7 Tips For Road Trip With Puppy You Need To Know

Traveling with dogs can be as stress-inducing as travelling with small children, but it doesn’t need to be. If you get your dog used to travel at a young age, and make sure to account for the way their needs are different from yours. It’s not too complicated to have a safe road trip with puppy. Follow these tips, and you’ll be sharing the adventure in no time.


1. Know Your Dog Before You Go

This should go without saying, but it is not a good idea to have a six month or under puppy on a long trip. Dogs that are still in training can be unpredictable, especially when being presented with so many new people and places at once. The last thing you want is to explain to the nice, pet-friendly hotel staff that usually Fido is housebroken but… or that your dog, who has had a very long drive and is not used to so many new smells and people is not usually aggressive.

Get to know your dog’s habits and anxieties before you tackle something like a road trip together. It’s safer and more comfortable for both of you. And it means you get some great bonding time too!

2. Practice With Shorter Car Trips

service dogs are not the same as emotional support dogs

Speaking of bonding time, the best way to know when your dog is ready for a long car trip is practice runs with smaller car trips. Dogs thrive on routine and structure, so the more your dog knows what to expect, the better it will be for you.

Start them riding in the car with you early, while they’re still in puppy stages. Start with ten minute drives. Get the dog used to the smell of the car, to his designated seat, whether it be a crate, or a doggy seat belt (more about that below), and to what happens when the car stops, whether it be for a break, or because you’ve reached your destination.

The more confident your dog is in shorter car rides, the more comfortable she’ll be for the longer trips.

3. Make A Doggy Packing List

Any avid traveler is more than used to packing lists. Don’t forget your dog needs one too! It should include a pet bed, travel food and water dish. Ideally, something that can be brought and refilled on the go, a few toys, treats, and travel equipment like a leash, harness, and doggy seatbelt or hammock. 

Remember to bring your dog’s food. Switching food on the go may cause intestinal distress, and the last thing you want is to get somewhere only to find they don’t have your dog’s preferred food!

It’s also worth thinking about what you need when you get to the destination, in terms of how pet-friendly the accommodation is and whether or not your require a compact air purifier for pets to ensure you keep the place as fresh and as clean as when you arrived.

4. …And An In-The-Car List

Anyone who’s had a dog knows, they’re basically toddlers, even when they’re full grown. They’ll need to be kept entertained and kept safe in the car on a long drive. Packing for when you get to your destination is one thing, and it’s definitely important.

But there are some things you’ll definitely want on hand with you, so you’re not digging into the trunk at odd moments.

  • Definitely keep a leash available at all times for breaks, as well as a water dish you can easily refill at every stop.
  • A water bottle specifically for the dog’s dish is a great way to keep the dog hydrated between stops.
  • Doggy poo bags are another great thing to have on hand.
  • A Kong ball or chew toy, preferably one that won’t be ripped to pieces will keep the dog busy on a long journey
  • A seat guard will stop her being able to jump up unexpectedly.

That keeps the ride safe for everyone.

5. Safety First!

Speaking of safety - safety, of both your dog and your family should be paramount in your mind when you’re planning a trip. A doggy seat belt is a great way to keep your dog safe if you stop suddenly. It also prevents the dog from jumping up.

Remember, they’re most effective when hooked up to a harness, rather than a collar. The safest form of carriage for your dog is obviously a pet carrier or cage, that has been belted into the seat. Never let your dog ride in front, as a sudden jump can risk everyone in the car.

For added protection, especially in summer months, use a windscreen shade in your front, back and side windows, to cool the inner temperature of your car and keep your dog safe.

6. Take Lots Of Breaks

train your dog to stop howling

Before getting into a car for a long journey, help your dog burn off some energy by going for a run, or playing a good game of fetch. While you’re driving, it’s a good idea to take regular breaks.

That doesn’t just mean bathroom breaks. Obviously, these are essential, but every second bathroom break, take an extra ten or fifteen minutes to throw a tennis ball, or play some tug of war. Don’t let the dog get overexcited, but definitely give the opportunity to burn off some excess energy.

7. Spend Time In The Hotel After You Arrive

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, set up your dog’s pet bed, and spend some times getting acquainted with the room. Let the dog sniff around, and get comfortable in new surroundings.

Be sure to keep a leash on at all times. Even the best behaved dogs at the most pet-friendly hotels need supervision and guidance. It’s still a new place, which can bring out unexpected behaviors in your dog

After you’ve unpacked, take your furry friend for a long walk to stretch her legs and get to know her new surroundings. The faster you can get back to the familiar, the better it will be for everyone.

Final Thoughts

Your dog is your best friend, so of course, you want to share everything. Sharing your love of travel may take a little extra work, but it’s not as complicated or as difficult as you might think to travel long-distance with your dog.

Keeping in mind your dog’s personality and needs, and getting them excited about a car ride from an early age are key to having a great trip together. A great trip means great new horizons to conquer with your best friend! 



Patrick Holmes

Patrick Holmes is an indoor air quality specialist at Home Air Quality Guides. His passion is to help people create cleaner, healthier and more comforting environments inside their homes by sharing expert advice that's easy to follow. He enjoys writing in-depth articles on air purification, household cleaning tips, home maintenance advice and more.

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