Dog Road Trip Essentials: 8 Great Tips for Traveling With A Dog

These dog road trip essentials will help you make sure your pooch is safe and comfortable while traveling with you.

After all, traveling with your dog can fun for both of you!

But before you and Fido hit the road, take some extra care to follow these easy tips.

That way, your road trip with your dog will go more smoothly.

Find out more, below.

dog road trip essentials
Dog Road Trip Essentials

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn the dog road trip essentials for traveling with your dog, including:

  • How to Make Your Car Pet-Friendly
  • Buckle Up, Pup
  • Why the Backseat Is Best
  • Seat Covers And Barriers Are Your (Second) Best Friend
  • Lock Up For Extra Peace Of Mind
  • Add Extra Stops To Your Schedule
  • Focus On Food And Drink
  • Equip Your Vehicle For the Journey Ahead
  • Turn Car Rides Into A Positive Experience 
  • Final Thoughts on Dog Road Trip Essentials
  • Next Steps

Never Get a Barking Ticket: A Guide to Making Your Car Pet-Friendly

Life on the road with your loyal furry friend can be a wonderful bonding experience.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t come without its own set of unique challenges.

Most animals are naturally hard wired for roaming and freedom of movement.

Obviously, that is something road travel prevents them from doing.

Long car rides also expose them to an even broader variety of sights, smells, and new friends.

Understand that all of these sensory experiences can make them more excitable than usual.

So, if you’re planning a road trip through snowy Canada or elsewhere with your four-legged friend, we’ve come up with some useful tips to manage the journey.

Then, you and your pet will have the safest adventure possible.

Buckle Up, Pup!

Keeping your dog contained will be one of the biggest challenges of a pet-friendly road trip.

Most dogs are wandering creatures, especially so when feeling anxious or excited in a car.

Investing in a dog seatbelt or car harness will help keep your pet safely secured in your vehicle while preventing too much movement.

Once clipped in, always check that they have the freedom to turn around, lie down, and sit up comfortably.

The smaller the animal, the more important this kind of restraint is. That’s because smaller dogs can easily squeeze into small gaps.

If you have a little dog, you can invest in a car carrier with built-in seat belt clips, instead.

This way, your dog can see out the window, while staying secure.

Although it might feel strange to restrain your buddy, it will ultimately ensure that you’re both comfortable and protected.

Traveling with Dog2

Why The Backseat Is Best

Keeping your pet anchored to the back seat is the best way to ensure minimal driving distractions.

There is also more space in the back seat area. This allows your pet to experience a more comfortable journey on the road.

If your dog is crate trained, you can pop the crate on the backseat too.

Just ensure that it’s secured with a seat belt or similar clip to keep it from sliding around.

In some cases, having your dog in the front seat is acceptable.

That’s only if they’re very small, well-trained and well traveled.

You know your dog’s personality, so you can gauge what will work for you both.

Seat Covers And Barriers Are Your (Second) Best Friend

Covering your seats is a great way to keep your car clean and make any messes much easier to clean up.

In the event that your pet throws up or leaves a puddle (or worse), you need to be able to deal with it swiftly and without any fuss.

So, plastic seat covers tend to work best for this purpose.

Barriers are another worthwhile investment if you are planning to take more road trips with your pet in future.

A barrier will prevent them from hopping into the front section of the car and give you a greater ability to focus on driving.

However, if your dog is properly restrained, this isn’t necessary.

Lock Up For Extra Peace Of Mind

The last thing you want is for your pet to figure out how to unlock car doors or open windows, whether accidentally or intentionally.

Activate the child lock on the doors your dog has access to and ensure that you lock electric windows too.

A dog that puts its paws on the door can easily press the button to wind down a window, leading to a potentially dangerous situation.

Add Extra Stops To Your Schedule

For your road trip to go as smoothly as possible, you need to provide your pet with regular stops.

This will allow them to stretch their legs, get some fresh air, do their business, and get a bit of mental stimulation.

Regular stops are not just good for your pet, they’re good for you, too!

On any long car ride, short intervals are what keep your energy levels calibrated and meets your basic needs.

Besides, both you and your pet will enjoy taking in the beautiful scenery or meeting some locals.

Focus On Food And Drink

To reduce the chances of your dog using your car as a toilet, you need to develop a structured food and water schedule.

If you place food and water within reach of your pup, they could stress eat or simply pleasure ea.

This will surely prompt untimely calls for a fresh patch of grass.

With an eating schedule, you can better control the pace that your pet consumes food.

And, you can consciously time their meals with your own.

If you can synchronize your regular stops with food and water breaks, it will make life easier and more predictable for you and your pet.

Besides, routine is good for pets. It helps them develop a better sense of time passing and can make them more responsive to your commands.

Both of these are important for long-distance road travel.

Equip Your Vehicle For the Journey Ahead

If you’re going on a long road trip, you need to plan ahead.

This means ensuring that your vehicle maintenance is up to date and that you have the right tires for the weather and terrain you’ll be driving on.

Doing so reduces the chances of a breakdown.

A breakdown could be extremely stressful for you and your pet—especially if you get stuck in a remote area.

It’s also a good idea to keep any emergency numbers handy in case you run into trouble.

You should also pack a basic first aid kit for your pet in case they get injured at a rest stop.

Bring along:

  • Bandages
  • Antiseptic
  • Benadryl
  • Tweezers
  • Saline solution

Having the right supplies on hand can make a huge difference if your pet falls ill, gets stung, or hurts themselves.

Turn Car Rides Into A Positive Experience 

Not all pets are thrilled about car travel.

Some love it, some hate it, and some learn to love it over time.

If road travel with your furry friend is something you’re passionate about, understand it may take some time to get right.

However, you can make the process of travel adjustment much easier by making the experience as positive as possible.

The happier your dog is, the smoother and safer your trip.

That means:

  • Keeping plenty of their favorite treats on hand
  • Naking sure they have everything they need to feel comfortable and safe
  • Giving them affection when they need it most

Show your pet that despite all these changes, you are still here, they are still safe, and everything is going to be fine.

There you go! Now you and your furry friend are ready to explore the world by car.

Final Thoughts on Dog Road Trip Essentials

With the knowledge of these dog road trip essentials, you can better plan your trip with your four-legged friend.

Following all the above tips will not only put you at ease during the trip, but you and your dog will also love each other’s company.

If you found the above ideas helpful, do share with us your suggestions and feedback.

Next Steps

To know more about how to travel with pets, read the articles below, next:

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.