Road Trippin’ with Pets
I know I’m probably not the only one who holds her furry friend in the same regard as the rest of the family, crazy as my husband may think it is. When we were re-stationed and moved into an apartment that allowed pets, one of the first things we did was scour the newspapers for puppy ads. I was very specific about the type of puppy I wanted— the same breed my parents had while I was growing up. My husband agreed to it after I promised him that the next dog we get would be the breed of his choice. Now, Lady is an integral part of our family.
Moving often and living far away from family and friends means that Lady travels a lot. While I’m no expert on traveling with pets, I do have plenty of experience taking road trips with my pup. And I have to at least think I’m doing something right, since any time I leave the house, Lady is following at my heels, overly eager to jump right in the backseat of my car!
Here are just a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to make traveling with your furbaby as fun, happy, and sanitary for you and your pet as it is for our family and Lady!
Put down a blanket or bed sheet in your backseat. Not only will this offer some protection if your pet were to have an accident, it also makes for an easier clean up after your trip. My pup tends to shed, so putting a bed sheet down is quicker and easier than having to spend all that extra time vacuuming out my car!
Give your pet some personal space. Set up a little area of your car so your pet has a place to lie. You could just bring their bed or a cozy blanket and plop it in the backseat, or—if your pet is small enough—bring their crate. Lady was crate trained and seeks solace in her crate, so often times when we travel, we’ll bring her crate with us and she’ll hang out in there. We leave the door open so she can move around, but that all depends on how much space you have in your vehicle!
Pack the poop bags. This is a must when stopping along the way to let your pet go to the bathroom, but it’s really just common courtesy, no matter where you are, to pick up after your pet. Not only do I not want my furbaby sniffing or stepping in other dogs’ poo, but I also wouldn’t want to step in it myself or risk little ones stepping in it, either. And so, I pack the poop bags. We have a handy little dispenser that attaches to Lady’s leash to make this convenient and a no brainer. Easy as that.
Prepare for summer heat. It can get hot in the summer, especially in the car. Always keep an extra water bottle on hand for your pet. I also keep a collapsible pet bowl in the car to pour the water into. When stopping at rest stops, keep the windows cracked as much as you can, and make your trips inside quick. Since it’s bound to be hot when you get back to your car, I try to stop and grab a cup of ice in the food court area to add to Lady’s water so she has fresh, cold water.
Stop at rest stops. Back on the topic of rest stops, make sure you stop enough so your pet can go out at least as often as it would at home. I usually stop more frequently so we can all get outside to walk. Most rest stops have a designated area for pets, so be sure to scope those out.
Find pet friendly hotels. If your pet is staying with you at your end destination, or if you’ll be stopping along the way to rest, pet friendly hotels are easy to find with a little research. Some hotels charge an extra fee per night for having your pet with you; others require a deposit and return it to you when you check out. Just call around, compare the costs and amenities, and book the most accommodating one!
Clip your pet’s nails before you leave. Manicured nails can prevent your pet from scratching the inside of your car. Additionally, they can prevent getting hurt when your pet jumps on top of you because it gets excited looking out the window. This isn’t a necessity, but it’s nice to do if you have the extra time.
Last minute packing list: dog treats, a chew toy, and glass cleaner. Keep some extra treats in your glove compartment to reward your pet for being such a great travel companion. Pack a chew toy or plush animal to keep your furbaby busy and from getting into things it isn’t supposed to. Finally, pack some glass cleaner and paper towels— you’ll likely want to clean the marks left behind from little wet noses being pressed to the windows.
Traveling with your pet should be fun and stress free. Be prepared to meet nice ladies at tollbooths who offer dog treats when they see a pup with you. Or, to discover new restaurants with outdoor seating areas that not only allow you to sit with your pet, but also bring you a water bowl. One of our favorite experiences was the ice cream stand who offered “pup cups” so your pet can also get a sweet treat.
What positive experiences have you had when traveling with your pet? Share in the comments below!