How to Survive a Road Trip with Your Dog

Going on a road trip is great fun, but it’s also a big hassle. You have to prepare for several potential situations, make the most of whatever space you have, and deal with all the arguments and quarrels along the way. When it comes to going on a road trip with your dog, though, things get a little more difficult.

Then again, travelling with your dog is a good way of bonding with them. Some people won’t be happy when they’re on the move unless their dog is with them. It might also be necessary to take the dog along for security reasons or when you’re traveling to a new home for good. 

While travelling with pets in general is a challenge, dogs are especially cumbersome due to their restless and sometimes unsafe behavior. They might hang out of the car window, wander off when you’re at a rest stop, or even jump on the person driving the vehicle. Travelling cases are a nice option, but there might not be one big enough to fit your canine. To minimize the risks involved, you might want to check out these tops on how to survive a road trip with your dog:

1. Plan the Route

Plan the Route

When you’re travelling with a dog on a plane or train, the route is pretty much beyond your control. On a road trip, however, you’d be able to plan around your pet’s needs. 

Their needs include potty breaks, exercise, playing, etc. Fortunately, there are now several rest stops that might have designated dog areas where the pups can relieve themselves, play round, and generally take a break from the stress of traveling. 

2. Take Some Practice Rounds

Take Some Practice Rounds

Some dogs are very anxious when the car starts running, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t take them on a road trip. If you really want your pet to get over this fear and have a relatively peaceful trip, try training them using behavioral techniques before setting out. 

The best way to accomplish is to schedule some short trips before the long one. It might be especially useful if you give them a treat or some other form of positive experience at the end of these trips. 

Make each trip slightly longer than the one before it, and see if you can make the destination super fun for them as well. For instance, drive them to the park, a favorite store, or a friend’s house where they usually have fun. This will help the dog to form positive associations with the car, driving, and long distances. 

3. Check with the Vet

Check with the Vet

You also want to be certain that your dog is healthy enough for a road trip. After all, it’s not ideal for a sick human to travel unless they absolutely have to. With a dog, you won’t realize any underlying symptoms unless you get a complete checkup from their vet. 

A medical professional will also let you know if travel, especially a road trip, will adversely affect your pet. This is also a good time to update any vaccines or preventative for ticks and fleas. While you’re at it, ask about stress-reducing tools and anti-nausea aids that can make the ride go more smoothly. 

4. Pack Properly

Pack Properly

Make a list of everything that will be necessary for your dog on a road trip. Again, consulting with your vet here is a good idea. 

Just a few of the most important items here include: 

  • Their food, preferably in  dry or dehydrated form
  • Feeding and water bowls
  • Clean water
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Medicines
  • A car blanket or rug
  • Waste bags and a scooper for cleaning their waste
  • Wipes
  • Leash

The list above covers the core needs for almost any dog that’s going on a road trip. You might want to add anything that’s specific to your own pet’s needs. With this kind of preparation, you won’t have to make frequent stops in store along the way. 

5. Protect the Dog and the Car

Protect the Dog and the Car

When your dog’s riding in your car, they might need certain safety equipment. One example is a dog hammock or sling, which usually goes in one of the back seats. The addition makes a safe, comfy space where the dog can curl up and feel at home. Such tolls also protect your car by saving the upholstery from fur, claws, and other kinds of messes.  

You may also want to consider a car seat especially for your dog. While this investment could be expensive, it’s probably a must have for those who frequently go on road trips with their small dog. Strapping them into this seat will keep them secure while also providing a fun view of everything outside. 

With this sort of equipment, you’d hopefully be able to drive without distractions or worries. When the dog is calm and peaceful, the driver wouldn’t have to keep checking on them. This serves to make everyone in the car safer than before. 

6. Wear them out

Wear them out

You might already be planning activities to wear your kids and pets down before it’s time for bed. Active, hyped-up bodies will sleep much better once they’re released some of their energy. When the day comes to set out on that road trip, apply the same logic and try to tire out your dog before setting out. 

Taking the dog for a run, to the dog park, or some other place are all decent ideas here. For best results, you might want to ask someone other than the person who’s driving to exercise the dog. You don’t want a tired human driving the vehicle, so see if a friend can take the dog to get that necessary exercise. With a long and strenuous session of walking, running, and playing, your dog will hopefully be able to curl upland rest or even sleep for a major part of the trip. 

7. Have Some Entertainment on Hand

Have Some Entertainment on Hand

A long road trip can become boring for both dogs and humans, so some entertainment options are essential. For the canine, be sure to bring something they can safely chew on. A chew toy will prevent them chewing the seat belts, luggage, shoes, or anything else they can get their paws on. 

Other items to consider include a tug toy to keep them engaged while you’re at a rest stop. Having a tugging session will wear the dog out mentally and physically. Fetch toys and disc toys are also good options, but make sure to use them only in a fenced area. 

Conclusion

Going on a road trip with a dog might require a lot of planning and precautions, but the fun you have will make it all worthwhile. Having a beloved pet around will keep everyone more alert and ready to run around, so don’t be afraid of taking his step. Try out a road trip with your pet next time; you’ll hopefully make many happy memories and have the time of your life.