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Road Trips with Dogs: 8 Best Tips to Make it a Tail-Wagging Adventure

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Written By Adeyemi Adetilewa

If you are a proud dog parent, you know how hard it is to leave your furry friend behind, even for a short while. That is why road trips with dogs have become increasingly popular over the years.

Whether you are going on a weekend getaway or a cross-country journey, hitting the road with your dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience and one of life’s greatest pleasures. With the wind in your hair and your dog’s head hanging out the window, there is no better feeling than going on road trips with dogs and going on new adventures together.

However, the best road trips with dogs require some extra planning to ensure both you and your pup have a safe and enjoyable trip.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about taking a road trip with your dog, from planning your route and packing essentials to finding pet-friendly accommodations and managing your dog’s behavior on the road.

Planning for Your Road Trips with Dogs

Planning a road trip with your dog takes a bit more preparation than a solo adventure.

Planning for Your Road Trips with Dogs

Before you hit the road with your dog, it is important to make some preparations. Here are some tips to help you plan your road trip with your dog:

1. Choose Your Destination

The first step in planning your road trip with your dog is to choose your destination. When deciding where to go, keep in mind that not all destinations are pet-friendly.

Consider the following factors when choosing your destination:

  • Is the location pet-friendly?
  • Are there pet-friendly accommodations?
  • Are there activities you can do with your dog?

2. Pack the Essentials

Make sure you have all the necessary items your dog needs for the trip, including:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Leash and collar with ID tags
  • Dog food and treats
  • Medications and supplements
  • First aid kit
  • Blanket and bedding
  • Toys and chews
  • Waste bags

3. Plan Your Route

Plan your route ahead of time, and make sure to research dog-friendly stops along the way. You’ll want to find rest areas, parks, and restaurants that allow dogs.

It is also important to keep in mind the length of your trip and plan regular breaks for your dog to stretch their legs and relieve themselves.

4. Check Your Dog’s Health with Your Vet

Before embarking on a road trip with your dog, make sure they are up-to-date on all their vaccinations and have had a recent check-up with their vet.

It is also a good idea to bring your dog’s health records with you in case of an emergency. If your dog gets car sick, ask your vet for medication to help ease their nausea.

5. Practice Car Rides

If your dog isn’t used to car rides, take them on a few short trips before embarking on a long road trip. This will help them get used to the car and reduce their anxiety.

On the Road with Your Dog

On the Road with Your Dog

Now that you’ve planned your road trip with your dog, it is time to hit the road! Here are some tips for a successful road trip with your dog:

6. Secure Your Dog

It is important to keep your dog secure while driving. The safest way to do this is by using a harness that attaches to the seatbelt.

You can also use a crate or carrier, but make sure it is big enough for your dog to move around comfortably.

7. Take Regular Breaks

Dogs need regular breaks to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and stay hydrated.

Make sure to take frequent breaks to allow your dog to stretch their legs and use the bathroom. You can also use these breaks to give your dog some water and food.

8. Keep Your Dog Comfortable

Make sure your dog is comfortable during the ride. You can use a blanket or bed to give them a cozy spot to rest. You can also crack a window to give them some fresh air.

9. Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone

Never leave your dog alone in the car, especially on a hot day. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature in the car can rise quickly and put your dog’s health at risk.

10. Keep Your Dog Entertained

Long car rides can be boring for dogs, so make sure to bring toys and treats to keep them entertained. You can also play games with your dog, such as “I Spy” or “Find the Treat.”

11. Be Prepared for Motion Sickness

Some dogs experience motion sickness on long car rides. If your dog is prone to motion sickness, speak to your vet about medication or natural remedies that can help alleviate its symptoms.

You can also try feeding your dog a small meal a few hours before the trip and avoiding feeding them during the car ride.

12. Manage Your Dog’s Behavior

Your dog’s behavior can have a significant impact on your road trip experience. Make sure to train your dog before the trip to obey basic commands such as sit, stay, and come.

If your dog is prone to anxiety or stress, consider using a calming aid such as a thunder shirt or pheromone spray.

13. Follow Pet-Friendly Rules

When traveling with your dog, it is important to respect pet-friendly rules and regulations. Keep your dog on a leash in public areas, clean up after them, and be mindful of noise levels to avoid disturbing other guests.

Finding Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Finding Dog-Friendly Accommodations

Finding dog-friendly accommodations is a crucial part when planning road trips with dogs. Here are some tips for finding the best pet-friendly hotels and lodging options:

14. Do Your Research

Before booking a hotel or rental, research dog-friendly accommodations in your destination.

