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Guide to Planning the Perfect Pet-Friendly Road Trip

In Dogs by Emotional Pet Support TeamLeave a Comment

survey revealed that more and more Americans are moving on from the pandemic and are feeling more comfortable traveling again.

As the weather gets nicer across the country, it’s the perfect time to hit the road once again with your furry friends. For sure, they missed the outside world as much as you did!

Top 5 Tips for Road Tripping with your Dog

However, you should know that traveling with pets is not easy. It can be chaotic, messy, and stressful. Proper planning is the key to keeping things organized before you hit the road. So before you hop into your car, read this quick guide first.

dog going on a trip

Get Clearance From Your Vet

Before anything else, check with your vet if your dog’s vaccinations are complete and up to date. You never know what your pet will encounter in a new location, so they must be fully protected.

Additionally, some states or destinations will require proof of vaccinations or a health certificate from your vet. If there are missing shots in your pet’s record, you might not get access to some travel spots.

Prep Your Pet For Long Drives

Watching a dog enjoy a car ride is such a delight. However, unless they’re used to road-tripping, it can be a stressful experience for your pet.

If you’re planning a trip that could last for days, you must prepare your pet in advance. You can help them feel more comfortable by taking them along for short trips. 

Consider driving with your pet to the grocery or to the nearest park to see how he reacts. It’s normal if he seems uncomfortable or uneasy at first. The more you expose your pets to short trips, the more they will realize it isn’t something to be afraid of.

puppy traveling during a trip

Restrain Your Pet

When road-tripping, it’s best for pets to be under some form of restraint. Cats, especially, should be in carriers as most are not comfortable traveling in cars.

Even dogs should not be allowed to freely roam inside the car. Ideally, your dog should be in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle with a seat belt. Even though pets like to stick their head out the window, they are safest when inside your vehicle.

The carrier should be big enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down. Alternatively, you can use a car hammock that prevents your dog from sliding to the floor.

Pack Pet Travel Essentials

You also want to prepare the travel essentials for your pet. 

Here is a list of items to add to your pack:

  • Leash/harness/collar
  • Vaccine records
  • Your pet’s favorite toys or bedding
  • Grooming supplies
  • A laundry bag
  • Waste bags or litter box

Lastly, have proper identification for your pet. Affix a temporary travel identification to your pet’s collar which includes your name, address, or phone number.

Bring a Pet First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen, especially in the great outdoors, so make sure you bring a pet first aid kit anywhere you plan to go.

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, your kit should contain:

  • Adhesive tape
  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Ice pack
  • Disposable gloves
  • OTC antibiotic ointment
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Styptic powder
  • An extra supply of his medications

Don’t Forget Pet Food and Water

Tuck your pet food, water, and treats in an easily accessible place in your vehicle. To save space, bring collapsible food and water bowls that you can simply store or hook onto your leash when taking walks.

On the day of your trip, feed your pet a light meal at least two hours before. It isn’t a good idea to feed your pet while your car is in motion as it can trigger nausea. In a worst-case scenario, you can give your pet a queasy pooch or ice chips to soothe them.

Pack clean water too. There is no exact amount of water you should bring for your pet but it’s best to pack extra as traveling (especially in hot weather) can cause dehydration in pets. It’s best to stash a water dispenser so your dog can drink whenever he wants to.

Be Mindful Of the Temp in Your Car

Whether you’re pulling over to quickly grab some snacks at a convenience store or refuel your car, never leave your pet in a hot car.

Even if the weather outside isn’t too warm for you, it could be for your pet. 

As a rule of thumb, anywhere below 55 degrees Fahrenheit or over 72 degrees Fahrenheit can be very uncomfortable for your pet.

Make Frequent Potty Stops

Normally, dogs pee every four or six hours. However, during travels, they might drink more to fight dehydration. This means they may need more potty breaks.

It’s also a good idea to pull over to give yourself and your dog a quick stretch. Consider taking a 15 to 30-minute break every 4 hours. When stopping by at a gas station to refuel, for example, let your dog out to enjoy a short walk.

You can also make very long trips more fun for both of you if you make plans to stop by at pet-friendly attractions, such as dog parks.

Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations

If staying at a hotel, make sure to check if they allow guests to bring their pets. 

Do note that reserving a “pet-friendly hotel” can be tricky. While many of them welcome pets, hotels vary in policies and may impose restrictions and size limitations. That said, if your pup is a little too big, check with the hotel reception staff first before booking. 

Be sure you have a clear understanding of their policies, restrictions, and exceptions to avoid any hassle or costly cancellations, as well as last-minute changes of accommodation.

Also, some camping sites don’t allow dogs past the parking lots so check their website too before you go.


A little foresight can go a long way when preparing for a road trip with pets. Make sure to follow these tips and create a road trip planner prior.

This way, you can pretty much guarantee that both of you will have an amazing time exploring the beautiful outdoors and making new happy memories.

Mariam is a Hygiene Specialist working with SONO Healthcare. She has been interested in health and cleaning issues since she was young and wants to share her knowledge and experience with others who are not indifferent to clean up. Mariam is deeply convinced that house cleaning is a critical part of hygiene. On a regular basis, she delivers new cleaning expert advice on how to treat products, tools, and different items, which sometimes include medical instruments and equipment as well.

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