Tips for Safely Road-Tripping With Your Dog this Summer

Summer vacations are some of the best parts about summer. It’s a time when you can get away, relax, and plan some adventures. Not only is a getaway great for you and the family, it can also be really beneficial for your dog as well.

New experiences, smells, and introductions can offer enrichment and socialization that keeps your dog confident and happy. However, road trips can offer some hurdles for pet owners to navigate through as well.

If you’re planning on bringing your dog on a road-tripping adventure this summer, here are some tips to get you and your pup started on the right paw:

Prepare Your Dog for the Drive

Whether you’re carpooling, taking your own ride, or even driving in an RV, each type of trip will require different preparations for your canine.

Dog getting ready to carpool

Carpooling with Your Dog

When carpooling, make sure your dog has plenty of room in the car and is in a safe position, preferably in a crate in case of a wreck. Remember to keep their leash, food, and water readily accessible.

happy dog and owner on a solo road trip

Driving Solo with Your Dog

If you’re taking your own car, your dog may have more room, but make sure they aren’t sticking their head out of the window so that they aren’t injured. Allow them to take plenty of bathroom breaks and opportunities to stretch their legs. 

Girl in RV with her dog

RV-ING with Your Dog

If you’re in an RV, you’ll have the luxury of having a home on wheels. But while you’re packing all of the necessities that you’ll need for an RV trip, don’t forget the necessities for your dog. That includes food, water, their bed, a toy, and their leash. Providing items that smell like home will make them feel safer on the road and in new locations.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Some trips aren’t made for your dog, so it’s important to choose a destination that makes sense for your pup or leave them at home.

If you’re going somewhere where you’ll be in a lot of locations that won’t allow your pup, it’s better to leave them at home than to leave them in your hotel room. Never leave your dog alone in a car or RV — especially during the summer — and if that’s your only option, it’s best not to bring them. 

Some great options for road tripping with your dog include taking them to a beach or a lake, bringing them camping, going to a national park, visiting family, or any vacation where you’re spending a lot of time outside.

Have a Plan for Car Sickness

Just like some humans, some dogs tend to get car sick. Even if your dog hasn’t shown signs of car sickness before, they might begin to show signs on a longer drive.

Scared dog on road trip in the car

Some signs of car sickness in dogs include:

  • Being lethargic
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive yawning or panting
  • Fear
  • Vomiting

Having a car seat cover can be a big help to save your seats from the mess that car sickness can create. Make sure to bring towels and a garbage bag as well.

You can help prevent car sickness in your dog by allowing them to face forward, providing a cool environment, allowing some air movement, or giving them medication from the vet. Also, allow your dog to take plenty of breaks during the drive, and give them a fun toy to help distract them from the nausea.

Prioritize Safety

There are a lot of safety elements involved when you’re taking your dog on a road trip.

  • For one, it’s important to make sure your dog’s ID tags and chip information is up to date in case they get away from you. 
  • Dog insurance can help cover medical costs if your dog gets sick or injured, and visiting an unknown vet while on the road may leave you without payment options.
  • Always be cognizant of your dog’s safety within the car, and their safety out of the car. This means keeping them in a crate when you can, and always keep them on a leash when exiting the car.
  • Always be aware of leash laws, dehydration dangers, and other area unknowns so that your dog is always safe.

Plan for Your Lodging

A summer road trip will inevitably involve you staying somewhere for a night or two. It’s important to plan ahead for your lodging and to make sure that your lodging choice is pet-friendly.

Two dogs on a bed in a pet friendly hotel

If you’re camping or staying in an RV, check with the area you’re staying in prior to arriving to be aware of their policy on pets. If you’re looking for a hotel, find one that is pet-friendly, as many are not.

Even if you’re staying with a friend or family member, it’s important to check with them first before bringing your pup to stay in their home. Whether you’re camping, staying in a hotel, or staying with a friend, check before bringing your dog.

Be Prepared for the Heat

Chances are if you’re on a summer road trip, you’re probably headed to a sunny location with your dog. Though the nice weather will be a lot of fun for both of you, it’s important that you’re prepared for the high temperatures so that your dog is safe and healthy. 

For example, UV light can cause real damage to your eyes, and your dog’s eyes are no different. While you’re driving or near water, the risk can be greater, so it can be helpful to provide them with eye protection.

If your dog has exposed skin, give them a dab of sunscreen. Be cognizant about hot asphalt when you’re on walks, and keep plenty of cool water nearby to help keep them hydrated.

Many summer vacations involve water, which is a great way for you and your dog to stay cool. However, just make sure your dog is watched around water and has a flotation device if they need it. 

If they seem hot, bring them into the water to cool off, but never throw them in if they don’t know how to swim or they are afraid or uneasy around water.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re planning a beach getaway, camping in the wilderness, staying in a cabin in the woods, taking an RV through some national parks, visiting family, or hiking in the outdoors, it’s important to make some preparations before you leave so that you and your dog have the best time possible.

There’s no doubt that you and your dog will love your summer road trip, as long as you are safe and prepared along the way.

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