Traveling is something so many of us love to do. Adding to that, getting to bring your dog on the trip with you can make it even better. While bringing your dog with you on your trip can be amazing, there are some important things to keep in mind-and pack! I have done my fair share of road trips with my dog, Lacy and have learned many things with each trip. This post will discuss all things every dog mom (and dad) needs to know about traveling with dogs in car long distance.
Getting Ready for your trip- everything you don’t want to forget
- Make sure your pup has been on a few short car rides before your big road trip. You don’t want your dog’s first time being in the car the day you start your long trip. This will create unnecessary anxiety and stress for your dog. Start taking your dog on short trips (even if that means a trip to the Starbucks Drive-Thru) before your big travel day. This will allow your dog to become more comfortable in the car by doing this routinely.
- Pack a bag of essential items for your dog. This will look different for everyone but make sure to create a list of everything your dog will need on the trip (on the road and at your destination). This will include things like:
- collar with tags
- waste bags
- water bottles
- collapsible bowl
- dog food/treats
- vaccine records
- food and water bowl
- chew toys
- cleaning supplies such as paper towels, pet spray, etc.
Click the link to get a free printable travel essentials checklist of everything you will want to pack for your pup! —->The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Dogs in the Car Checklist
- Research dog-friendly hotel/AirBNB Reservations. This is so important to do beforehand. Many hotels and AirBNBs are not pet-friendly so make sure to research places that are pet-friendly before you go on your trip. There are websites online such as www.hotels.com that will allow you to filter your search so you don’t waste your time looking at places that won’t allow your pup.
*TIP- If you happen to be staying in an AirBNB and you are unsure, I have found luck in just messaging the host. Many hosts have given me the “okay” to bring my dog even if they didn’t advertise it.
- Motion Sickness Medication from your Veterinarian. This will not apply to every dog, but it is a lifesaver if your dog is prone to motion sickness. My dog, Maverick gets sick easily on road trips and there is nothing worse than having to pull over to clean the mess at a random gas station (especially when you have 6+ more hours of driving left to do). If I am planning to take a long road trip with my dogs, I have asked their veterinarian if there is any medication they can take to help with motion sickness. Ask your vet for advice if your dog is the same.
On the Road- tips on traveling with dogs in car long distance
- Do not allow your dog to free-roam in the car. It is not a good idea to allow your dog to walk around the car freely. I use crash-safe crates any time I am going on a trip with my dogs. Make sure it is the appropriate size for your dog as well. This also allows them to have a safe space where they can feel secure. I always put my dogs’ favorite blankets and pillows to make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
- Take Frequent Bathroom Breaks. It is important to stop and let your dog use the bathroom every 2-3 hours. This will help to prevent accidents/messes in the car.
- Use a collapsible water bowl for an easy way to let your dog drink water. I don’t know if it is just my dogs but they get incredibly thirsty on road trips. A collapsible water bowl is so convenient and easy to use. Once your done with it, just fold it back and put it away. Just be sure to not give too much- or the bathroom breaks might be a lot more frequent.
- Give your dog a treat filled toy (kong) to bust the boredom. Just like you, your dog gets bored on long trips. I like to give my dogs kongs filled with natural peanut butter (freeze it to make the peanut butter last longer) to help keep them busy.
- Make sure to have cleaning supplies easily accessible. This is a “just in case” your dog gets a little car sick or has an accident in their crate. You never know when you will have to pull over to clean up. Trust me, if you travel enough with your dogs, it will happen. It is a good idea to have wipes or paper towels and other cleaning essentials in an accessible place.
Questions to Keep in Mind
- Did you budget the extra costs for traveling with your dog(s)? Most likely, you will have to pay some pet fees during your trip (hotel, AirBNB, etc.). Make sure to research and budget in those extra fees so there are no unwanted surprises.
- What is the total amount of time you will be in the car? Keep in mind, being in the car can be rough on your pup. Consider breaking your trip into a couple days if your time in the car exceeds 10+ hours. Remember to take bathroom and stretch breaks every 2-3 hours.
- How can I keep my dog safe and comfortable? Does your dog have a favorite toy you can bring? Does your pup sleep with a blanket at night? Bring anything you think could lower any stress and anxiety for your pup.
- How pet-friendly is your destination? Sure, you can bring your dog with you as long as the place you are staying allows it. But can you bring your dog to restaurants, patios, beaches in the area? Will your dog be able to tag along with you anywhere outside of the hotel? My advice is to research dog-friendly places before you book your trip.
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