Road Trip – Dog Edition

Tips & Tricks when TRAVELING with your pet

Recently, Jack encountered his first major road trip. I was traveling from Kentucky to Georgia to visit family, and thanks to scheduling conflicts Jack got to tag along! As I prepared for our nine hour road trip, I found myself more concerned about packing for Jack than myself. It was a bit overwhelming thinking of everything he might need while we were gone. How will I keep him comfortable in the car for nine hours? Do I have all his favorite toys packed? How many treats should I bring? (Jack had feedback for this question – the limit does not exist.) Needless to say, I was eventually forced into writing out a check list to ensure I didn’t leave anything out. Since I struggled with my list, I thought I’d share it in hopes it could help some of you as you attempt to tackle a long road trip with your pups!  

Before even beginning Jack’s packing, I took a look at our route, and mapped out dog friendly restaurants we could stop at on our way. Luckily, I found some great sites that offer lists of dog friendly businesses across the US. Restaurants, hotels, vet offices, and anything else you may need can easily be found for you and your pup. Thanks to our very tolerate and dog friendly family members, Jack and I were able to crash at their house. 

After planning the logistics of our trip, it was time to face the dreaded “list”. I must say, I didn’t forget anything of Jack’s!  (My packing didn’t go so well – a few trips to the store were necessary along the way.) 

Jack’s Packing List:

  • Food – I made sure to pack more than enough food. We were there for 4 days, but I packed enough for 6. Since Jack is quite picky, I also brought a can of wet dog food, mixing that with his regular food to insure he ate each meal. 
  • Bowls – This is one thing that didn’t make the short version of my mental list. It didn’t cross my mind that I need something to hold his food and water. I think Jack was thankful I remembered. 
  • Medications – Jack has suffered from seizures since he was a puppy, and gets medication three times a day to help control them. In addition to his pills, I made sure to pack his favorite flavors of pill pockets. If your dog takes medications, put this at the top of your list!
  • Collar, leash and updated tags – Being in an unusual area, I wanted to be sure I had all the proper identification and supplies for Jack. Even on our stops for food, I made sure Jack was secure with his leash on, and that his identification tags were easily visible. One of my biggest fears is losing a pet while out of town. 
  • Crate – Since my family was so welcoming of Jack and I, I wanted to be sure we didn’t wear out our welcome. I brought Jack’s crate, giving him a quiet retreat from all the activity, but also having somewhere to confine him while we weren’t home, eliminating any risk of Jack-induced havoc. 
  • Toys – Jack loves his toys, and I didn’t want him to be bored on our trip (that’s when he gets mischievous). I brought all his favorites, in addition to some new toys I picked up for him. Luckily, Jack’s doggie cousins were more than happy to share their toys with him, so I don’t think he ever touched any of his toys. Better safe than sorry though, right?
  • Treats – Since Jack was going to be completely out of his normal routine and comfort zone, I wanted to make sure I had rewarding treats for him. Of course, I packed way too many, but Jack sure didn’t seem to mind. 
  • Poop bags – I knew having Jack with me complicated things a bit, and I certainly didn’t want to create any additional work for our hosts. Out of respect for them, I made sure to always clean up after him.
  • Dog bed/blanket – Jack is very accustomed to riding in the car. As long as there is a cozy bed or blanket in the back seat, he curls up and goes right to sleep. This trip was no different. If your dog isn’t used to traveling in the car, a crate may be a better alternative, in case they get nervous or upset. This is especially true for big dogs, as they can create a 2,700 lb. projectile impact in an accident.

In typical Jack style, he was the perfect traveler. He met a lot of dogs and people on our trip, and was a gentleman through every encounter. Outside of getting a little scrapped up during an intense game of fetch, Jack came home in the same condition he left in, and I got to enjoy having my best buddy next to me during a great trip visiting family!