How to Road Trip with Your Dog

As a proud pet owner, you likely want to take your furry best friend along on all of your adventures. However, even if your pooch is the most well-behaved canine in the world, traveling with him can present quite the challenge if you aren’t prepared.

If you’re traveling long distances by car with your dog, here are some tips for doing so comfortably.

Pack All of the Proper Supplies

If you’re stressing over what to put in your suitcase for yourself, you may risk under-packing for your dog. Here’s a quick checklist so you can ensure you’ll have all of the essentials.


While this may seem obvious, food can easily be forgotten. Try packing all of your dog’s normal food and treats. For example, if he usually eats a mixture of dry and wet food, bring this combination along with you. This way, you can keep parts of his routine consistent even in the midst of a trip filled with unpredictable events.

Consider investing in some portable pop-up food and water dishes so he has a way to easily stay well-fed and hydrated.

Collar & Leash

Pack a collar (or harness if that’s what you usually use) and leash so you can keep your pup within sight at pit stops and at your final destination.

Dog Bed

Sitting in a car for a long period can get uncomfortable for anyone, including your dog who’s not used to being on the road for long stretches. Invest in a cozy dog bed and cushions so he’s not confined to the car floor for the whole trip.

You can also throw some of your dog’s favorite chew toys in the car. These will keep him preoccupied and make your vehicle feel a little bit more like home. In a familiar environment, your pup will be more likely to be on his best behavior.

Medications or Supplements

If your pooch normally takes medications or supplements, make sure to take them along! It’s important that he receives these essentials even when he’s away from his normal routine at home.


Once you get to your lodging place, you may need a crate to keep your dog under control. A crate will allow you to peacefully go out to dinner without having to worry about your dog running loose around your hotel room or host’s home.

Tips for Planning Your Trip

If you’re planning your road trip with your pup, you should think about your final destination. Where will you be staying? Do they allow pets? If your dog is a service animal who assists with seizures, psychiatric disorders, or other medical conditions, you should register him as a service dog. There are many benefits to registering your service dog. For example, you can receive updates surrounding legal changes that can affect where you can bring your dog in public.

Another piece of advice: don’t worry about small changes in your dog’s routine. Think about yourself as a traveler: do you eat and sleep at the same time or as frequently as you do at home? Chances are, the answer is no. Don’t expect your pooch to follow his exact everyday routine. Let go of expectations and you will have a much more enjoyable trip all around.

With this in mind, you should still be attentive to your dog’s needs. Make sure your pup can handle the activities you have planned. If you are planning on going on a long, grueling hike and he isn’t used to strenuous exercise, consider leaving him behind with a fellow traveler who will be sitting out on the hike. Your main goal should be to keep your dog safe while simultaneously having a fun time.


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