Taking a Road Trip with your Pup: the Dos and Don'ts

If you are in love with your puppy and can’t stand being separated for very long, holidays travels are certainly no exception. Not only do we miss our pets, it can be difficult and expensive to make sure they are well taken care of when we go out of town.

For many of us, there is no question of whether we will take our dog along, only what mode of transportation we will use. Although traveling by air might be the fastest and safest way to get around this time of year, a road trip may be more affordable and, for some, the only available option.

Here are a few Dos and Don’ts everyone should remember when planning a winter road trip with your pooch.


The Dos

Be prepared for anything! Stay organized by creating a checklist well ahead of time. You know your pooch best, so make sure you’ve packed your car with everything your dog will need for some time away from home. Some items to remember are: collar, tags, leash, water and food bowls, food, bed, blankets, and medications. 

Pack their favorite snacks and toys. A long drive can seem much quicker if your pup is occupied, and keeping them in good spirits will make for a safer, happier trip for everyone. When your friend is content, all you’ll have to worry about is the road and perhaps jamming to classic holiday music.

Consider nausea medication. Car sickness is a real possibility and the smell of puppy barf is no fun for anyone, especially in an enclosed space. Take the time to visit your vet’s office and find out what is best for your pup. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to protect your car seats with some old blankets or towels.

Take pee breaks. Very young and very old dogs tend to pee more frequently. Be prepared for frequent stops so your dog can relieve itself and rehydrate as needed.

Finally, we all know that puppies love their sleep. Taking them out for a long stroll and some play time in the fluffy snow can be the perfect way to get rid of excess energy. Nothing wrong with a short (or long) nap during the ride!




Safety is always the number-one priority when we get behind the wheel, and there are additional considerations when we are traveling with a dog. That means no front-seat action for your pup NO MATTER WHAT, and you should NEVER drive with your dog in your lap. If you fear your pup may need a little more tender love and care while on your trip, consider bringing someone along who can keep them company in the back seat. Of course doggy seatbelts and carriers are always the smartest way to go to ensure your friend is secure, protected and not causing a distraction. 

Don’t leave your dog in a cold car. Dogs can and have died of hypothermia due to being left too long in a car on a freezing day. Take your pup inside with you when you can, and, if you have no other choice, leave the car running with the heat on.

Don’t take a long trip unless your pup is acquainted with car travel. A lengthy road trip with a young puppy can be risky, especially at a time of year when weather and traffic conditions are unpredictable. Motion sickness, anxiety and general unruly behavior can make a the drive more difficult and even dangerous. Getting your friend accustomed to the car is not foolproof, but you will reduce the chance of an incident considerably.

Plenty of planning and preparation will assure you and your pup can handle anything when you hit the road. Most importantly, remember to have fun and happy travels!

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