Taking a Road Trip with a Dog or Puppy

Dog waiting in car

Many individuals like traveling to the four corners of the United States and beyond, and going cross-country with their dog may elevate the experience to new levels. Regardless of how much you enjoy road trips, it's critical to plan ahead of time before choosing whether or not a road trip is a smart idea.

Even the most seasoned might not be comfortable if he or she is crammed into the back seat of a car for 12 hours while you travel across the nation. If you prepare your dog (and yourself) for the journey before it starts, you'll be able to predict how your dog will react in an emergency and keep both of you safe and healthy.

Just like you wouldn't go on a road trip without a good supply of snacks, you shouldn't take your dog on a road trip without planning beforehand. Continue reading for advice on how to prepare for a road trip with your dog or puppy.

What Does Your Dog Need?

Dog food and medicines appear to be simple requirements (if your dog takes medicine). That isn't all, though. What are you going to feed the dog? Where do you keep your food? What about dog bowls and water? All of this takes up valuable space in your vehicle.


The ideal answer is to acquire a 10-pound sealable food bin for the food and then place any pharmaceuticals in the remaining space within the bin. You should also pack a Ziploc bag holding vet paperwork, food bowl, water bowl, and collapsible travel water bowl.

Comfort Items

Some dogs, particularly puppies, require comfort or enrichment things. Because pups develop so quickly, they require many feedings throughout the day. Between meals, bring some snacks. Include a few decent chew bones (particularly for teething pups) as well as some comfortable bedding for them to spread out on. Some dogs may be pleased with a bone or chewable object as enrichment, but consider what would keep your dog active or diverted during a period of heavy traffic. If your dog like peanut butter, now is an excellent time to place a teaspoon inside a hollow bone. Dogs might get preoccupied for hours attempting to grab the last lick of the substance.

A Sweater or Jacket

Consider the climate in which you will be going. Is it going to be cold? If your dog has a thin hair, no undercoat, or very little body fat, he or she may become chilly quickly, so bring a dog sweater or jacket with you.

Training and Preparation for the Road

Before taking your dog on a country-wide tour, you have got to make sure they are a good canine citizen. Good dog behavior should refined by practicing the following skills:

  • Politely walking on a leash without pulling
  • Not jumping up on people upon meeting and greeting
  • Waiting to get out of the car until released
  • Socializing with new dogs
  • Coming back to you in an emergency situation


Off-leash vocal control of your dog is essential if your dog is ever unleashed outside.

These actions don't have to be faultless, although some are required, such as waiting until requested to exit an automobile. If you have a flat tire, pull over to the side of the road, open your door, and your dog follows you, it can be a dangerous situation, especially if you're near to moving traffic. You must educate your dog to wait—working on each of these habits before embarking on your road trip is critical for your dog's safety and mutual satisfaction.

Medical Preparation

Make sure your dog is up to date on shots and that you have a paper copy of those records before leaving. A health certificate from your veterinarian is also recommended. Health certifications are necessary to travel a pet anyplace and may come in handy if your dog's health is questioned by law enforcement.

Getting a full physical before you depart is beneficial. This way, you can rest certain that your dog is in good condition before venturing into the unknown without access to a regular, well-known veterinarian.

Travel Practice

Begin slowly and gradually increase your dog's automobile rides. Begin with daily brief automobile journeys to work or the park in the neighborhood. Then on to hour-long vehicle journeys to enjoyable locations such as a lake or another park. A lovely mountain, river, or lake is usually within an hour of any big city and would make a terrific day excursion. If your dog hasn't been on many lengthy vehicle rides, make it a point to take him on one or two that last 5 to 10 hours.

The Mental, Emotional, and Physical Toll of Traveling on a Dog

It should be your objective to make traveling enjoyable for your dog. Make sure the dog is sufficiently exercised and exhausted before going in the car. Treat your dog to a full day of doggie daycare the day before you go on a long trip. It is not only excellent for the dog, but it also allows you to load the car and clean the house without having to worry about the dog. Your dog can play with dog buddies all day while you do your thing (perhaps even with a bath or spa time). You can finish all of your tasks without worrying about the dog, and the dog will be ready for the automobile travel the next day. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

Take frequent toilet stops once you've started the road so your dog may stretch his legs and scent a new state. should be given on a regular basis as a reward for being a nice vehicle buddy. Keep things lighthearted to ensure that your four-legged partner is always eager to board the next excursion.