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Road Tripping With Dogs: An Essential Guide

We might be nearing the end of summer, but there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of the warm weather and satisfy your need for adventure. What better way to enjoy a vacation than with your loyal four-legged companion? If you want to take your pet along with you for a summer road trip, you’re in good company. But, there’s a few essential processes and items you won’t want to forget to ensure your dog’s comfort and safety on the road. Use this guide as your checklist before heading out on your end of season road trip.

Do your research.

Driving with your dog is undoubtedly simpler than flying or traveling by train, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter some hiccups. First, ensure the hotel or Air bnb you’re staying in allows pets. Next, double check that the attractions, restaurants and events you plan to attend along the way are pet-friendly. 

Arguably the most enticing thing about road trips are the places and people you meet along the way. Check out fun, pet-friendly places throughout the nation on Trips With Pets.

Finally, write down a few veterinary offices along your route just in case. If your dog falls ill, or something happens, you don’t want to be scrambling to find somewhere to treat him.

Pack your gear.

Just like people, pets need their own gear on a road trip. First, protect your vehicle and keep your dog comfortable during travel with a sturdy Pet Seat Cover. They’re easy to install, fit virtually any car or SUV, and provide a slip-proof surface for your dog to get cozy for the long drive.

Here are some other essentials to pack:

  • Collapsible food and water bowls, with enough food to last the length of the trip
  • Collar, leash, harness, and tags with updated contact information
  • Vet records to present to hotels or other accommodations
  • Items to keep your dog entertained, such as toys and treats. Ensure you give your pet treats that are safe to chew on while moving when you can’t keep an eye on him 24/7
  • A carrier if your dog is used to traveling in one
  • Dog first aid kit

Plan for exercise breaks.

It’s easy to just focus on driving and getting somewhere when you’re alone. However, with your dog in tow, you’ll need to plan for bathroom and exercise breaks. You know your dog best, so work around his bathroom and exercise schedule. Make it fun by finding dog parks or hikes along the way. Once your dog is tired, it will make it easier for him to sleep and recover while you make more headway on your road trip.

Stick to his routine as much as possible.

Despite the excitement of being on the road and trying new things, do your best to stick to your pet’s regular schedule. Naturally, it will be modified on vacation, but make sure he eats the same type and amount of food, still gets plenty of water, and exercises throughout the day. This will ease the potential for anxiety and tummy troubles. 

Be aware of your surroundings.

Different parts of the country have different threats, such as wildlife, pests, ticks, fleas, and weather. Be sure to provide the necessary pest control for your pet and ensure you bring gear that is suitable for the weather. This could mean rain coats for the Pacific Northwest, heavy-duty heartworm, flea and tick medication for the Midwest, and protective booties for the intense heat of the south. 


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