Preparing your dog for a road trip

Planning a road trip? Have you thought about taking your dog along? If so, here’s how to get your road trip ready, so you can have a great holiday together.

One of the best things about owning a dog is being able to take them with you on holiday – maybe you managed to do that over the recent long weekends. But before your take your furry friend out on the road, there are some things to consider and prepare – both for your sanity and the safety of your dog!

1. Getting them used to longer car trips

Road trips are generally a bit longer than a trip to the vet, or the local park or beach where you take them to let off some steam. So, you first want to make sure your dog is happy being in a car and can happily chill in the back while you concentrate on driving. To get them used to being in the car for longer periods of time, gradually increase the duration of these shorter trips. Just remember, though, to never leave your dog in a car unattended.

2. Restraints

Restraining your dog is also a good idea – both to keep them from distracting you, as well as for their safety if something goes wrong. You can buy special dog car safety harnesses that attach to your existing seat belts to keep your pup restrained.

3. Pit stops

Make sure you give them plenty of pit stops and access to water and have enough water in your car so you don’t have to rely on finding taps along the way. While many dogs can go a while without needing to toilet, giving them the opportunity to stretch their legs and answer the call of nature needs to be factored into your travel time. If you can, have water accessible for them throughout your trip but, at minimum, offer them regular opportunities to have a drink.

4. Pack the essentials

Make sure to pack all their essentials. Just like you wouldn’t leave home without your comfiest pair of pants, cell phone, or a good book, you also shouldn’t leave home without your dog’s essentials. This could include a comfy bed, a few of their toys, and let’s not forget their favourite snacks, food, and medication. It may also pay to bring along their vaccination record, in case you end up needing to pop them in a kennel for the night, or they need veterinary attention.

5. Sleeping arrangements

While we may let our dogs sleep on our couch and bed and have uninhibited access around our home, not all accommodation is as welcoming. Make sure that where you’re planning to stay – whether it’s an Airbnb, campsite or hotel – is dog friendly and that they're expecting you to arrive with your pooch. And be sure to follow local rules about where your dog can and can’t go!

A road trip with your furry companion is a great way to explore the world together. And, with a bit of planning and a few extras to pack, you and your dog will have a great, safe time out on the road.