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Road-trip Essentials for Traveling with Dogs

Road-trip Essentials for Traveling with Dogs

November 23, 2021

The holidays may still look slightly different than they did pre-pandemic, but there are tons of people who will be hitting the road this season. Whether it’s to see family, or get away from your work-from-home office, we figured out the perfect packing list for your pup.

General Travel Considerations

A stressed pet isn’t enjoyable for anyone – least of all the owner. If your dog has a history of nervous or noisy behavior don’t expect them to behave better than they do at home. You will have to have flexibility and patience but realistic expectations will help keep you calm and collected!

Keep the Cabin Cool

Time of year also plays a role in planning a dog-friendly journey. Remember, dogs can’t sweat! So, it can sometimes be difficult for them to regulate their body temperature when warm. Temperatures of 65-73F are ideal.

Make Reservations

Covid-19 has changed the way we all look at travel. Nothing can be more frazzle-inducing than stopping at a hotel late and tired just to find out they don’t allow dogs. However, some places still allow for pets to board with a process very similar to how they did pre-pandemic.

Depending on the hotel chain, these are common occurrences:

  • A fee may be required (anywhere from $50-$150)
  • They may request to see vet records
  • Some breeds could be excluded at the discretion of the establishment

Have a Routine

This recommendation has a caveat, because sticking as close as you can to a routine is challenging when you have to account for traffic, pit stops, inclimate weather, and other things. Have some flexibility and know things will get in the way, but getting up at around the same time and having meals around the same time daily help to keep some normalcy.

Practice Riding in the Car

This should not be the first time your dog has ever ridden in the car. To minimize their anxiety and create positive associations with vehicular travel, bring them along next time you do errands and reward them with tasty treats for good behavior. Bonus points if you have a bed in the car already so they get used to the layout of the seat with that addition.

If you know your pup gets nervous being in the car, that is something you can totally work on and it shouldn’t put you off of taking a road trip all together – like anything else, it can require some training and time but doable.

Things to Pack

  • A water bottle and a collapsible dog bowl
  • Paw or baby wipes – antibacterial but gentle on skin
  • Paper towels in a pocket of the carrier in case of an accident
  • Any necessary puppy pills (it’s also best to give anti-anxiety meds before even getting to the car)
  • A folder for all required paperwork
  • Leash/harness/bags
  • Some dry kibble in case of tummy upset
  • A pillowcase or old t-shirt, unwashed, in their carrier so they are comforted while on the plane. It’s a lot of mental stimulation to walk through the airport and all the sights and sounds can be overwhelming
  • Food and Treats for the duration of the trip (naturally)
  • A dog bed with soft edges – easy to take into and out of the car and hotel rooms
  • A towel, sometimes it rains and a wet-dog smell while on the road is unpleasant for everyone

Is Bringing Fluffy Along Worth It?

We’re dog people – we always believe bringing your dog is an addition to the trip.

However, it is important to think about why you’re bringing them along and if they will be stressed by the time they get there. If reluctant to board your dog, there are plenty of house-sitting services that allow them to stay in their comfy environment while you’re away. Is your dog small, well behaved, and down for anything? They seem perfectly fit for the trip. Each person has a different threshold of stress and ability to ‘go with the flow’ so if you want to try it out, more power to you.