Save on Pinterest

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.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

1 / 16
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.

For licensing/usage please contact [email protected]

2 / 16

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. Pack them alongside your own road trip essentials. These rooftop cargo carriers might be a good pick to store and transport all your gear.

Check out these eight genius ways to pick up dog poop.

3 / 16

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.

4 / 16

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.

5 / 16

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.

6 / 16
eatDmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

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.

7 / 16

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.

8 / 16

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.

9 / 16
dogSonsedska Yuliia/Shutterstock

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.

10 / 16

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.

11 / 16
bag Javier Brosch/Shutterstock

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. Bonus: Use these travel organizers to have easy access to all your belongings, too.

Keep all your car care products organized with this DIY system.

12 / 16

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.

13 / 16
travelLittle Moon/Shutterstock

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 cleaning secrets only detailers know.

14 / 16
coat Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

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.

15 / 16

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.

16 / 16

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
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.