The Guide to the Ultimate Dog-Friendly Road Trip

There’s nothing better than a warm breeze and a long highway. In fact, many of us here at Auto Accessories Garage think roadtripping should be considered a national pastime. And, since we almost always have a pooch or two wandering the office we decided it might be a good idea to put together a list of do’s and don’ts for when you and your dog hit the open road.

 

Preparation is key

Before you skip town with dog in tow, be sure you’ve acclimated your canine to the rigors of the road. Take him or her on a few short car rides in the weeks leading up to your trip, and if you can, try to gradually lengthen each trip.

WebMD also recommends taking along some comforts from home. A favorite toy and familiar pillow will go a long way in curbing your dog’s homesickness. Your dog can’t be sure of where you’re going or when you’ll get back, but the familiar scent of home will ensure to them that they have nothing to worry about but fun in the sun.

Your vehicle was meticulously designed for your safety, but unfortunately your dog’s safety wasn’t considered in the process. You wouldn’t take to the streets with a child without making sure their seat belt was properly fastened, and you can make the same accommodations for your dog with canine focused attachments.

You’ll also want to prep your vehicle itself. Cute as they are, dogs aren’t known for their cleanliness. A great solution to keeping permanent stains and damages off of your floor boards is a set of all-weather floor mats. They’ll also make it easy to clean off all the dog fur and french fries when you get home.

And finally, be sure to give your vet a call before you leave. This is a good time to make sure your pup is up to date on vaccinations. If you plan on travelling across state lines, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a copy of vaccination records along with you – just in case.

 

During the trip

Eating while on the road can induce motion sickness in your dog, so it’s best to feed them before and after travel, not during. We recommend providing a light meal a few hours before you leave, and then another meal upon reaching your destination for the day. If you can do this while sticking fairly close to your dog’s regular feeding schedule, that’s absolute perfection.

Try to take a fifteen to thirty minute break every three or four hours so you and your dog can stretch your legs and use the restroom. With a little bit of pre-planning you can probably even stake out some pet-friendly attractions, or at least some nice dog parks along the way. This will definitely make the trip more fun for your dog, and it will most likely make it more fun for you as well.

These long periods of travel can put some serious wear and tear on your interior. A lot of dog owners opt to cover their leather or upholstery in custom seat covers. Seat covers serve a number of purposes on a doggy road trip. Not only can they provide a more comfortable seat for your dog, but they also offer a line of defense between your dog and your factory seats. Plus, seat covers will make it a snap to clean up fur.

 

While away

If you can, stick to bottled water for your pup while you’re away from home. As the ASPCA points out, even minor changes in local water treatment facilities can have big impacts on your dog’s digestive system. Best to play things safe with purified water that will go down easy.

With these tips, some pre-planning, and some common sense, you’ll see that taking your dog along for a road trip is not only doable, but it can be an incredible bonding experience for both of you.

Checklist:

  • Food
  • Bowl
  • Leash
  • Scoop
  • Plastic Bags
  • Grooming Supplies
  • Medicine
  • First-Aid
  • Vaccination Records (especially if travelling out of state)

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