Road Trip With a Dog? Remember These Tips to Pull it off Successfully

When Stacy’s parents dropped her off at college, her parents immediately went from sad parent mode to vacation mode. The nest is empty and they won’t stay around moping. They’re on for a road trip, just Mom, Pop and their dog, Rover.

“Empty nest” parents are hardly the only ones taking off on a trip with the beloved canine pet. Sometimes, the entire family decides to create amazing summer vacation memories by hitting the road. That includes the dog.

But going on a trip with people is different from taking a four-legged companion. If you want to take your dog with you, make sure to read up on these tips to make sure that you all enjoy the experience.

1. Get in touch with your vet before the trip.

It’s the perfect time to get Buddy checked up. He’ll need to have his vaccinations updated. He may even need some new ones depending on your destination. His medical record and whatever meds he may need must be packed as well.

2. Plan the route.

Humans are rarely comfortable spending extended periods cooped up inside a vehicle. Dogs are no different. You have to schedule regular breaks to give him time to relieve himself and walk around. Ideally, there should be a 15-minute break every 4 hours.

3. Check the weather report.

More than looking out for natural disasters, you should also be aware if the weather will be colder. If your dog isn’t used to the weather, you might need to pack additional clothing for the dog, too.

4. Make sure the accommodation is pet-friendly.

Not all hotels accept pets, so check in advance if you’ve booked one that does. Some questions you need to ask about are:

  • pet policies
  • breed restrictions
  • rules
  • fees

5. Arrange for dog care at the destination.

You can’t possibly be with your pet at all times. If for example you’re attending a wedding, or even if you go to the beach and decide to go snorkeling, your dog could be left alone for a period of time. If you know for sure that this is a possibility, then you have to arrange for someone to look after him while you’re away.

6. Crate the dog.

While spending quality time with the dog inside the car sounds fun, it’s not the safest for you or your pet. The safest way for dogs to travel in any vehicle is inside a safety-tested, crash-tested crate. The crate can double as sleeping area in wherever you eventually decide to spend the night.

7. Pack a separate bag for your dog.

You really don’t want your things mixing up with your pet’s so pack a separate bag for him, too. Some of the things you need to consider bringing are:

  • food
  • food bowl
  • water, water bottle, water bowl
  • toys for chewing
  • toys for fetching
  • protective clothing
  • medication
  • blanket
  • dog towel
  • shampoo and brush
  • poop bags
  • treats

8. Carry an updated dog ID.

Your dog can get lost during the trip. Ensure he’s found as soon as possible by keeping his tag/ID updated with your phone number and other emergency numbers.

9. Make sure your dog is prepared.

Preparing for a trip isn’t the sole responsibility of humans. The pet dog must also be acclimatized properly so he doesn’t fall prey to car sickness.

10. Keep your routine, where possible.

If you can, keep the same routine you have at home. If you walk Fido every morning at 6, then try to do the same even while on vacation. It will ease the dog’s anxieties over the new surroundings.

Now that you know what to do, be ready for some fun times, for both the 2-legged and 4-legged parties to the trip!