5 Essential Tips on How to Road Trip with a Dog

We’re not sure if we’ve said this yet, but you deserve a holiday. After this year, we all do! And what better way to go on vacation than with your furry best friend? Here’s how to road trip with a dog.

The December holidays are just around the corner, and if you’re planning a road trip with your best furry-pal then you need to make sure your car is fully prepped for the trip. Just like you can’t leave without your phone charger so your phone can keep the road-trip playlist going or like you may need a couple stops to stretch your legs and use the bathroom, there are a couple of things your pup needs too!

Don’t worry though, we’ve created an extensive doggy travel list that will ensure you and your pup travel not only in style but in comfort, too!

How to Road Trip with a Dog

Whether you’re heading out on a long trip or just an hour or two away, you need to make sure your dog is comfortable. Just like some humans aren’t the best passengers, pups can be the same which is why you should make sure you’re prepared so everyone is comfortable and ready for the journey.

1.     Plan your route

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Make sure you know exactly where you’re going, this is not only important for safety reasons in case your car breaks down, but your pup needs a couple of breaks along the way. You need to do your research to ensure that the places to stop en-route are pet-friendly.

Plan to stop at least every 3-4 hours for about 15-20 minutes so your dog can stretch their legs, have something to drink and “use the bathroom”.

2.     Get a check-up at the vet before you leave

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Before any trip, make sure your pooch is in good health before you go. Head to the vet so they can give your pup a once over. Your pets will be in a whole new environment so it’s a good idea to make sure their vaccinations are up to date. While you’re at the vet, stock up on some additional medication (if needed) and food.

And while we’re on the topic, make sure you have quality pet insurance that’ll help with the cost of these kinds of vet visits. We love Oneplan Pet Insurance because they front you with the funds BEFORE your vet visit with their Onecard and App (and they also let you keep your favourite vet!)

3.     Try some practise routes

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Not everyone is comfortable in the car, even your pets. You may find they’re a little wobbly (they need to earn their car legs) or nauseous. Some pups have never even travelled in a car so before you head out on a long journey, try a few practice drives with your fur-baby.

Take them to a dog park or even for a trip around the neighbourhood so they can learn to feel comfortable and well-adjusted to the car.

Discover: 6 tips for picking the best pet boarding kennels for your fur baby

4.     Packing for your pets

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It’s not just who that’s going to need a suitcase full of your essential items, your dog needs one too. Have a look at what the weather might be where you’re headed so that you know if you need to take any extra blankies.

Here are some other essential items you might need:
  • A pet safety harness or carrier crate for the car or a seat protector
  • Water bowl
  • Bottled water (just in case you miss a stop or there isn’t one for a while)
  • Leash
  • Collar with an ID tag or make sure you’ve updated your pup’s microchip
  • Old towel
  • Wet wipes
  • Pet-friendly first aid kit
  • Medication (if necessary)
  • Health records
  • Bedding
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Enough food for the entire trip (plus an extra day’s worth for emergencies)
  • Waste bags (to pick up after your dog)
  • A brush and pet shampoo

These are just a few items to keep your pooch happy while you’re in the car and while you’re away.

5.     Spot the signs of motion sickness

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Just like humans, dogs can get car sick. Now and then, keep an eye on your fur-baby while you’re driving to make sure they aren’t displaying any signs of motion sickness. Look out for:

General unease, listlessness or restlessness

  • Yawning
  • Whining, crying or yelping
  • Smacking lips or drooling
  • Vomiting

If your pup is car sick, open a window for them to get some fresh air and pull over where it is safe to do so.

A few other tips to consider

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Keep your dog entertained

Make sure you have some toys in the car to keep your pooch entertained and happy throughout the drive. A bored pup can be a dangerous pup as they may try to get you to play with them while you’re driving.

Take frequent breaks

As we’ve mentioned, make sure you let your doggo stretch their legs and have a bathroom break as often as they may need. You might want to push on through to get to your destination as quickly as possible but this isn’t the best option for your furry friend.

Pet-friendly first aid kit

Keep a stock of essential medical items that could be beneficial if anything had to happen. Create a pet-friendly first aid kit dedicated to your pup. In this kit include items like:

  • Gauze
  • Tweezers
  • Hydrogen peroxide (for cleaning wounds)
  • A penlight
  • Antiseptic
  • A first aid book for pets (this can be helpful in situations where you’re not sure what to do and you can’t get to the vet soon)

Enjoy your road trip with your pooch and create some unforgettable memories! Make sure you are both safe, well-rested and hydrated throughout the trip.

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