Look for hotels that offer pet-friendly amenities such as dog beds, bowls, and treats. You can also use pet-friendly travel apps and websites to find the best options.

15. Check for Fees and Restrictions

Many pet-friendly hotels charge additional fees for pets, and some have breed and size restrictions. Make sure to read the hotel’s pet policy before booking to avoid any surprises.

16. Consider Alternative Pet-Friendly Accommodations

If you are traveling on a budget, consider alternative lodging options such as vacation rentals or camping. Many vacation rentals allow pets, and camping is an excellent option for dogs who love the great outdoors.

Best Destinations For Road Trips with Dogs in the USA

Destinations for the Best Road Trips with Dogs in the USA

One of the best parts of road trips with dogs is finding new and exciting dog-friendly destinations. Here are some of the best dog-friendly destinations in the United States:

1. Asheville, North Carolina: This charming mountain town is full of dog-friendly restaurants, breweries, and parks. It is also home to the Biltmore Estate, a dog-friendly mansion, and gardens.

2. Sedona, Arizona: Sedona is known for its stunning red rock formations and is home to numerous hiking trails that allow dogs. There are also many dog-friendly restaurants and hotels in the area.

3. Portland, Oregon: Portland is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States

4. San Diego, California: San Diego has plenty of dog-friendly beaches, parks, and restaurants. You can even take your dog on a whale-watching tour or visit the famous Balboa Park.

5. Bar Harbor, Maine: Bar Harbor is a beautiful coastal town that is home to Acadia National Park, a dog-friendly national park with over 120 miles of hiking trails.

6. Austin, Texas: Austin is known for its vibrant music scene, but it’s also a dog-friendly destination. There are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants, parks, and events in the city.

7. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada: Lake Tahoe is a popular vacation destination for both humans and dogs. There are plenty of dog-friendly beaches, hiking trails, and even a dog-friendly paddlewheel boat tour.

8. Napa Valley, California: Wine lovers can bring their furry friends to Napa Valley, where many wineries allow dogs. There are also plenty of dog-friendly restaurants and hotels in the area.

9. Burlington, Vermont: Burlington is a charming town on the shores of Lake Champlain that is full of dog-friendly restaurants and parks. You can even take your dog on a brewery tour!

10. Savannah, Georgia: Savannah is a beautiful historic city with plenty of dog-friendly activities. You can take your dog on a ghost tour or visit the famous Forsyth Park.

FAQs about Road Trips with Dogs

Q: Can I bring my dog to a hotel or Airbnb?
A: Many hotels and Airbnb allow dogs, but it is important to check their pet policy before booking.

Q: What should I do if my dog gets car sick?
A: Talk to your vet about medication to help ease your dog’s nausea. You can also try feeding your dog a small meal a few hours before the trip and taking frequent breaks.

Q: Can I bring my dog to a restaurant?
A: Many restaurants allow dogs on their outdoor patios, but it is important to check with the restaurant beforehand.

Q: How can I keep my dog entertained during the road trip?
A: Bring plenty of toys and chews for your dog to play with during the trip. You can also play games with your dog, such as “Find the treat” or “Name that tune”.

Q: Can I bring my dog on a plane instead of on a road trip?
A: Yes, you can bring your dog on a plane, but it is important to research the airline’s pet policy and requirements before booking.

Some airlines only allow pets in the cargo hold, while others allow small pets in the cabin. Make sure to book in advance and bring all the necessary paperwork and supplies for your pet.

Q: What should I do if my dog gets sick or injured during the trip?
A: If your dog gets sick or injured during the trip, seek veterinary care immediately. Research animal hospitals and emergency clinics in your destination before the trip, so you know where to go if an emergency arises.

Q: How can I make sure my dog is comfortable during the trip?
A: To make sure your dog is comfortable during the trip, bring their favorite bedding and toys, and stick to their regular feeding and exercise routine as much as possible. Keep them secure and entertained in the car, and take regular breaks for exercise and potty breaks.

Road Trips with Dogs


Road trips with dogs can be a fantastic adventure for both you and your furry companion. With some extra planning and preparation, you can ensure safe, enjoyable, and the best road trips with dogs.

Remember to pack the essentials, plan your route, research pet-friendly accommodations and activities, and check with your vet before hitting the road.

Once you are on the road, secure your dog, take frequent breaks, manage your dog’s behavior, and keep your dog comfortable. And don’t forget to explore dog-friendly destinations along the way. Most importantly, have fun and create unforgettable memories with your dog!

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