My favorite way of traveling with Chester and Gretel is road trips. We, of course, like a road trip to lead to trails where we can hike or lake where we can paddleboard but it doesn’t always have to. Sometimes the journey is the destination.
It can rain a lot in the spring and fall in Seattle so a road trip is a good option for us when we feel the urge to explore but the weather is yucky. Road trips are also a great option if you or your dog is injured and your physical activities are limited. While Gretel has been on activity restriction due to her back injury, I’ve strapped her in the car seat and taken her for a ride so she can smell new things, see new scenery, and watch the hustle and bustle of the world. Of course, summer is a great time for road trips too because there is nothing like hitting the road with the windows rolled down, feeling the wind in your hair, listening to your favorite music blasting from your speakers, and looking over to see your pup’s smiling face looking back at you.
Travelling in the car with your dog is literally a choose your own adventure. They can be done in one long day or, if you are lucky, you can take days or weeks to do it. You and your furry friend can venture out to see new areas or landmarks around your state, visit other areas of the country for hiking and exploring, turn a trip to see family or friends into an adventure, or visit one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. – Seattle, our home.
To make sure you and your pup have a good time when you hit the road to travel, be sure to bring these essentials:
- Car seat cover – Buy a car seat cover, or at least lay a blanket over the seat, to protect your car from dirt and muddy paws. A cover means you only need one “shake out” to clean your seats.
- Safety restraint – Whether you choose a crate, barrier, tether, or harness, restricting your dog from moving freely around the car will reduce the potential for driving distractions and, in the case of crash tested restraints, help keep your dog safe if an accident occurs.
- Pet first aid kit – On the road, you may not be near a veterinary office so it’s good to have some supplies on hand to take care of minor issues yourself. You can buy a first aid kit made for dogs or add extra supplies and dog-specific items to your own kit. You can see an example of the pet first aid kit we bring on road trips with us here. To be better prepared, take a pet first aid class so you know how to properly handle any illnesses or injuries that happen on the road.
- Water bowl and bottled water – The heat or air conditioning in the car can make your dog thirsty. Be sure to offer your furry friend water at least every couple of hours on your trip to prevent dehydration.
- Food, treats and medication/supplements – You may be on the road, camping, or staying at a hotel when it’s Fido’s meal time. Be sure to bring your dog’s regular food and treats so that new foods don’t cause upset stomach or allergies while you are on your adventure (or, in the case of special travel food, introduce it to them a week or two before your trip). Also bring their medication and supplements to keep up the same heath routine as at home.
- Leash and collar or harness – If your dog walks out to the car by themselves, these things could be easy to forget. Be sure to throw them in your gear bag so your dog doesn’t get stuck waiting in the car while you are out having fun. It’s also a great idea to throw a spare leash in the car in case your’s gets misplaced or you run into a lost dog.
- Poop bags – There are “scoop the poop” laws in most urban areas, in parks, and on designated hiking trails. Don’t forget to throw in enough bags for your whole trip.
- Current identification tags – A pet ID tag is a must. A simple engraved tag will do but consider a digital ID tag that you can update on the fly. Digital pet ID tags contain a QR code or code that point people to a website where you’ve provided travel information and multiple contact numbers. With all of the information you can list “on” a digital ID tag, people that find your pet can easily track you down on the road. Some tags, like PetHub ID Tags (sponsored), also have the number of a 24-hour lost pet hotline on the back. If you are unsure if you need a digital pet ID tag, check this out.
- Proof of vaccinations – Proof of vaccination will be required if you need to drop Fido off at a daycare or a kennel while you go explore where dogs aren’t allowed, like trails in most National Parks. Even if you plan to only go places your dog is welcome, vaccination records are good to have if there is a natural disaster or your dog gets in a fight with another dog.
- Your camera! – Road trips are a blast so you’ll want photos to document you adventures to share with friends and family, share on social media, and so you can look back on your memories for years to come.
Have you ever taken a road trip with your dog? Where did you go?