explorer
Road Trips Travel Travel Tips

10 Tips for Your Next Road Trip with Dog

road trip with a dog

For many pet owners, their dog is part of the family. If you take your dog on rides, to hikes, or even to the dog park your dog might be ready for a road trip. There are a few things you’ll want to consider before tripping with your dog to ensure a great experience. Here are my 10 tips for your next road trip with dog.

road tripping with your dog in car mountains

This post contains affiliate links. If you click my link, I make a small percentage (at no extra cost to you). This helps me keep the travel blog running.

Road Trip with Dog Tips

Before the Dog Road Trip

Get your dog ready for the road by taking them along on a car ride. As your dog gets used to rides and day trips they will be more prepared for long road trips. Test out a seat harness for your dog. If you have a small dog then a dog car seat might be a better option. And if you want to protect your car from dog hair and anything else your dog may track in opt for a protective cover for the back seat.

woman and dog on hike near lake

Your Dog’s Identification and Vaccination Records

Be sure to have current tags on your dog. Have your dog wear the collar with a tag throughout the entire trip. If they are microchipped make sure all their information is updated in the database. Also, bring along their vaccination records in case they need to get boarded for the day. This is required at most facilities.

Activities for Both You and Your Dog

Research some dog-friendly activities along your route. Dog parks, some state parks, and many beaches are dog-friendly. Have an idea of some activities you and your dog can both enjoy together. There are also lots of outdoor wineries and breweries that are dog-friendly!

dog on kayak
Hiking with Your Dog

Check to see if the trails you’d like to visit allow dogs. Some trails do but may require your dog to be on a leash.

woman and dog outdoors on dirt road with mountains in background

Pet-Friendly Hotels

Search for pet-friendly hotels in advance. There’s a feature on Booking.com, Airbnb, and many other hotel websites that allow you to filter pet-friendly hotels. Some of these hotels will have an added fee and others may even require a deposit. Once you decide where you’d like to stay call the hotel to confirm if there are extra fees before booking.

Water and Meals

Try to keep your dog with access to water. At each stop, try to give them some water and if possible have water inside the car in case they need it.

Keep to your dog’s eating schedule as much as possible. Have a collapsible bowl you can easily take with you. Also, research some dog-friendly restaurants along your route. Even if there is a patio the restaurants may not allow dogs so it’s best to either check their website or call to confirm.

woman walking dog in small town with yellow aspen trees


Take your dog’s favorite treats along. Use positive reinforcement as your dog demonstrates good behavior on the road. My dog’s faves are Merrick Power Bites and she loves Greenies Dental Treats.

woman giving treats to dog at park

The Car

Prep a comfortable space for your dog. They want room to move around just like humans. If possible, bring along their dog bed or favorite blanket so they have a comfy seat.

woman and dog parked on side of road with snow capped mountains in background

Car Breaks

When you stop for gas or to use the restroom don’t forget that your dog will probably also need to go. Stopping to use the restroom on a road trip with a dog isn’t too bad. Walk your dog over to a patch of grass or an appropriate area to relieve themselves. Have doggie poo bags with you and don’t forget some sanitizer for yourself. After your dog has done its business don’t forget to take a break yourself.

If you’re traveling solo and don’t want to leave your dog in the car opt to stop at a rest stop. My dog doesn’t like being left alone so I took her with me every single time. You may have to do this if you’re on a solo road trip with a dog.

woman and dog looking at map on parked car


If your dog isn’t used to sleeping anywhere other than home then keeping them comfortable is key. Either bring along their dog bed or something for them to lay on that they are used to. My dog, Pixie will sleep on a pillowcase and I will bring this along so she can lay on it. She smells it and knows this is where she sleeps.


Whether you’re taking long road trips with dogs or a day trip I hope this helps you with your next dog road trip. Enjoy!

Follow more of my adventures on Instagram and be sure to check out my Instagram Reel with the behind-the-scenes of my trip with my dog.

Pin it for later!