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.
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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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