Going on a dog road trip anytime soon? Here are some great tips for driving with a dog, to make sure you’re all happy, safe and enjoying yourselves…
We all know that terrible feeling of leaving your furry friend behind when going on a travelling adventure. Those sad puppy eyes staring at you… There is nothing worse! That is why heading on a dog road trip is the perfect vacation idea for all the doggy mums and dads out there.
But taking your furry friend with you has its challenges. But the upside – you will have your best friend with you! And a dog road trip can be so much fun…not to mention you don’t have that dog parent guilt about leaving them.
So to make sure your dog road trip is an unforgettable experience (in a good way), it’s a good idea to be prepared. This is where my guide to a dog road trip full of lots of tips comes in.
Tips for planning a road trip with dogs
If you’re planning a dog road trip, you’ll no doubt have lots of questions. Here’s my answers and some handy tips to help you prepare.
1. Have water and shade
When you arrive at your destination, make sure to always provide your dog with enough drinking water and a place to hide from the sun.
An excellent choice for this is the beach cover – it will protect not only your furry friend from the sun but also the wind.
2. Keep your dog’s tags up to date
You never know what will happen during your road trips with dogs. That is why it is essential to make sure the contact information on your dogs’ tags is up to date. Perhaps you’ve moved recently or changed your phone number – check whether all information is accurate.
The same goes for any contact details that are associated with their microchip.
READ MORE: How to Do a Solo Road Trip
3. Take your pets documents with you
If you plan to drive through different countries, don’t forget to bring your dog’s passport and vaccination record with you. Remember that rules for bringing a pet into a country can differ from place to place.
Overall, in the EU, you must follow the same regulations, but it’s still better to check before leaving on your dog road trip.
4. Give your furry friend some space
It’s crucial that your dog has enough space in the car. Don’t squeeze them in between luggage. The more room your furry friend has, the better behaved they will be.
It’s nice to make the space comfortable for them too – especially if they’re not too fond of travelling. Bring their blanket, chew toys and other home comforts in the car.
5. Plan stops for the bathroom
Of course, you may be in a hurry to get to your chosen destination on your dog road trip, and each stop makes your drive a bit longer. But try to remember that your dog has the same needs as you.
For example, it is vital for them to stretch out their body after sitting for hours in one place, even if it means going for just a few laps around the car. Also, don’t ignore their bathroom needs – if you need to use the restroom, your pet probably needs to do it too.
6. Take toys that’ll last
When heading on a doggy road trip, you won’t likely have a lot of time to purchase and choose new toys for your travel companion. That’s why it is important to bring along toys that are more durable and will last a lot of time.
Some dogs like to chew on something while being in the car – it can relieve some of the stress that comes with moving around.
7. Plan a pet-friendly route
If you decide to travel with your pet to have a dog-friendly road trip, you have to keep in mind that you will have to plan around their needs.
In most parts of Europe, the UK, and the USA, you will find designated dog areas, but take Covid-19 precautions into account when making your plans. Try to stay away from places that are crowded. Your dog should always maintain at least a six feet distance from other humans.
8. Practice before
Some dogs may feel anxious during car rides. In this situation, it’s wise to do some practice before leaving on a long road trip. Start by heading on short road trips with your dog that end in a positive way.
For example, head to a beach (where your dog can run free or play with you) or your furry friend’s favourite dog park. In this way, your pet will create positive associations with driving. Therefore they’ll feel less anxious.
9. Pack wisely
Remember – road tripping with dogs means it’s not just you, therefore you must bring along all of your pet’s necessities, for example, food, water, treats, medicine, feeding bowls and other things, so that you don’t have to pay a visit to a store or a veterinary office.
Also, think about your pet’s safety – veterinarians recommend using a dog sling or hammock in the back seat to create a safe environment for your travel companion.
10. Pay attention to your dogs nerves
Don’t ignore your furry friend’s emotion on your dog road trip. They shouldn’t feel stressed or anxious while riding in the car. If it seems like your pet is not in its right mind, perhaps it is best to use natural stress-reducing remedies.
Each dog is different, so it is best to consult with your veterinarian before. A specialist will also be able to give you tips to make your furry friend’s trip smoother.
Other things to consider for a successful dog road trip
Although a road trip with a dog might seem like a hassle at first, it is well worth it. Travelling is great as it is, but when you have your best companion with you, it gets even better!
Can my dog be here?
One of the most important things you have to find out before starting your adventure and planning your trip is whether your dog is actually allowed in the area.
Whether it’s a hotel, a restaurant, or a camping park, make sure to read all of the rules. It’s accepted (often even mandatory) that a dog should be kept on a leash and that the owner should clean after the dog’s faeces.
Make sure that your furry friend is adapted to being near other people.
When it is dark outside, children are running, playing ball or cycling, your pet may not be able to control their instincts (such as barking). Therefore you should always keep him close to you, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory.
Never leave your dog alone
When travelling with your furry friend, keep in mind that your dog will be with you at all times (no matter the place). You should not leave your pet in a car, caravan, or tent, especially on hot days. This means planning ahead is essential.
(Note that travelling with a puppy might be even more difficult. They require more attention and are more sensitive to new surroundings and impressions, which you will have a lot during your trip. Puppy’s emotions can affect their future development. Therefore you must think of everything ahead.)
How long can a dog go on a road trip?
For a comfortable journey, try to incorporate frequent breaks every three to four hours when on a long road trip with your dog. This allows for pet relief, a short walk, and hydration. Puppies and senior pets might need breaks more frequently.
Is it hard to take a dog on a road trip?
Taking a dog road trip requires planning and preparation. It’s essential to ensure you have all the necessary supplies, identify pet-friendly accommodations, and know where you can stop for breaks.
How do dogs feel about road trips?
Many dogs enjoy road trips as the car ride can be stimulating for them. The new environments, scents, and the journey itself can be exciting. However, some dogs might feel anxious or car-sick. Try to keep an eye on your pet’s behaviour and ensure they are comfortable during the trip
Are there many dog-friendly road trips in the UK?
The UK has lots of great dog-friendly road trips. There’s plenty of countryside, national parks, and coastal regions, which means there are plenty of routes and destinations that welcome dogs. Additionally, many accommodations, pubs, and attractions across the UK are dog-friendly, making it easier for pet owners to plan a trip.