Essentials for a Perfect
Road Trip with your Dog

Who’s got an epic road trip playlist, a cooler full of snacks and a comfy blanket for your favorite sidekick? That’s right, you do! Before taking your pet for long trips or short car rides, it’s a good idea to be prepared. A Road Trip with dog is a great idea, especially if it’s one of your dog’s favorite activities.

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Before you Hit the Road

Before you jump in the car and ready yourself for a road trip with dog or dogs, it’s important to have a game plan.

No matter where you go – to a local or not-so-local dog park or a long road trip, being prepared is your best bet.

Lucky for you, I have made a checklist of things that you need and essentials you should always have when leaving the house and going in the car.


Plan Your Trip ahead of Time

Although it may sound silly, a rough itinerary is essential when going on a road trip with dog. A simple outing to the dog park may end up with a drive to the grocery store or supermarket too.

And what may seem like a good idea because the weather looks great on your app, may end up disastrous if the weather suddenly turns.

Making a short list of where you plan to go is your best option when planning a successful road trip. Included on your list should be a number of pet-friendly hotels, dog-friendly restaurants that are along the way and any dog-friendly attraction that may be en route.

Taking notes for road trip with dog

Have a Packing List

Just like when you leave the house with children, taking a road trip with dog or dogs should encompass having necessary essentials.

Prepare for the Worst Case Scenario

Car sickness in dogs is real. Motion sickness can happen to both small dogs and larger dogs.

My number one tip for minimizing mess in the car and the best way to protect your seats is to cover the seats with these great seat covers.

In addition to the seat covers, you should always keep on hand paper towels and disposable bags for the mess, whether the bags are these poop bags or these small garbage can bags is up to you.

Driving with an open window may help minimize car sickness. Even during shorter trips, an open window will help.

Give yourself plenty of time

Some dogs have travel anxiety, so a good starting point may be to begin with short drives. Making the increments longer and longer while taking short trips is a good way of getting your dog used to the car and will make your dog your best travel companion.

Pack Snacks and a Cooler

In order to save money and minimize frustration, I always pack snacks beforehand and this is even more important when road tripping with your pet. You don’t want to start feeding your dog regular food while on the road because the last thing you want is for your dog to have an upset stomach.

A cooler may be essential if your pet has health issues and takes medication, because keeping medications in hot cars will ruin the meds. Even if you’re going on a short ride, it’s never a good idea to leave it in a car.

Pack his/her favorites so that car travel is fun. This is your best bet to make it a great experience for everyone.

Dog treats are the perfect snack for road trip with dog

Pack the Essentials for your Road Trip with dog

Make sure you have what you need before you go, including:

Pet First Aid Kit

This vital piece of equipment is all you’ll need in case of an emergency. It’s small and discreet but packs a punch with gauze, disposable gloves, sting relief and so much more. This is a wonderful peace of mind to have for under $15.

Car Seat for Small to Medium Dogs

How cute will your dog look and secure he/she will feel when in this booster seat? It easily connect to the car seat belt. This is the perfect way to contain your little furry friend and is a great deal under $25.

Things you May Not have thought of

Some dog owners prefer to have the dog(s) in the back of an SUV or truck while taking a road trip. This is often more ideal for long drives when some dogs get tired and need more room.

For larger dogs that prefer to relax and sleep in their dog crate, this SUV Cargo Liner may be the best thing you purchase.

Car Seat Covers

Whether you plan to sit your dog in the front seat or in the back, car seat covers are an essential you may think you don’t need until you do.

The first one pictured is perfect for the back seat. It’s a waterproof cover that helps save your car’s upholstery from accidents, as well as, vomit.

The second one covers one seat and is perfect for the dog who travels in the front seat.

What to take for a longer Road Trip with dog

For longer trips this plush dog car bed is the perfect solution. Unlike the back car seat pictured above, this larger dog car bed gives your dog a more positive experience while traveling.

Some little dogs feel uneasy and unsteady in the back seat, so before you hit the open road why not consider purchasing a booster seat, like the one pictured above and below.

It resembles the dog beds that most have at home and many pet owners give this items rave reviews on Amazon.

Plush Dog Bed Booster Seat for car

This cute little plush bed is the perfect way to travel with your small dog or cat. It can be placed in either the front or the back seat. Your dog is secured with a sturdy belt attached to your dog’s harness. It can also be used at home too.

Where can I take a Road Trip with my Dog?

Now that you have a good list to start planning your road trip with dog, where can you go?

Contrary to popular belief, there are many outdoor places to visit with your dog. One of the best ones in the Hudson Valley NY are:

  • New York Historic Sites
  • National Historic Sites
  • State Parks
  • National Parks
  • A local park
Historic Sites are perfect for a road trip with dog
Washington Headquarters in Newburgh, NY

READ MORE: Click here to see a FULL list of Hudson Valley Historic Sites
you can visit with your dog
(Many allow dogs in their grounds)

Best Tips for a Perfect Road Trip

The importance of Regular Breaks when Driving

Older dogs and especially puppies need potty breaks just like we do.

Now, I don’t want you to not offer your dog water, but keep in mind that frequent potty breaks may be needed. Luckily, many gas stations and rest stops offer an area to walk your dog. Although it’s a new place and an unfamiliar environment, the important thing is to be patient.

Road trip with dog rest stop

Some pit stops may be longer than others, but the important thing is to have your pet make a positive association with every bathroom break. Although frequent stops may be inconvenient and may not take up the same amount of time, your dog will appreciate being out of the car.

This may make the difference in your pet being cooperative for the next road trip.

The following travel dog bowls are perfect for any outing:

Travel Container and 2 Collapsible Bowls

This is a highly rated item on Amazon and I can see why. The large container holds water while the 2 collapsible bowls (one for food and the other for water) clip conveniently to the side of the water container.

Pack your dog’s ID tag and important paperwork

With advance planning, frustrations will be minimal and you can have the perfect road trip with your pet. Keeping your dog safe is the number one priority so make sure you have in your possession/car:

  • Updated contact information on your dog’s ID tag, including your cell phone number
  • Vaccination certificates and Health Records in case you have to make an emergency

Pet safety does not only include a first aid kit, but an anxious dog may have a tendency of fleeing an unknown or unfamiliar situation.

Dog with ID tag

Final Thoughts

If you are apprehensive about taking a road trip with dog and need some more help, don’t be afraid to hire a professional dog trainer to give you strategies. This will then guarantee that you and furry sidekick will have a great time.

Sometimes also having another family member or best friend along for the trip with ease the stress of driving and taking care of your dog and may be the safest way to road trip, especially if it’s your first time doing so.

Until the Next Adventure…

Signature for Tails of the Hudson Valley