A Complete Guide to Road Tripping With Pets

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Why travel alone when you can bring your fur babies along?

Road Tripping is always fun, but they are even better when you can bring your pet with you! As someone who’s driven over 3,000 miles with two dogs, I’d like to think I’m somewhat experienced in this topic. With so many places becoming more pet friendly every day, it’s getting easier to road trip with your fur family.

I have two completely different dogs, so there are a lot of things to consider prior to taking a road trip. One dog is small, the other is medium-sized, both have completely different personalities, and one has anxiety along with motion sickness. You might guess, traveling with both of them can get somewhat tricky. This is what I’ve learned and what will help you to plan for a successful road trip, and to make adjustments if issues pop up while you’re on the road.

Pup At The Vets Office

Go to the Vet Prior to Road Tripping PC: CVETS

Go to the Vet

Some dogs have anxiety or are prone to motion sickness. This is why it is important to go to the vet and discuss your options. What may work for one dog may not work for another. My smaller dog can sleep through the entire trip (although when she was younger, it was a little harder getting her to not be so anxious), whereas the bigger one has a lot of trouble in the car. She gets motion sickness, which we found out the hard way. The vet can give you over-the-counter options and prescription options, depending on what they feel would be better. If you have a pet that is prone to motion sickness, ask about Cerenia.

Related: Are you a human who gets car sick?  Our tips will help!

Pup Getting Ready For A Road Trip

This pup is ready for his next adventure! PC: Ellen Ross

Make a Few Practice Trips First

If you’ve never gone further than 15 miles away from home, you should take practice trips. This is how you will see what your pet can handle.  You’ll also be able to find out how your pet prefers to sit and/or lay down, or if they like to bark at everything they see.

Pet Travel Restraints 101

Follow this Guide for proper restraint usage.

Pet Safety

When traveling with pets, they should be treated as family. Which means, safety should be a priority not only for yourself, but for your pets. Pets should always be transported safely and comfortably, which can be a challenge. The list above shares pet travel safety tips and ways to get your pet acclimated to new restraint systems. And, keep in mind that many states have pet restraint laws that apply while you’re on their roads.

 Related: What you need to know about pet restraints for road tripping fur mamas.

Dogs On A Road Trip In An Car

Getting ready to go for a quick walk after being in a car forever. PC: Monica Siembieda

What to Pack For Your Pup

There are so many things you can pack, but here are the essentials:

  • Food/water bowls
  • Medication (if they need it)
  • Paper towels/cleaning supplies (in case they have an accident in the car)
  • Treats, food, and water (you can never be too careful with tap water in other states, better to be safe than sorry)
  • Poop bags (it’s just rude to leave their number two’s for someone else to pick up or worse; step in!)
  • Blankets (they make special ones for car rides with your pet)
  • Leashes/harnesses
  • Seat belts or restraints
  • Last, but not least, their favorite toy.

Related: Do your (fur) babies make a mess in the car?  Here’s some help to keep your car clean.

Dog And Cat, Laying On A Hotel Bed

Make sure to order room service for these precious faces. PC: Top 12 Pet Friendly Hotels

How to Find Pet Friendly Hotels

Of course the easiest way to search while on the road is to type “pet friendly hotels” in Google Maps. Or, here is also a website I used prior to one of my road trips; just type in the starting location, destination, and all of your stops along the way. This will help you not only organize your trip, but give you great stopping points for a bit of exercise. Here is a list of great websites to find pet friendly hotels.

What to Ask When Looking for Pet Friendly Hotels

When calling a hotel to make reservations, there are some things to ask them about their pet policy.  You don’t want to get to the hotel to find out it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg, or worse, that they don’t accept a specific breed.

  • Are their weight restrictions?
  • Are there breed restrictions?
  • Is there a limit to number of pets?
  • What are the fees?  Some fees can get astronomical!
  • Are there areas where the pet is not allowed?
Dog On A Road Trip

A good boy named Zeus waiting for his next pit stop PC: Melaina Elms

Don’t Forget the Pit Stops!

Dogs have a schedule. They get used to their routine, and sometimes, nature calls because of that routine.  Make sure to add time into your road trip for pit stops. This is a great time to have not just yourself stretch your legs a bit, but your pet’s as well. They can go ahead and do their business, along with maybe drink a little bit of water.

Related: Planning on hiking with your pet?  Our tips to get you ready.

Happy Pup On A Car Ride

Make sure to capture memories with your pet! PC: Activ4Pets

Be Prepared For the Unexpected

Unfortunately, you’ll never be fully prepared when planning any road trip when you have more than just yourself to think about. You have to be prepared for things like your pet getting sick before your pit stop, or them reading the ’emergency’ look and body language if they need an emergency pitstop.  Of course, hope for the best, but mentally prepare yourself that something –anything– can go awry.

2 Dogs And Their Owner About To Embark On A Road Trip

About to get buckled in, and get goin’. PC: Monica Siembieda

Last, But Not Least, Enjoy Your Trip!

As hectic as it can get traveling with a pet(s), it is so much fun. You get to explore new places with your fur family, and you don’t have to worry about leaving anyone behind!


After Driving Over 3,000 Miles With Two Dogs, I Have A Ton Of Experience On Road Tripping With Dogs! Read This Complete Guide For Your Next Adventure!

After driving over 3,000 miles with two dogs, I have a ton of experience on road tripping with dogs! Read this complete guide for your next adventure!

Monica is a Centenary University grad with her MBA. She was always a creative person, and found that creating... More about Monica Siembieda