Should You Road Trip With Pets? 12 Practical Tips For Road Trips With Dogs

Tips for road trips with dogs. Things you need to know before road tripping with dogs.
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Planning a road trip with pets? Explore the benefits of road tripping with your furry friends and practical tips for a road trips with dogs. Road tripping is not just a fun way to travel; it also offers numerous benefits for all parties involved—humans and their furry companions. Whether traveling with your dog or cat, hitting the road together can create lasting memories and strengthen the bond between you and your pet. I wish I had the chance to go on a road trip with my late pup, Jada, but sadly, she left us sooner than anticipated. Today, we’re exploring the benefits of road tripping with pets, including bonding, exploration, safety, and the opportunity to unplug from technology.

While road tripping with pets can be a fun and rewarding experience, it requires preparation and consideration to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure. Keep reading to discover how to make a successful road trip with your canine companion.

Britt, the featured guest of this Road Trip Ready Podcast episode, is an outdoor travel with pets expert. She writes over at The Kas Pack, a travel blog where she shares her expertise and experiences in camping, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking with dogs and cats. With her extensive knowledge and firsthand experience in traveling with pets, she empowers and educates others who may be hesitant or unsure about traveling with their furry companions. Her passion for creating memories and bonding with her own pets shines through in her work, making this interview jam-packed with gems.

Continue reading or listen to this episode of Road Trip Ready Podcast here.

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Benefits of Road Tripping With Dogs

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1. Bonding

One of the greatest benefits of road tripping with pets is the opportunity to bond and create lasting memories together. Spending quality time with your furry friend in new and exciting environments can strengthen your relationship and deepen your connection. Whether you’re hiking through scenic trails, exploring new destinations, or simply enjoying the open road, the shared experiences and adventures will create a special bond between you and your pet.

2. Exploration

Road tripping allows you and your pet to explore new destinations and discover hidden gems along the way. From national parks to quaint towns, there are endless possibilities for adventure. With your pet by your side, go on a hike, visit pet-friendly attractions, and experience the great outdoors together. Exploring new places with your dog not only provides stimulation for them but also allows you to discover new destinations through their curious eyes.

Tired of reading? Watch the interview with Britt on YouTube.

3. Safety

Traveling with pets can also provide an added sense of safety, especially if you’re road tripping solo. Many pet owners feel more secure knowing their furry companion is by their side. Dogs, in particular, can provide a sense of security and act as a deterrent to potential threats. Additionally, having a pet with you can offer peace of mind, knowing that you have a loyal companion who will alert you to any potential dangers.

4. Unplugging

Road tripping with pets allows you to unplug from technology and immerse yourself in the present moment. In today’s digital age, getting caught up in screens and distractions is easy. However, when you’re on the road with your pet, you can disconnect from technology and focus on the beauty of nature and the companionship of your fur baby. This break from technology allows for a more mindful and rejuvenating experience.

10 Practical Tips For Road Trips With Dogs

 These tips will help you get prepared and have the smoothest trip possible with your dog.

1. Start slow and gradually increase trip lengths

Wondering how to get your dog used to riding in a car?

If your dog is not accustomed to traveling in a car, it’s important to start slow and gradually increase the length of your trips. Britt recommends beginning by taking short drives around the neighborhood or to nearby parks. This will help your dog get used to the car and reduce any anxiety they may have.

Just sit in your driveway. 

Make it a positive thing. 

Maybe feed them lunch in your backseat so they start to see that the vechile itself isn’t a scary thing.

Because these are new experiences. It’s nnew sights, new sounds, new feelings. When the vehicle’s going, turning on the vehicle for the first time, that can be scary for some dogs. 

Britt from The Kas Pack

2. Use a secure harness or crate

For your and your dog’s safety, it’s crucial to use a secure harness or crate while traveling in the car. This will prevent your dog from becoming a distraction or getting injured in the event of sudden stops or accidents. Look for crash-tested harnesses or crates that are specifically designed for car travel.

Here are some recommended pet travel carriers:

No pet should ever be left loose in a vehicle. It’s not safe. If you get into an accident, that animal becomes a flying object very quickly.

Britt from The Kas Pack

3. Bring the dog essentials

For peace of mind, when planning road trips with dogs, ensure your all ID tags are updated and have a digital copy of their vaccination and health records on your phone for easy access.

4. Take regular breaks

How often should you stop on a road trip with a dog? Britt recommends stopping every three hours. However, you need to know your pet and whether that needs to be more frequent to accommodate their needs.

Like humans, dogs need regular bathroom breaks and exercise during long car rides. Plan to stop every few hours to allow your dog to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and get some fresh air. Use designated pet-friendly areas or parks for these breaks. Don’t forget to curb your dog.

When choosing where to stop, Britt suggests the usual pit stops and rest areas along the route. Many of these places have grass areas where pets can go to the bathroom. She also mentions using the AllTrails app to find smaller hikes where pets can stretch their legs and release some energy. This is particularly important for dogs with high energy levels.

Another suggestion is the Dog Pack app, which maps out dog parks and pet-friendly areas. This allows pets to socialize and play in a safe environment. Lastly, the Ontario Parks Day passes can be a great option for stopping and letting your pets stretch their legs at any of the parks along the way if road tripping in Canada.

5. Pack essential supplies

Pack all the essential supplies your dog will need during the trip. This includes food, water, treats, towels, bowls, poop bags, and any necessary medications. Bringing their favorite blanket or toy is also a good idea to provide them comfort and familiarity.

6. Securely store food and water

Store your dog’s food and water in spill-proof containers to avoid spills and messes. This will ensure they can access fresh food and water throughout the journey without creating a mess in your car.

7. Practice good etiquette

Remember to practice good pet etiquette during your road trip. Always clean up after your dog and dispose of waste properly. Be respectful of other travelers and follow any rules or regulations in pet-friendly areas.

8. Prepare for emergencies

It’s important to be prepared for any emergencies that may come up during your road trip. Carry a pet first aid kit with essential supplies such as vet-wrap bandages and styptic powder. Familiarize yourself with the location of veterinary clinics along your route just in case of unexpected health issues. Have your vet’s phone number on speed dial.

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify. 

9. Dogs can carry their gear

This tip really surprised me!

Britt mentioned for those who enjoy camping, be mindful that dogs can carry their own gear which distributes the weight and makes it easier to carry everything needed for the trip.

For example, regarding backcountry camping, where space is a concern, each group member, including the dogs, has their own pack.

However, dogs should never carry more than 25% of their body weight and should gradually work up to that amount. Dogs’ packs can hold their food, bowls, extra leashes, and other items.

10. Not all trips are pet appropriate

As you already know, dogs require frequent care and attention. Sometimes, there are situations where it’s not feasible to bring your pets.

If you decide to leave your dog at home, enlist the help of someone who can take care of your dog, whether they stay at your place, visit multiple times a day, or have the dog stay at their house. There are facilities like pet hotels and boarding facilities too.

Britt warns against blindly hiring strangers through apps or online platforms for pet care. There are horror stories, so be cautious when hiring someone sight unseen. Thoroughly research and vet any potential pet sitters or boarding facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of your pets.

11. Enjoy the journey

Lastly, enjoy the journey with your dog. Take the time to appreciate the sights, sounds, and experiences you’ll share together.

In closing, traveling with your dog can be a rewarding and memorable experience. By following Britt’s practical road trip dog tips and advice, you’re on your way to planning a safe and enjoyable road trip with pets. Remember to start slow, gradually acclimate your dog to the car, and prioritize their comfort and well-being. Happy travels!

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