5 Tips for Traveling by Car With Your Dog

by Anne-Marie Smith
traveling by car with your dog

When traveling by car with your dog for an extended road trip, there are a few things to keep in mind when your beloved four-legged friend is riding shotgun. Having a plan to keep your dog comfortable and safe while traveling will allow him to enjoy the adventure and keep your stress level down. And when you are both relaxed, the time spent together will only further strengthen your bond.

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Here are 5 essential tips for traveling by car with your dog

1. Acclimate your dog to riding in the car

Let him explore the car, observe the windows opening and closing, get used to seeing the wipers on, and the sounds of doors closing, the radio, and the horn. When your dog is used to hearing and seeing these car characteristics, they will be less likely to overreact to the stimuli while you are driving. Some dogs are prone to car sickness; begin with short rides, and work up to longer drives. If car sickness is still a problem, cut off feeding time at least six hours before departure and keep the car cool with AC if possible. Always talk to your vet before administering motion sickness medication.

2. Pack a doggie travel bag

Be sure to bring their favorite toys, a bed or blanket, water and food dishes, lots of treats, and cleaning supplies (accidents happen). A leash and collar with a pet ID tag should be at the top of the packing list. Depending on where you are going and for how long the trip will be, consider bringing along your dog’s vaccine and health certificates as well as any medication. And don’t forget a supply of dog waste bags!

3. Plan your route

Having a preplanned route to your destination allows you to locate places to stop for a rest every few hours. Stopping often allows your dog a chance to get outside and move around. Many travel stops have a designated dog area that is perfect for you and your dog to stretch your legs and meet some new friends. Avoid leaving your dog unattended in the car for any length of time.

4. Book lodging in advance

Try to book lodging ahead of time to guarantee you and your dog have a place to sleep for the night. Ask the hotel or establishment about their pet policies so there are no surprises upon arrival. Some hotels have size and breed restrictions in place.

5. Prepare for emergencies

Check online for local emergency vet locations along your route and at the final destination. In the event of a medical emergency, having these local vet numbers will be a real time-saver!

Final thoughts

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or heading across the country, when traveling by car with your dog, a little forethought and preparation, you and your dog will be ready to create new memories and experience adventures together!

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