A dog in front of a lake

While there is nothing quite as exciting as having your furry friend by your side when you go on a fun road trip, there are many dangers your dog can face while in the car, which is why it pays to prepare in advance and ensure your best friend is as safe and secure as possible in your vehicle. So, here is a useful list of the best tips and tricks that will make your road trip together a stress-free and enjoyable experience:

Get your dog used to car trips

Before you head out on a road trip, the first thing you need to do is get your pet accustomed to traveling and spending time in your car. To associate your vehicle with happy feelings, provide your dog with lots of exciting toys and tasty treats they can only get when they’re in the car, and take them for a ride whenever you can. Not only will these positive feelings help reduce the stress your pup might feel while traveling, but they could also help you deal with possible motion sickness problems. Once your pet is perfectly comfortable and happy with shorter car trips, it will be incomparably easier to bring them on longer road trips.

A dog with its head out the window

Keep your pet securely restrained

Seatbelts are essential for keeping us safe and secure while driving, and the same reasoning should be applied when you have your beloved dog in the car with you. When they aren’t restrained, your pet can move around the car and distract you while driving, or even worse, become airborne in case of an accident. That is why it might be best to keep smaller dogs in a pet travel crate, and bigger dogs in a pet car harness that can attach to the seatbelt, in order to keep them as safe as possible on the road. It would also be a good idea to always keep your pets in the back seat, regardless of their size, to minimize the chance of injury if an accident occurs.

A vizsla in the countryside

Make safety a number one priority

Apart from keeping your dog safely secured in the back seat, it would also be a good idea to be mindful of windows. While your pup might be curious to stick their head out the window and feel the wind blowing, it could present a serious health hazard, not only due to speed and wind resistance, but because of dirt, dust and debris that can end up in your pet’s eyes and ears, possibly causing injuries or infections. So, try to keep your windows closed when driving, or even slightly cracked, to prevent your dog from jumping out. Another important thing you need to take care of before you hit the road with your pet is to get the best car insurance policy you can, in order to keep both you and your beloved dog safe and protected no matter what.

A vizsla in a car

Bring enough pet food and water

Even though you might be traveling to a well-equipped urban area, a road trip is not the best time to try new foods, as any case of digestive upset could ruin the whole vacation for both you and your pet. So, make sure to bring enough food to last you the whole trip, as well as the car ride back, and always stick to the food your dog is already accustomed to having. It would also be wise to fill a jug or a large bottle of water from home, to avoid any chances of dehydration during the trip. When it comes to traveling, collapsible dog bowls might be the best option, as they can easily be stashed in the car and filled up during rest stops.

A hairless dog eating food out of a person's hand

Pack a doggy travel kit

Apart from bringing a pet emergency kit filled with first aid essentials, such as bandages, ointments and any necessary medication, it would also be wise to stock up on cleaning wipes and paper towels for both you and your dog. If you’re going on a longer road trip, remember to bring some toys you could switch out, to keep your pup stimulated and occupied. As you’ll undoubtedly take your pet out of the car to stretch and walk around during stops, don’t forget to pack a lead, as well as a few doggy bags to pick up after your pup, and always make sure your pet’s collar tag clearly  states your name and number, just in case.

A happy french bulldog

Never leave your pet unattended

Unfortunately, dogs that are left unattended in the car lose their life year after year, whether it’s from a heatstroke during hot and humid weather, or by freezing in extremely low temperatures. No matter the weather, even 10 minutes of staying in a dangerous environment can be fatal for a dog, which is why it’s crucial to never leave your pet unattended in the car.

With these tips and tricks in mind, stock up on essential accessories before the trip, and let your instincts guide you in case of any unexpected setbacks on the road. But above all else, stay safe and have fun on your exciting adventure together!