The Essential Road Trip Checklist with Dogs

Summer is the best time for a road trip, with its beautiful weather and long days. If you are planning a road trip with your dog, you should consider a few things to make it a memorable experience for you both.

Do Your Research

Before you even get in the car, you need to prepare for a successful road trip with your dog.

Research your itinerary and look for pet-friendly activities and accommodations along the route before you go on a trip with dogs. This will not only ensure that your pet has an amazing time but will also allow you to spend more time enjoying the trip (since you will no longer be calling hotels on the side to see if they will take your dog).

Plan and prepare for your trip in advance so that you are not caught in a panic at the last moment,” advises Dr. Carol Osborne of Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic, located in Chagrin Falls. Call your hotel to ensure that your pet will be welcomed. Visit websites that are dedicated to pet travel (such as Travel with Pets). You can find vacation advertisements in magazines or newsletters that are pet-related.

Before you take your dog on a trip, make sure you find as many accommodations and restaurants that are pet-friendly as possible.

You’ll have a better road trip if you are more informed about your destination and the dog-friendly options available along your route. Look up some veterinary clinics along the way. This will help you if your pet needs a vet on the go.

Get Your Dog Ready

After you decide where to go on your trip, you need to ensure that your dog is prepared for it. This means training them properly.

Train your pet to feel comfortable in the kennel when traveling. It will help to make your pet’s travel experience more enjoyable, whether you are traveling across the city or country. The kennel should be big enough for your pet to stand, sit, turn and lay comfortably.

It’s not only important that your dog is comfortable while in the vehicle, but you should also make sure he feels comfortable stopping frequently along the route–even in a busy environment.

We worked hard on mat and relaxation exercises to teach our Border Collie how to lie calmly under the table in a chaotic environment. Kayla Fratt is an associate-certified canine behavior consultant with Journey Dog Training. She says that this made it easier for her to take him anywhere. For the last three months, she has been on a US road trip with Barley and documented the journey on ElPerroTambien. The biggest key to a successful road trip is that your dog must be calm and polite, whether it is long car trips, remote trails or busy coffee shops.

The Essentials to Pack

Pack all of the essential pet supplies when you travel with your dog.

Bring your pet’s food, its water, and any vet records. “It’s a great idea to bring your pet’s leash, collar and ID tags, as well as a first-aid kit for pets and the proper identification tags. (Put the name of the animal, the current address, the phone number, and the destination on the tags.)” says Dr. Osborne.

As a dog trainer who is trained professionally, I always tell my students to have toys and treats with them. Always. Bring toys and treats with you, just as you would a leash or a bag for poop. “Bring whatever makes your dog feel happy. This will differ from one dog to another,” Fratt says.

Pack anything that will make your car more dog-friendly (such as a dog seatbelt, car seat protector, and dog car barrier).

What essentials do you need to bring with you on your trip?

  • Travel bowls for dogs that collapse to hold food and water
  • Dog food
  • Water
  • Current veterinary records, including general health records and vaccination records
  • Dog first aid kit
  • Collar or dog harness
  • Leash
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Bags for dog poop
  • Dog carriers or crates for dogs
  • Contact information on dog ID tags
  • Cover for car seat
  • Vehicle barrier

Keep a normal exercise, sleep and food schedule

It’s easy for you to become absorbed in your day-to-day activities when you are on a trip. But if you wish to make sure that your pet has as much enjoyment as you, you should try to keep him to his usual routine.

Don’t forget to give your dog a good rest or exercise on the road. Fratt says it’s very easy to forget your dog was probably pretty energetic after driving for 14 hours. On the other hand, it is easy to drive for 14 hours without realizing that your dog was probably quite energetic afterward,” says Fratt.

Dr. Osborne says, “Avoid fatty and rich foods for your pets.” Don’t be too hard on yourself if your dog eats some unhealthy road trip treats. Just give him a few minutes to recuperate. If indigestion occurs, the general rule is to stop feeding and drinking for 4-6 hours. Most pets will recover.

You should make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise when you are in the car for long periods of time. After a long period of exercise, he should get plenty of sleep and eat the same nutritious food as he does at home.

Avoid stomach issues

On road trips, canine stomach problems are one of the main concerns.

If you see that your dog is feeling a bit queasy after a long drive, you should have some soothing products on hand. It’s best to use probiotics that are designed for stomach and anxiety upset.

If the trip becomes too stressful for your traveler, you can strap him into his safety dog belt. Try a pet belt. “They help to reduce motion sickness,” states Dr. Osborne.

Take note of your environment

When traveling with your dog, it’s important to consider the environment. You should be alert to any risks that could affect your dog’s health when you travel to a different area.

Keep in mind that certain parts of the United States are more susceptible to different parasites and diseases. Fratt explains that Colorado, where we’re from, has very few biting insects. We weren’t used, therefore, to treating [our dog] Barley against fleas or ticks. We had to use the heavy hitters for parasite prevention before going to Wisconsin early in the summer.

You should always consult your vet before traveling to determine whether you need to take flea-and-tick medication for dogs or heartworm medications for dogs. It is important to consider this when it comes to vaccinations. Certain parts of the nation are more prone than others.

It can be difficult to travel with your dog, but you’ll also have the chance to spend time with him on a vacation that is pet-friendly. Take the necessary steps to make sure you have fun with your dog, and then relax and hit the road.