Road Trips with Your Dog

Article written by Amber Kingsley, guest blogger.

Taking a long road trip by car with your family is one of those activities that seem to be part of the American summer. There’s nothing that can quite match that feeling of the family piling into the car and exploring all kinds of areas.

If you’re going to take this type of trip, and you plan to be gone for more than a day, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to arrange for care for the family dog. Some people will choose to arrange for a pet sitter. Others will find a kennel for the dog to visit. Or you may choose to have the dog go with you on the road trip.

Road Trip

If your plans involve taking the family dog on the long road trip, you may have to change the way you think about the trip. It’s a little tougher to impulsively jump into the car and start driving if the dog is going along. As shown in the accompanying infographic, planning for the five items listed here will ensure you and your pet will have a great road trip! Road T

  1. Food. The absolute last thing you want to have happen when taking your dog on a family road trip is some sort of digestive problem for the animal, especially if it induces vomiting, then you have a much bigger problem.  Take your dog’s regular dog food with you, and feed it as close to its normal meal time as possible to help keep its digestive system on track. Don’t introduce a new pet food while on the trip, as you really don’t know how the unknown ingredients in the dog food will affect your pet. 
  2. Identification. Should your dog get loose while on the road trip, you’ll be glad you made sure your dog had up-to-date ID tags before you left home. Make sure the dog’s collar fits snuggly too, so it can’t wiggle out of the collar while on leash, as the animal could be spooked while in an unfamiliar place during the road trip. 
  3. Lodging. If you’re going to be staying overnight on your road trip, you’ll want to do a little planning to find somewhere that will allow you to keep the pet in your room. Many hotels allow this now, although some limit the size of the dog. Consider a pet-friendly bed and breakfast too! 
  4. Sleeping. Some dogs may struggle to sleep in a strange place, so bring along things Road Trip and dogsthat it sleeps with at home, such as a favorite toy or blanket. Bring a crate if your dog is crate-trained, and the dog can feel safe in the crate while in the car as well as while in the hotel. 
  5. Stopping. If you like to drive eight or 10 hours straight while on a road trip with no breaks, taking your dog on the trip is probably going to be a bad idea. Your dog needs to get out of the car and stretch its legs every few hours at the minimum. So plan ahead for dog parks, rest stops, or other areas where you can exercise the dog for 10-20 minutes every few hours, and the trip will go much more smoothly. And if you’re going to leave the car for a long period of time, don’t leave the dog alone in the car, as it can begin suffering from heatstroke within 15 minutes on some days. 

Testing for Car Tolerance

Many dogs love riding in the car with the family, but not all tolerate it well. If you’re unsure whether your dog likes riding in the car, take a few short trips to see how the dog performs. Problems like trembling, whimpering, and drooling can indicate a dog that is car sick and could vomit. Don’t take a long car ride before learning how your dog handles the car, or you may end up dealing with the same disgusting digestive problems I mentioned earlier!

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Amber is a journalist and social media manager in South California.  She is lifelong pet lover and owner, and she will be contributing insightful articles from time to time.

Thank you Amber for contributing to our blog.  I am sure many pet lovers are planning trips now, and your article will be very helpful.

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