Planning a dog friendly road trip and not sure what to do? In this post, I’m giving 6 tips to help you navigate a road trip with your dog.
Our dog, Kirby, has had to get used to road trips over the years since my in-laws live about an hour and a half away. He comes with us every time we visit them. The longest drive he has been on so far is around 8 hours in one day. I would say that is pushing it for both dogs and humans honestly.
The tips below have helped us tremendously with Kirby since he is prone to getting carsick and isn’t super fond of car rides.
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Plan to Stop at least every four hours
Depending on your dog’s size and bladder, a good rule of thumb is to stop at least every four hours, but every two hours would be ideal.
If you have kids with you, you are probably stopping that often anyway, but I like to include this tip in case you don’t stop that often on your road trips. Dogs will need to walk around and stretch their legs. It’ll also be good to get them out of the car to avoid them getting anxious.
ask your vet about options if your dog gets car sick
Like I mentioned before, Kirby gets car sick a lot. I share all of our tactics in this post. But for a long road trip, I would ask your vet about medication options that you can have available if your dog is really struggling in the car.
The number one thing that has really helped Kirby from not puking is if one of us is sitting in the backseat with him. This wouldn’t be great if you are traveling solo, obviously, but if there are two of you, have someone sit in the back with the dog. The dog can then sit with you, lean on you and you are there for them, ready with a puke bag if they do end up puking. This will save you a messy car at least!
bring new toys
Bring two new toys they haven’t seen before. One for on the way there, and one for on the way home. Not only does this keep them occupied, but it also associates a positive action with a road trip, which is what you want! You want your dog to get excited to travel. Giving them a new toy to start the trip off and end with it, is a good way to attribute that positive feeling.
crack open a window when not on the highway
This makes things a little more interesting for your dog since they can smell all the new smells. Most dogs absolutely love sniffing the air when they are in the car. We don’t do this on the highway, since the car is moving really fast. Wind or debris can sometimes irritate dogs’ eyes and noses.
make sure to keep them hydrated
Don’t forget to offer your dog water in the car! Fill a small amount in a collapsible bowl so the water doesn’t spill all over the car if he doesn’t drink it.
Another tip is to use an older double-walled steel bottle with a wide mouth that you can pour the water back into
Onto the fun part! You will need a few accessories for your dog to keep them safe and entertained in the car.
A harness: to secure to the dog seatbelt if you aren’t using a hammock.
A Seatbelt: we like this one that comes with the harness that we use. We love this harness for leisure walks as well! We personally don’t use a hammock because it takes up a lot of space. Since one of us usually sits in the backseat with Kirby, the hammock wouldn’t work. We also like to pack things in the backseat with Kirby, like his travel backpack so that his other items are accessible if we need them.
A New Toy: as I mentioned above you want to bring a new toy to make this a positive experience.
A blanket or a bed: their doggy blanket or a travel bed to make their ride more comfortable.
I hope these tips help you on your dog friendly road trip!