Planning a Road Trip with Your Dog? Here’s What to Know Before You Go


Road Trip with Dog

Americans just can’t wait to leave that house and get on the road again – and many of us want to bring our dogs along for the ride (no matter if that’s to a National Park or just your dog friendly neighborhood restaurant). If this describes you, here are a few expert tips for taking a pleasant and rewarding road trip with your dog.

Check in With Your Veterinarian

Before hitting the highway, make sure your hound has a clean bill of health. 

Call or schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations. Ask for copies of vaccination records, just in case you need to show proof along the way. Be sure your dog’s tags display your current phone number, and that they are easy to read. If you haven’t already, consider getting your dog microchipped for an extra level of security. 

If you are concerned about dog travel anxiety, ask your vet about dog sedatives for travel, such as Trazadone. Some pet owners swear by herbal calming options such as Skullcap extract or Rescue Remedy flower essence.

Others extol the virtues of calming wraps, often referred to by the brand names of Thundershirt and ThunderCoat due to their effectiveness during thunderstorms (and fireworks displays).

Dog at vet before roadtrip

Check in With Your Mechanic

You’ll also want to make sure your vehicle is ready for a road trip with your dog. 

Ask a trusted mechanic to check out your car to ensure the engine, brakes, and air conditioning are working properly. The last thing you want is your A/C going out while stuck in a traffic jam during a heat wave. Be sure to top up all the fluids, as well as the air in the tires. 

Make Fido Comfortable

Creature comfort is another important consideration. Design a comfortable space in the vehicle where Fido feels safe, perhaps curled up on his favorite blanket. 

If your pup has trouble settling down or likes to poke its head out the window, you may want to consider securing your dog in the car with a leash, harness, crate, barrier, or hammock. (Puppy Panache’s custom leather harnesses are an excellent choice.) 

You’ll also want to schedule frequent stops for exercise, bathroom breaks, snacks, and rehydration. To minimize potential messes from motion sickness, feed Fido a few hours before putting him in the car. Once you’ve loaded up, allow some fresh air in and/or allow him to see out the window. If motion sickness is a persistent problem with your pooch, try some of these preventative measures in the weeks or days prior to embarking on your road trip.

Pack for Success

Water for dog on road trip

While packing for the family, remember to bring along a few dog travel essentials. We’re a fan of getting Fido his own luggage, such as this Mobile Dog Gear Week Away Tote Bag. Whatever type of doggy travel bag you choose, be sure to pack the following items:

  • food;
  • water;
  • a collapsible bowl for each; 
  • plenty of dog waste bags;
  • pet restraints for inside and outside the car (in case you have to fix a flat tire); 
  • a first aid kit with easily accessible medications; 
  • pet wipes and odor eliminator for accidents;
  • a dog towel for drying off after rainstorms and river romps.

In the unlikely event your dog gets lost or separated from you, it helps to have photos to pass around, a flashlight, and an extra leash so the search party can split up to cover more ground, more quickly. 

Road tripping with your dog can be rewarding, as long as you plan in advance for your fur baby’s health, safety, and comfort. 

Dog Road Trip Planner

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