Traveling with a dog can be loads of fun. I’ve taken mine up the mountains on a day hike, drove to the countryside on several occasions, and even took him to the beach in Bulgaria. Yes, Ares is an international traveler. On all these trips, we’ve gone by car. Ares seems to enjoy road trips as much as I do, so I had to learn what to do for him to feel comfortable, especially during longer drives. I’m here to share some of those experiences with you and hopefully you’ll share yours in the comments.
Should You Take Your Dog on a Road Trip
Not all dogs are okay with car rides. Be it a short drive or a longer road trip, it might just make them sick. I am lucky that Ares took to road trips like a fish to water. Our first adventure happened right when I got him, it was a 60 kilometer drive from the breeder to our place. Then, a week or so later, we drove to my grandma’s in the countryside to spend Christmas with the family. Then came the hikes and the beach trips and more drives to my grandma’s.
The dog I had before Ares could not go on a drive that was longer than fifteen minutes without throwing up. Cleaning after her wasn’t the problem. The fact she felt ill was. So in her case, I avoided car rides like the plague. If you have a dog that doesn’t do well on long drives, consider leaving them home. Here’s my post on what to do when you have to travel and can’t take your dog with you.
How to Make the Road Trip Fun for Your Dog
First of all, make sure your dog is comfortable. Depending on the car, the dog might travel in the trunk if it’s big enough or on the back seat. Either way, make sure he’s comfortable, has enough room to sit and stand or lie down. Talk to him when you can, that usually works on mine when he gets a bit restless.
Second, make sure you take enough breaks. You might be fine with a quick pit stop at a gas station to run to the bathroom and grab a coffee to go, but the dog also needs to stretch a bit, walk around, and… enjoy nature or whatever patch of grass is available. Make sure you stop enough times for both you and your dog to be happy.
Spread your trip into smaller chunks. You might be fine with driving for 12 hours straight, especially if there are two drivers. But your dog needs its meals and exercise. So either divide the drive over two days, or make sure you get enough of a break to walk him a bit, feed him, and make sure he’s taken care of.
When you choose your destination, make sure you’ve researched and found enough dog-friendly activities. If there’s nothing for your dog to do, there’s no point in bringing your pet along. Find out which restaurants and bars are dog friendly, where the fun parks are, or if there is a dog-friendly beach at your seaside destination.
Stay Safe During the Road Trip With Your Dog
This is a road trip like any other. So make sure you’re clear on the itinerary, traffic laws, and what to expect from the roads you’ll be driving on. Make sure your car is checked before you leave, that your insurance is up to date, and that in case of a car accident, you know who to call to help out. Think of your dog’s safety as well, and make sure you use a car harness and that you’ve researched vets at your destination, just in case.
The most important piece of advice for your road trip with your dog is enjoy it! It should be fun and comfortable for you and your pet.