Dogs can make great road trip companions, but you'll want to make sure you're prepared for the experience. There are a few things you need to do in order to make sure your dog is comfortable and safe. Keep reading below for some tips to help ensure a smooth trip for everyone.

Is Your Dog Comfortable In a Car?

First and foremost, you'll need to make sure your dog is comfortable in a car. Some dogs take to car rides like a duck to water, while others may get anxious or sick. If your dog falls into the latter category, it's important to slowly acclimate them to car rides before setting off on a long journey.

Start by taking short trips around the block of your neighborhood, then gradually increase the length of the drives. Once you're both comfortable, you can hit the road with confidence knowing that your dog is ready for the ride. If you're unsure if your dog is fit to travel on the road, check with your veterinarian first.

Find a "Dog-Friendly" Route

Just like you, your dog will need to relieve themselves every so often. It's important to choose a route that will allow your dog to take frequent potty breaks. Look for routes that have plenty of dog-friendly rest stops, parks, and gas stations. Once you're on the road, be sure to keep an eye out for signs that your dog needs to stop. If they start pawing at the door or whining, it's time to pull over. Always be sure to carry waste bags with you to clean up after your dog, give them a chance to stretch their legs, and get some exercise at each rest stop.

Make Sure Vaccinations and Tags are Up To Date

Before you hit the open road with your dog, make sure they are in good health and up to date on their vaccinations. Keeping your dog up to date on their shots will help protect them from any diseases they may come into contact with while on the trip, especially if you do any outdoor activities such as hiking, where you and your dog may encounter wildlife. Bringing a copy of your dog's vaccination records along is also a good idea.

Additionally, be sure their ID tags have the correct information. This way, if they happen to get lost, anyone who finds them will be able to easily get in touch with you. By taking these simple precautions, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip for both you and your furry friend.

Bring Food, Water, and Essentials

You know your dog will need food and water at your destination, but they'll need sustenance along the journey too. If possible, try to keep your dog on the same eating schedule they'd follow at home.

Dogs can overheat easily, so take extra care to ensure they stay hydrated throughout the trip. A good rule of thumb is offering them a fresh bowl of water at every stop, at minimum. There are a variety of travel dog bowls and water bottles available to make feeding and hydrating your dog on the go a breeze.

Also, don't forget to pack other travel essentials like treats, toys, a travel bed, a leash, and any medications your dog might need.

a brown dog laying on a Chuckit! Travel bed

Prepare Your Car

Your car needs to be properly equipped, too. After all, dogs can shed, drool, and track in dirt and mud, which can quickly make your car messy and stinky. Dog seat covers can help to protect your upholstery from dirt and hair, and they also create a comfortable space for your dog to relax. You may also want to consider a vehicle barrier, which will keep your dog from roaming around the car and distracting you while you're driving.


Taking a road trip with your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it's important to put in the work to properly prepare for your travels. By following the above tips, you can help ensure that both of you have a great and memorable time on the open road.

Don't forget to stock up on supplies before you go – from bedding and crates to essentials like leashes and collars, Petmate has everything you need to make your trip as easy as possible for both of you.

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