Road trips can be stressful enough to begin with, let alone when you’re taking you dog(s) with you! When I moved from Illinois to Texas in January 2020, about a 15 hour drive including gas and bathroom breaks, my car was essentially the dog mobile. And for Christmas 2021, I decided to make the drive again so I could bring my dogs with me and stay a while.
At the end of the day, though, your pup just wants to be with you, so don’t stress too much! Thankfully, my dogs enjoy car rides and ended up sleeping 85% of the whole ride. They’d watch the windows a bit and Lola whined at me a little, but overall they were sweet angels in the car.
The following items turned out to be extremely useful during my road trips and I hope they will help you, as well! Please note that these links are commissionable and I make a small percentage of the sale if you do end up purchasing. Thank you for your support!
I put my dogs in a crate when traveling so they are protected in case anything happens and I don’t have to keep as much of an eye on them. It gives me way more peace of mind knowing their safe and can’t get into anything they’re not supposed to.
A long leash
Whenever stopping whether it’s for gas, at a rest stop, or for food, I’d let your dog out for a bathroom and leg stretching break. A longer leash comes in handy so they can do what they need to do and you can get back on the road. Try to stop every 3-4 hours to give your dog time to exercise and use the bathroom.
Pop up water bowl
These are so compact and easy to use! Make sure you have some bottles of water with you, as well. I clipped mine to their crate when not in use.
When they gotta go, they gotta go. Don’t be rude and make sure you clean up their mess!
A comfy dog bed
Make sure you’re pup is comfortable when traveling and get a plush dog bed. You might consider an orthopedic one, too, since they’ll be on it longer than usual.
If your dog likes to be under a blanket when napping, make sure you bring one with you!
I tried to keep their schedule the same, even when traveling. Either bring some of your dog food or pick up a fresh, small bag for the trip.
Treats + toys
Treats are a must, especially if your dog is food motivated. If they’re getting antsy or if you’re wanting to reward good behavior, your dog will appreciate them. You could even try some of the calming pet treats available now if your dog gets nervous in the car. A new toy to keep them occupied can also be a great idea.
A travel bag
I recommend having a travel bag for you pup, whether it’s a bag you already have or a literal pet travel bag. Trust me, having everything in one spot will take a lot of stress off you when taking a cross country road trip with your dog.
What other tips do you have when it comes to long rides with your pet? I’d love to hear in the comments below!