It's gratifying to travel and create new adventures with your canine companion. One of our favorite dog-friendly activities begins with packing our vehicle with dog essentials and heading out for a drive. Sometimes there is a planned destination, and sometimes it’s an impromptu outing with our pup. There are additional considerations when road tripping with your dog. With a bit of planning, your road trip adventure can be just as enjoyable for your pup as it is for you!
Update Dog Tags
If your information has changed since your dog became part of your family, you may want to ensure their dog tags are updated. Double-check that your dog's microchip information (if they have one) is correct, as well. Sometimes being in a new environment can spook a dog, and updated information is essential should they somehow get loose.
Start with a Shorter Trip
If your dog is new to extended car trips, start with a shorter trip. Plan a car ride that ends with a positive experience, such as:
- Ride to a dog park
- Visit your favorite pet store (someday soon)
- Drive to a hiking trail
Your pup will quickly associate car rides with eventual pleasure, and those positive associations will transform them into happy riders. Don't forget to shower them with treats and other positive reinforcement.
Pack a Doggy Essentials Bag
It is smart idea to travel with your pup's essentials, even on shorter car rides. Have a designated bag or backpack ready to go for last-minute road trips.
Here are some items you may want to include:
- Water bottle
- Chew toys
- Fetch toys
- Food and water bowl
- Shampoo and brush
- Doggy bags
- Iron Doggy™ Hands-Free Leash
Planning ahead and being prepared will prevent you from making an unexpected stop at the pet store because you forgot an essential item.
Create a Comfortable Space
When you pack your favorite travel neck pillow or comfy blanket for your road trip, don't forget about your dog's comfort. Lay down a soft blanket or towel and bring a favorite dog toy. Durable chew toys are best for car rides. Make sure your pup has enough room to stretch and rollover on the long car ride. Some road trippers recommend using a hammock car seat cover. The more comfortable they are, the better they will behave.
Map Out Dog Parks
After several hours in the car, your dog will be ready to release some energy. Dogs can get stiff and experience cramps from sitting or laying for an extended time. When dogs "hold it" for too long, they can develop urinary tract infections. Plan to stop at a few dog parks along the way for some puppy playtime. You may want to refer to this website to find local dog parks during your travels. Some rest areas also have small dog parks on site.
The Duty Part
Consider traveling with a supply of "doggy bags" so that you can easily clean up after your pupper. Dogs will continue to be welcome in public places (as long as we all do our part). 🙂
Road trip adventures create memories and strengthen the bond with your pup(s). Now that you're fully prepared roll down the windows, feel the wind, and have an awesome excursion with your favorite four-legged friend!