How to Road Trip with a Dog | Let the Adventure Begin

All dog owners at some point have experienced some kind of road trip with there dog. Hopefully the trip was a short enjoyable trip, because as we know, some dogs aren’t always the most pleasant travelers on a long trip.

Every dog and every situation is different of course, some people actually have dogs that don’t mind traveling in the car or truck.

We of course, have not always been that lucky.

This story is about how to road trip with a dog that may not be the best traveler and how to be successful at it.

finn truck

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Perfect planning

Before you head out on the road trip, it’s important to have a plan. Get to the specifics, how long is the trip, how many people are going, how much luggage will there be in the back. Will the dogs have enough room to travel comfortably.

It’s very important to make sure that the dogs have a reasonable amount of space, if they are squished against a mountain of luggage, that can be a very dangerous situation for the dog. One false move and a piece of luggage can fall on there head and cause an injury.

Making sure everything is securely packed in the back is the key. Having a great packer back there who will make the most of the space, and yet still make enough room for the dogs to travel safely.

When we travel, we always have our hammock back seat cover on the entire back seat. This gives them the sense that they are secure back there and can’t fly forward in the case of a sudden stop or turn.

Travel With Your Dog!

Being prepared

We have 2 dogs, as I have mentioned before. One big dog named Finn, and one small dog named Boo. Finn is the best traveler you could ask for, he is just happy to be in the truck and hopefully sticking his head out the rolled down window.

Boo on the other hand, can be a complete handful. He is excited to get into the car, but most times has that shaking and panting thing going on. I guess it’s a type of anxiety that causes him not to settle down that well. Sometimes putting his dog bed in the back seat can help eleviate some of that anxiety.

Boo Traveling

We are somewhat lucky, as some people have to sedate there dogs to travel with them on any road trips at all.

Make sure before you all head into the truck, that everyone has gone to the bathroom. Time permitting a quick walk or run with the dogs beforehand, may help with a more successful start to the trip. Getting rid of the pent-up energy can ensure that the dogs are ready for a rest when the trip first gets started.

A good rule of thumb, is to not feed your dogs too close to your leaving time. That can lead to having to make a stop on the side of the road before you have even got going on the highway.

Putting a few leashes, travel water bottle with bowl and some poop bags are a must pack for a long trip. It is even nice to throw in a few dog towels, in case you hit rain or have to pit stop around mud or dirt and they need to have their feet wiped.

collapse bowl
Collapsible Water Bowl

Hitting the road

Because Boo isn’t a good traveler, we try to do everything we can to ensure that he feels safe and secure. Sometimes it may be just having him sit closely to Finn, so that he doesn’t feel so alone. Unfortunately it can take literally hours for him to calmly lay down and actually sleep and hopefully stop whining or shaking.

If your dog has serious issues with travel, it may be a good thing to talk to your vet prior to leaving. He maybe able to either provide a sedative, or another option that can help your dog with a long trip.

Patience, I find is the key to success traveling with a dog that doesn’t travel well. The longer the trip goes on, the more likely they will be to sleep at some point along the way.

Eventually when Boo settles down, we wonder why he couldn’t have been like that from the very beginning.

This is always a journey no matter what.

I don’t have kids, but I imagine traveling with dogs is a small glimpse into what that must be like. YIKES!

dog in car

Stops along the way

On those longer trips where it maybe 6-8 hours or longer, you will have to make pit stops along the way. Dogs are usually good for 4-6 hours. Again this can vary from dog to dog, and also the age of the dog will make a difference. 

You can usually tell as they will start to get fidgety or start moving around a lot.

When it’s time to make a stop, always try to find a good spot that is away from traffic just in case the dog somehow gets away.

Gas stations are usually far enough off the main highway to make an OK stop. Sometimes it may be even easier to stop before a town or city off on a grid road, that may be more secluded. The quieter the better.

Sometimes if you take the dogs out of the truck in a busy area, you may not have as much success getting them to do there business. Distraction can certainly make things take much longer than you wanted. The longer the stops, the longer the trip will take.

travel water bottle
Travel Water Bottle

Traveling with success

Planning a trip with dogs, can certainly make things a bit more work. Even if you have a well laid out plan, it does not ensure your trip will go as smooth as you hope.

Make sure that your plan includes plenty of extra time for the pit stops and so it won’t put you in a situation where you are behind schedule. Rushing through a long trip, is not the way to have traveling success with your dogs.

The reason we go to extra lengths to take our pets with us, is it’s always nice to have your dogs with you on your adventures. It socialized them in situations different from the everyday life they have at home.

Boo Truck

When possible, we try to take our dogs with us on most trips, as they are part of the family, so why should they have to stay home and miss the fun.

Traveling with your dogs these days, is much easier than it used to be. Trying to find dog friendly hotels was a very difficult thing years ago. Now so many hotels allow people to bring there pets with them when they stay.

I really hope that you have gotten some good tips and tricks to help you learn how to road trip with a dog successfully.

I won’t lie, it isn’t always an easy thing to do traveling with pets, but the reward of having your dog with you, eases the pain of leaving them behind and wondering the entire trip, “how they are doing?”

We all know that leaving your dog behind will consist of daily calls to the kennel or dog sitter,and most of the time you never really feel relaxed.

You are always the mama bear wondering how your babies are. There is no amount of distance that takes that away.

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8 thoughts on “How to Road Trip with a Dog | Let the Adventure Begin”

  1. Dogs are the most faithful pets on planet earth. Glad that you write this post to take care of the dogs and what are the consideration then taking them out for a trip. Your advises are good and relevant. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Lots of ideas in there, thank you. I am hoping to take my doggy on her first big trip soon – I’ve never taken her more than a couple of hours before so I am grateful to have read your article now to help prepare.

    Reply
  3. Here is such helpful and interesting information for dog lovers.Great insight and good tips! This would fit well with a piece on how to cheer up your dog when they have the blues. The photos are really neat!

    Reply
  4. I have traveled a lot with my 2 dogs, little ones. Another tip is having travel containers for water. Not that you have to go out and buy special ones. A good old rubber maid will do. also I noticed a to and do mixed up in one place. Nice artical.

    Reply
    • Hi Laura thank you so much for your comments.
      I appreciate you adding your story about traveling with your dog. It is always an adventure that’s for sure.
      I did take your comment about the typo error so thank you for catching it.

      Reply

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