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Plan A Perfect Road Trip With Your Dog With This Guide

road trip with your dog

First time tackling a long drive with your dog? We’re here to help! No one likes to be holed up on the road for hours on end, especially not our pups, but with this guide we’re helping you make a long road trip easier!

Get Your Dog Comfy On The Road

First, you’ll want to get your dog comfortable with being in a vehicle, especially if they’re still a puppy, before embarking on a major road trip. Increase your trips across town to short day trips and build it up from there. Observe your dog’s behavior in the car. Are they nervous? Are they restless and excessively panting? Practicing car rides is a good way to gauge how comfortable your dog will be on a long road trip. If you feel your dog is too anxious, then you may need to consider some other options.

Give Them Their Own Space In The Car

Avoid over packing your car and leaving little room for your pup to move around. Being in the car for hours is already uncomfortable as it is, so be sure to designate an area that’s roomy enough for them. We recommend equipping the space with a dog bed, seat belt, seat covers, and their favorite toys or chews. You may also opt for a collapsible dog crate that you can use in the car and/or at the destination.

Practice Positive Reinforcement

You’ll have an easier time road tripping with a well-behaved dog so we encourage you to practice positive reinforcement to establish desired behavior. Reward your pup when they obey a command or exhibit good behavior to help them associate long car rides as a positive experience. Wearing out your dog with plenty of exercise before the car ride will also make them more calm and obedient!

Map A Dog-Friendly Route

If your trip is flexible, turn the road trip into a vacation experience rather than a means of getting from point A to point B! Make stops at dog parks or hiking trails, and let your dog take a breather every hour or two. The less comfortable or experienced your dog is on the road, the more stops it may require. Don’t neglect their needs and remember that exercise, access to water, and potty breaks are crucial for them.

Do Not Leave Them Unattended

You’ll never know what can happen so it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Whether they are in the car or wandering around a trail or dog-friendly space, always keep an eye on your dog. Leaving your dog in the car, especially in the summer, can be dangerous.

Pack The Essentials

We’ve posted an article about 11 essentials you need in a doggy travel bag which is a must read if you’re traveling via car or airplane. We also recommend bringing along a piece of home that will be comforting for your dog (e.g. a favorite toy or a sweater with your scent on it).

Dog-Proof Your Car

Chances are your car will get messy and that is okay! Dogs will be dogs, so what you’ll need to do is dog-proof your car before the trip. We recommend protective seat covers that are easy to wipe, along with a small portable vacuum if you’re having to deal with excessive shedding, sand, dirt, etc. Quick-dry towels, grooming wipes, and a paw cleaner will also come in handy.

Stay at Dog-Friendly Hotels

Will you be making overnight stops while on your road trip? Have you found a dog-friendly accommodation at your destination? Booking dog-friendly hotels will make your travel experience much more enjoyable. With Romingo, you can find the perfect hotels that waive all pet fees, and provide beds, bowls, and treats for your dogs among other perks.

Visit the Vet and Be Up To Date

Make sure your dog is in good health before your journey, which includes current vaccinations and updated dog tags and microchip information. To be safe, bring along your dog’s vaccination records as well.

Let us know if we’ve missed any tips on how to plan a successful road trip with your dog. Were these tips helpful? Comment below! Don’t forget to sign up here to get the latest on dog-friendly travel news and updates.

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