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Tips for Traveling on a Road Trip with a Dog

This post is sponsored by Autotrader; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Last summer our family took our sweet labradoodle, Sophie, on her first road trip. We’d had her for a couple of years and wanted her to come along on vacation. Our trip took us from Seattle to Edmonton, including an overnight stay. Check out these tips for taking a road trip with a dog.

Packing for a Road Trip with a Dog

Knowing what to pack for your dog on a road trip can be the first hurdle. We found that it was actually pretty simple. Here are some of the basics we packed:

  • collapsible food dish
  • collapsible water dish
  • jug of water (in case we didn’t have any at a stop)
  • leash
  • poop bags
  • car harness or crate (for safety)
  • dog first aid kit
  • chew toys
  • bed
  • food & treats
  • wipes
  • medical record card with vaccinations

Related Post: Traveling with Pets :: A to Z Packing Tips

Making Stops

Our family already likes to stop every 2-3 hours when we’re on a road trip, and bringing Sophie along didn’t affect that. That timing seemed to work well for her stretches and bathroom breaks. The main change for us with stops had to do with picking where to stop.

When you’re taking a road trip with a dog, you probably want to identify stops that have grass sections. We found that rest areas are the best places for finding good open space for your pup. You can also look for area parks on a map.

Organizing Your Car for Your Dog

Hopefully you have a great car that will work well for a road trip with dogs. We have a minivan, and lowering the back seats to create a flat spaced worked great for Sophie. Autotrader has created a list of the best cars for dog lovers, plus what makes them work for dogs. Check and see if your car is on the list, or if your car has some of the great dog-friendly features.

ID Your Dog

Another tip before you head out on your trip is to make sure your dog is wearing a collar with contact information. Even better if you have them microchipped. With unknown areas and new experiences, you want to be ready in case fido gets away during your trip.

Check out Autotrader’s Dog Day section for lots of great information about cars and dogs, including more road trip tips. Plus, to celebrate National Dog Day, Autotrader will be releasing a limited time only “New Dog Smell” car freshener. Pet owners can reminisce about that first ride home with our fur baby. For every order made for this hilarious car accessory, Autotrader is giving an in-kind donation to the Humane Society to help support adoption efforts at shelters nationwide!

Hope you found these tips for road trips with dogs helpful! I hope you enjoy celebrating National Dog Day on August 26th!

Heading out on a road trip with your pet? Here's my best tips for traveling with dogs on a road trip.

Heading out on a road trip with your pet? Here’s my best tips for traveling with dogs on a road trip.

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Tuesday 10th of March 2020

Thanks for your helpful post, and glad Sophie enjoyed her adventure. I recently moved cross-country with 2 greyhounds, and would suggest consistently using bottled water - even in hotels - to avoid any stomach bugs, Same with consistent food. With an escape artist, it's double security to have a 2nd ID tag with your license plate and cell#. I found it handy to add travel apps to find dog friendly hotels (some exclude specific breeds and sizes) and pet services. Towels are always handy, along with doggy duds for unexpected weather (we encountered it all). And it goes without saying to be a goodwill ambassador by tipping hotel staff, tidying the room, and always policing poops (even other pooches). And thanks to the McDonald's that served my hounds pup patties on lettuce leaves for class! Style and grace, and the highlight of a 3300-mile trip. :)


Wednesday 11th of March 2020

Great tips, thanks for sharing Dusty! We're headed out soon for another trip with Sophie and will definitely remember to bring some towels!