9 Tips to Surviving A Road Trip With Your Dog
Happy Fri-YAY, everyone! Today, we are embarking on our first road trip with Archer to go visit Adam’s family in Louisiana. We are super excited to have everyone meet our pup (especially because he is so big now) but we know that road tripping with a dog isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Archer is a big dog, and has a ton of energy so making sure he is happy during the ride is really important, otherwise we run into excess-energy bad behavior and since he’s a puppy, we are still training him out of some of that. Let’s dive into this.
9 Tips to Surviving A Road Trip With Your Dog
Stop at rest stops to use the bathroom when you can vs gas stations (unless you need to fill up the car, of course).
Rest stops are typically a lot more pet-friendly, with more grass to use the bathroom, readily accessible trash cans and less people and moving vehicles. You can find a quiet spot to feed your dog or give him water and let him stretch his legs a little bit.
Practice longer car rides to get them used to more than a few minutes in the car at a time.
I’ve been trying to take Archer on longer rides between 30-45 minutes to get used to being in the car for longer than a few minutes. He’s a great car rider once we get going and while he is nervous in the beginning, he settles in about 15 minutes in and ends up sleeping a long time. I don’t think he will sleep for 10 solid hours, but I think he will at least be able to outlast his nervousness.
Tire them out with a lot of activity the day before a road trip.
I plan on taking Archer out to run in the field by our house for a while, and having Adam take him on a run after he gets off work. He will typically rest a lot of the day after a bunch of activity, so I hope that if we get him good and tired the day before, he will sleep or doze most of the trip home.
Keep your pup properly entertained with their favorite chews and toys.
He destroyed his last rope – so we had to quick go out and grab him a new one – but besides that, we will pack his Kong, a pack of oinkees, a bully stick, and a nylon bone he loves. We will alternate toys so he always has something new in his kennel to play with. They will also be a familiar feel and smell when we get to our destination.
Take frequent breaks to eliminate uncomfortability.
You don’t want your pup to be in a moving car and have to go to the bathroom. They may not know how to let you know they have to go potty in a timely manner, and you don’t want to have an accident halfway into your road trip. Make sure you are stopping at LEAST once every 1.5-2 hours.
Don’t forget to pack the essentials for while you are gone.
We LOVE our Pet Pail. It holds all our essentials for road trips except for his big bag of dog food, which we pack separately because it’s too much to fit in there. But it holds an extra collar and leash, food dish, treat holders, poop bags and water dish.
Keep your pup in a kennel during long trips. A 60lb dog can turn into a 2700lb catapult in the case of the accident.
I know you may want to keep your pup out so he has room to roam, but the safest way to travel with your dog is in a crate or kennel. If you were to get in an accident, it’s safer for them and safer for you. They can really hurt you if they come flying at you or hurt themselves if they end up going through a windshield.
Don’t feed them right before getting in the car to avoid car sickness.
If your dog is anything like Archer – he vomits immediately after getting into the car if he’s eaten in the last hour to an hour and a half. Feed them a minimum of 3 hours before – that way they have time to go potty before getting in the car and aren’t doing so on a full stomach!
Know your nearby vet clinics and nearest emergency clinics.
This is super important. You won’t be in a super familiar area – which means you need to be prepared in case of an emergency. Should something happen to your pet, you don’t want to be searching to find somewhere to take them and wasting precious minutes. Have numbers and addresses saved to your phone just in case.
Traveling with pets can be a total blast – and we LOVE taking Archer with us wherever we go. It’s so much fun having a dog for that reason. He’s such a people-friendly dog, too, that it’s a blast when we take him in public. He’s a pretty good car traveller because we’ve been taking him places since he was 3 months old, but these will definitely help to make the trip as easy as possible.
Do you have a dog you take on road trips? What are your best tips? Let me know in the comments below!