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Dog-Friendly Road Trip Guide [Packing List for YOU]

Updated by Sheryl on Sep 18, 2021

As pet parents, you may have experienced short drives and walks to the nearest Dog Parks with your dogs.  If you are planning a long road trip with your dog, it can be challenging. Your pet companion can get restless, feel insecure, keep hiding in your lap while traveling long distances.

So, before setting out to explore the open roads, you need a dog road trip planner to ensure a wonderful car ride with your pet. Are you excited to have a stressless road trip with your furry friend? Read on till the end to make this venture unforgettable.

a dog sat in the passenger seat
Dog Road Trip Packing List
Tips for Travelling with A Dog
How to Prepare Dog Safety Gear for Road Trips?
How to Get Your Dog Comfortable with Car Rides?
How to Manage Potty Needs of Your Dog during Road Trips?
Top 7 Notes You Must Know on a Road Trips with Your Dogs

Want to make road trips easier with your canine passengers?? Here’s the list of accessories that you’ll need to pack for a road trip with your dog. Some products on the list are worth buying. Once you invest, you can use them in the future also.

1. Feed Him Better
Dog Food
Portable Feeders
Water bottles
2. Take Care of his Health
Pet first aid kit
Travel sickness medication
3. For Safety
Dog seat belts
Non-slip hammock for dogs
Dog car carrier or a crate (Collapsible crate is handy for a hotel stay)
4. Remember to Exercise with Him
Dog toys
Collar and leash
Updated dog tags
5. Other Items
Vaccination records
Dog poop bags
Anti-barking collar (avoid disturbing other people in the hotel)

Whether you’re going out for a few hours’ drive or a six hours’ flight, your pet can be stressful. How will you manage if your pet keeps on peeing or jumping in your lap with fear?  It can be extremely dangerous for both of you.

Therefore, it is crucial to consider a few things before you travel alone with a pet:
Take your dog to a short run or exercise before a road trip. If you have an active dog, take him on a long walk and play with him until he gets tired. By doing so, your furry friend will sleep during most of the journey.
Keep dog food and water on hand. During traveling, dogs get dehydrated soon. To keep them hydrated, make sure to bring water and water bottles along with you. Plus, you should have enough dog food and treats before you start cruising on the highway. Get a small feeder and water bottle now.
Select a dog-friendly destination. Some trails, picnic spots, campgrounds, and Parks don’t allow pets. So, keep in mind to add a dog-friendly location to your dog road trip planner where your pooch can enjoy the same as you do.
Ensure to update your contact info on your dog’s tag. Since there are chances of your dog being missed or getting away. Also, if you are using a microchip, update it.
Provide enough space for your doggy in the car. A dog travel crate or a dog car carrier is the best and secure option since it can be easily attached to a car seat and keeps your pet safe while driving. But you have to make your furry friend comfortable with using a crate in a car. Start training from your home. However, you can also get dog car seats with seat belt attachments or car seat harnesses for small and medium dogs.
Be ready to cope with the travel sickness of your dog. Since pet canines are more prone to get car sicknesses like diarrhea and vomiting. Consult your vet before traveling and make sure that your puppy is healthy. Ask your vet about the recommended medications in case of travel sickness. If your pet has a travel sickness history, feed him 3 to 4 hours before traveling. Keep your dog's medical records and vaccination cards on hand in case of any medical emergency.
dog in a car

Getting proper safety gear is one of the vital accessories to include in your dog road trip planner. Never leave your canine companion loose in the car. It can be distracting for you and may cause an accident.

Smaller dogs feel more relaxed in a car seat specially designed for pets. They can rest and enjoy the window scenes by lying down in these seats’ soft, cozy bed.

For larger dogs, you can use a back seat hammock. It prevents your dog from sliding on the floor and scratching your car seat.

Here’s the top pick for a canine car seat cover: Dog Car Seat Cover Protector Waterproof Scratchproof Nonslip Hammock for Dogs. If you are worried about the sharp claws ruining your car seats, mess, and liquids spill during road trips, this back seat hammock by iPetor is an ideal choice for you.

What We Loved
It is made of Hi-tech scratch proof fiber that provides an impenetrable barrier.
Non-slip rubber backing keeps it in place.
The waterproof top layer is easy to clean.
It comes with 2 free seat belts.

If your dog is not comfortable with car rides, first make him learn how to behave like a passenger. With a bit of practice and preparation, your pet friend will be your best travel companion.

Here are the tips to make your pooch more comfortable with car rides.
For the first time, take a fellow with you to keep a closer eye on your dog.
For every positive response, offer special treats to your pooch as car ride rewards.
Using a travel crate or a dog car carrier will be more comfortable for your dog if you take it to an unfamiliar route. The dog car carrier should be large enough so that your pet can stand up, lay down, and easily turn around in it.
If your fido is uncomfortable in the crate, you can also use a seat belt attachment for your dog’s harness.
For long distances, train your pup to eat in a crate at home. Then gradually, introduce the travel crate in a car.
Place your unwashed t-shirt and blankets in the crate to ensure home-like feelings in the pet car carrier.
Take a shorter and straight route without any twists.
Avoid feeding 3 hours before setting off. It helps to reduce the risk of car sickness.
If your pup doesn’t respond well to your training, keep practicing. Soon, it will develop tolerance and become comfortable with car rides.
sign of taking away the dog poop

You take breaks when traveling long distances. Right? Your dogs also have the exact needs. Several major rest spots have dog areas where your dog can do potty and stretch up.  Usually, smaller dogs need to pee every hour, while bigger dogs can go without peeing for 3 to 4 hours. But the potty habits of your dogs may change during traveling. Therefore, you should take frequent breaks every 1 to 2 hours.

In addition to pee and poop, your dog will need a play break to stretch its legs and regain energy. If you have arrived in a town, select a dog part and play soccer ball with your dog.

While staying at camping grounds, use cue words such as “hurry up” and “go potty.” Join your dog when it is about to go and show it an appropriate place to potty. Don’t allow your dog to mess nearby the tent.

However, keep pet waste disposal bags in your pocket. If your dog is in a hurry to pass the poop, don’t forget to pick it up after done. Dispose of it carefully in the nearest waste bin.

Never leave your dog unattended in a car for a long time during a hot day.
Always be prepared to pick up the poop behind your dog. Don’t leave it on the way since it pollutes waterways.
Your dog can stick its neck out of an open car window. So be aware of it and make sure to keep all the body parts of your buddy inside the window.
You may have limited options for pet-friendly accommodations. So, do research and book earlier to avoid inconvenience at the destinations.
Check for the local rules and regulations about pet-friendly Parks before hitting the road.  
Take covid-19 precautions and follow the safety travel rules recommended by the local state leaders.
You should be aware of the wildlife at your campsite.  Never leave your dog loose because the local wildlife can make it a smart choice for the next meal.
Are road trips bad for dogs?
No, road trips are not bad but can be challenging if your dog is not trained for a car ride.  Some dogs enjoy being on the road, while others may feel insecure. Moreover, a few dogs are also prone to travel sickness. However, you can make long road trips with your dogs smoother and easier with proper planning and training.
How does a dog car seat work?
Dog car seats include attachments that can be fastened securely to the car seat belt system. You can attach your pet’s harness with the provided fittings to the seat. It has an inflated bottom. Your pet can enjoy the window view by sitting from a raised level.

Dogs love adventures just as you do. They can be your awesome travel companions with the right training and preparations. With a proper dog road trip planner, you can make the road travel an unforgettable memory with your canine buddy.

Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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