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16 Tips For Taking Your Dog on a Road Trip

You're headed out on the open road and are looking to bring your furry family member. Before packing all your things and loading Fido into the car, here are 16 things to think about if you're taking your dog on a road trip.

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hotelMichael Pettigrew/Shutterstock

Research Dog-Friendly Spots

Before your road trip, do some research. Make sure your destination is dog friendly, whether it’s a hotel, campground or a friend or family member’s home. Look for dog friendly restaurants and shops nearby. Here are 40 projects to show your dog some love.

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Pack Essentials

Your dog will require his own travel supplies for the road trip, including food and treats, water, poop bags, any medications, a collar and leash, grooming supplies, toys and a dog bed or blanket. Also, bring vet records/vaccination certificates as some places may require them. Check out these eight genius ways to pick up dog poop.

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pawJanSommer/Shutterstock

Bring a First-Aid Kit

It’s always smart to keep a first-aid kit in your vehicle, and if you’re bringing your dog on a road trip, pack one for him or her as well. Pack some gauze, nonadhesive sterile pads, a thermal blanket, hydrogen peroxide and tweezers. Build your own summer car emergency kit.

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Locate Veterinary Clinics

Just in case, make a list of veterinary clinics on your route and bookmark them or put contact information in your phone. This will come in handy if you have a pet health emergency. Here are 12 great ways to keep your dog warm outside.

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Secure Your Dog in the Car

Whenever your vehicle is in motion, it’s best to keep your dog restrained, whether it’s in a kennel or with a pet seat belt. This will not only keep your dog safe on the road trip, but it keeps other passengers safer, as well. Learn how to build a DIY chain link outdoor kennel for your dog.

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Be Mindful of Food

Before you head out on the road, be mindful of how much food you give your dog. Give your dog a light meal about four hours before departure and don’t go overboard on treats until you arrive at your destination. This will help cut down on the likelihood of your dog having an upset stomach. These are the 14 cleaning tips every dog owner should know.

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Watch the Windows

As much as your dog may like to stick their head out the window, it’s best if he or she keeps their head and paws in the vehicle. High winds can be harmful to a pet’s eyes and ears and you also run the risk of them jumping out the window. Build your dog a bowl stand with these DIY plans.

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Pack a Photo

Make sure your have a recent photo of your dog with you on your road trip. This will come in handy in the event your dog runs off and goes missing.

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Consider Microchipping

Microchipping is a safe and effective way to provide an extra level of security in case your dog goes missing. If your dog slips out of his collar and is found, a microchip can be scanned, revealing your contact information.

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Use White Noise

If your dog gets anxious in new places and with unknown noises, try a white noise machine. This may help cut down on your dog barking, especially in a hotel where they could wake up other guests. Eliminate 23 annoying noises forever.

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Stay Organized

You pack a diaper bag for your child, so it also makes sense to pack a doggy organizer. Try using a toiletry bag to pack treats, toys and poop bags and keep them all in one spot for the road trip. Keep all your car care products organized with this DIY system.

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Provide an Activity

If you get bored in the car on a road trip, just imagine how your dog may feel. Give your dog a new toy he or she can safely enjoy in the car, or use a Kong or food puzzle to keep him or she occupied. These are our 17 best tips for pet care and pet safety.

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Do a Test Trip

If this is your first road trip with your dog, make sure he or she is up for the adventure. Do some drives before the trip to make sure everyone’s comfortable in the car. Get your car ready for the trip with these 15 cleaning secrets only detailers know.

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Check the Weather

Before you hit the road, check the weather. For a winter road trip to a cold destination, pack things to keep your dog comfortable, such as an extra blanket, dog jacket or booties to keep paws free from ice and road salt. Your dog will love these 5 DIY pool floaties.

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Maintain a Routine

If your dog is used to getting their breakfast and dinner at a certain time, try to keep to that schedule as much as possible. Keep up with your regular walks and exercise, as a routine will help cut down on extra anxiety while on the road. Check out these throwback dog house plans.

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Have Fun

Once you are prepared and packed for the road trip, don’t forget to have fun. By thinking ahead and doing some pre-planning, both you and your dog should have a great adventure.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.