Road Trips with Dogs

Dogs are best friends and loyal companions. They make our homes happier and days more full.  Why wouldn’t you want them by your side while you travel?

Dogs are fantastic adventure and road trip companions, but add a few extra considerations. 

Just like humans, dogs need to have their basic needs met for comfort, security, and nourishment while on the road. Before you and your four-legged best friend take off on your next trip, consider these ideas to keep them safe and happy:

Car safety

People aren’t the only ones who face an extreme risk of injury if they’re not bucked up in a car accident. Dogs can become seriously hurt if they aren’t protected from a potential impact. There are many different devices that act as a seatbelt for your canine co-pilot, regardless of the animal’s size.

If you’re hesitant to spend the money, think about your dog’s safety in the same way you might think of a child’s. They’re safest in the back seats – away from airbags and the windshield. Any kind of divider you can create to prevent your dog from being thrown from the vehicle in the worst case scenario can help save their life.

Water accessibility

Dogs need to quench their thirst at least as often as you do on a trip. However, they can’t carry around a water bottle or drink from the fountain at the rest stop. And a full a water bowl in your car is just a recipe for disaster. At the very least, be sure to carry a container to fill up every time you stop and give your dog a chance to drink their fill.

Another option is a spill-proof dog bowl. My favorite one acts just like a water bottle for your dog, can be available for the whole trip, and won’t leave the entire vehicle soaked. For frequent travelers, it’s a worthy investment.

Temperature control

You don’t pack the same way regardless of weather – neither should your dog. Even though dogs have fur, they’re not as great at temperature regulating as people often think. Helping them stay comfortable while traveling will make their experience even better.

Hot weather

It’s no secret that dogs can get hot – especially if they’re left in the car on a warm day. Even if you’re with them, they can still be uncomfortable. However, there are ways to be sure the dog stays just as happy to be out of the house as you are.

Window covers that reflect the sun can help keep the inside of your car cooler. Buy one or make your own with a material like Reflectix.

Another way to protect your dog from the warm weather, especially if you’re hiking or camping, is to find ways to reduce their contact with the hot ground. A dog bed or blanket can make it more comfortable for them to lie down. Dog shoes – as silly as they might look – will prevent sensitive paw pads from damage by walking on hot surfaces.

Think about the actions you take to keep yourself cool, and chances are your dog will appreciate them too!

Cold weather

Dogs don’t love being cold. Some breeds are made for the snow or ice, but many aren’t. If you’ve got a dog that isn’t a Husky or similar makeup, chances are they’ll need help staying warm on a winter road trip.

Coats help dogs to keep in their body heat, just like humans. Though it may seem pointless to put an extra layer on an animal with fur, it truly does make a difference. Find a coat that maintains its warming properties even when wet will prepare you for snow or muddy hikes.

Also, having a bed or blanket available for dogs to rest outside your car will allow them to enjoy the scenery wherever your road trip takes you – without them having to dig a hole. Dogs dig to find warmer ground underneath the surface. Preventing them from digging will not only make their lives easier but will also keep your car cleaner. Definitely a win-win.

Poop pickup

Though it’s nothing out of the ordinary for dog owners, it’s always a good reminder to pack poop bags. Rest areas and campgrounds are often overrun with areas where dog waste is left behind. It can take years for the environment to break down dog feces.

If you’re not traveling in areas with trash disposal readily available, bring a sealed container to prevent your entire car from smelling.

What’s holding you back from hitting the road? 

Now that you’re armed with even more tips and tools to keep your dog happy on your next road trip, what are you waiting for? Pack up the car and get to the next adventure with your favorite companion by your side.

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