Tag Archives: car travel with dogs

Tips for road trips with dogs

Picture of a Boston Terrier and a Brussels Griffon sitting in crates in a car to illustrate road trips with dogs

We’ve always enjoyed traveling with our dogs and, luckily, all of them are great in the car. Luckily, more and more places are pet-friendly these days, allowing pets in hotels and motels as well as vacation rental options. It’s easier to take road trips with dogs today than ever.

Over the years we’ve developed some tips to make life easier on the road with dogs. Since we are coming into vacation season, we’re hoping you’ll find them useful. If your dog isn’t a fan of road trips, or cars in general, you’ll find a training game for that here.

Before you go

If you’re staying in a single destination, rather than a wandering road trip, it’s a good idea to ask in your social media groups for names of good veterinarians and groomers where you’re going. You can also ask for good places to walk your dog, and areas for shopping and sight-seeing that are dog friendly. If no one comes up with anything useful, that’s okay. It only takes a minute to ask, and if you don’t ask, you might miss out on some great ideas. 

Print out the names of the local resources you’re given. Put that information, as well as your dog’s medical history and vaccination records in a resealable plastic bag. You’ll probably have it all on your phone, but having a solid backup when you’re away is always a good idea. We always put the baggie in a large, covered bin (with handles) where we stash all the dog’s stuff for the trip. 

We also like to pre-package our dogs’ food into meal portions for travel. We use sandwich-size plastic bags. While it’s not a big deal to scoop and dump into a bowl, it’s even easier to open a bag. And you only have to bring in the bags you need if you’re stopping on the road. We also have small bags of dog treats to stuff in our pockets. It may just be a psychological benefit, but we also like that the amount of stuff we have to carry gets lighter during the trip.

Stuff you may not think about

There are a few things we always take that make life easier – some because of the dogs and some for us. We always want to be polite guests, so we take our own blankets. The first thing we do when we get to a stop-over on the road is take off the hotel’s bed covering and replace it with our own. If it’s a semi-decent place, you know the sheets will be cleaned before and after you. But the blanket? No one wants to sleep on our dog’s shed fur (or slobber since we let them have chewy toys on the bed). And we don’t want to sleep with ghosts from the past, either. 

Also – when you get into the room and before you let the dogs in, check under everything. Even relatively nice places may have neglected to check underneath. We’ve found all kinds of stuff, least troubling being fast-food containers.

Bring extension cords. You know you’re going to need to charge your phone. And there may or may not be a handy outlet. Be prepared.

Stuff for the dog

This is easy, and a standard checklist for traveling with dogs:

  • Leash
  • Extra collar
  • Food (bring extra)
  • Water 
  • Food and water bowls
  • Portable water bowl and bottle
  • Treats
  • Toys and chew Items
  • Any medicines
  • Brush
  • Baby wipes
  • Poop bags
  • Old towels, and/or paper towels
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Flashlight that fits in your pocket or has a wrist strap.

One thing we learned just this week is to include a small bottle of vegetable oil. It’s great for getting gunk out of dog fur. Also dog shampoo, to get out the oil. Don’t ask.

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