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If you follow myself or my dog on Instagram (yes, she has her own Instagram) you know that we love packing up our little family and heading out on the road, often. In the two years we’ve had Georgia we’ve taken her on two road trips to North Carolina, one to Dallas, and at least twenty times to the beach in Louisana. If there is anything we’ve become pros at, it’s how to have a successful road trip with a dog.
However, this was not a road paved naturally with our dog. When we first got Georgia she hated car rides and barked the entire time we drove anywhere. With a lot of trial and error, we’ve managed to take her from world’s worst backseat driver to excited and patient road trip companion. So if you’re looking to travel with your dog this summer here are my top 5 tips for you.
5 Tips For Road Tripping With A Dog
Safety is Key
The truth, even though we hate to think about it is, accidents can happen. While it may be something minor like your dog stepping on glass at a rest stop, it could be something as severe as a car wreck. That’s why when we travel we bring along an animal first aid kit for those pesky things that can harm our dog. We also harness Georgia in with a zip line to keep her safely in the car. This keeps her in the back seat, attached to the seat belt. Which is safe for not only her but you while you’re driving. You can also use a crate or car carrier to keep your dog safely secure in case of an accident or a sudden slam of the breaks.
Pack your dog water and collapsible bowls for your road trip to keep them hydrated at rest stops. The collapsible bowls are easy to store and clean out since they are made from rubber. Which makes them good for eating too. If you have a non-messy drinker they even make ones that can fit in the cup holders of your car. As for water, pack more than you will need. Roads flood, cars break down, and sometimes you have to add on a few extra hours to your trip. I pack a 20 oz water bottle of water for our 2 hour trips and a gallon or two for longer ones.
You might think, “The more water my dog drinks, the more we have to stop.” Well just succumb to having to stop a few extra times when traveling with a dog or making those stops last longer. A dehydrated dog can easily turn into a sick dog and that will definitely push your arrival time back. Something I’ll mention a lot is that taking your time and just enjoying the road trip with your dog is the key to a successful trip.
Make Time For Food & Fun
For our longer road trips, we plan out a time and place where we can feed Georgia and get her a little play time. We like to find local parks or nice state rest stops to enjoy a meal and break from the car. We plan about a 20-30 minute stop to stretch our legs and get Georgia some fresh air. This break is the key to a road trip as it works as a refresher. It allows Georgia to get a pause to get a good meal in, a little bit of play, and gives us a fresh revive to the miles ahead. Plus it’s fun making memories in the new places you can run your dog around, so I suggest photos be taken!
After hours in a car, I know that I’m dying for a great meal. I imagine Georgia has the same opinions about that as I do since we’re the eaters of the family. So as we’ve been switching over to Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend since her other food is being discontinued. We’ve really gotten to see what she likes for food and what she savors. On our road trips we love to eat together as a family on our big stop and then enjoy some play afterwards. It’s such fun making summer road trip memories with Georgia and pausing to enjoy the trip we are having. I adore that Purina® Pro Plan® Savor Shredded Blend dog food works hard to make a food that can be exponential in taste, include high quality nutrition, and contains real meat (poultry, fish, or meat) as their number one ingredient. So I know that Georgia is getting the nutrition she needs and the balance for her active lifestyle. Which makes her a happy dog and may make for a long future of great travel memories together. I want these moments to last as long as possible. Like eating at a rest stop in Waco or climbing trees in a Georgia park.
Smells of Home
The day we started packing Georgia’s pillow in the car is the day she stopped barking in the car. I don’t know if dogs get home sick but our dog just might. When we leave home we make sure to bring something that smells of home to calm and ease her. Plus having something familiar that she sleeps with gives her the knowledge that she can safely sleep in the car without worry. That familiarity helps for those long hauls. While packing up an entire dog bed may not be reasonable or physically possible, we’ve learned that having an old towel hanging around her sleep area can do the same trick.
THE Car Toy
Yup, you read that. Have a toy for your dog that they only get when they are in the car. We have two; a frisbee (which means beach time is ahead) and a stuffed animal. When either of these toys come out she knows we are going on a car ride, and it’s to somewhere fun. Personally, we don’t pull them out for short trips to the Vet so it really pushes that mentality that we will be in the car for an excess period of time. We’ve found that this has helped her cope with long travel immensely. Georgia used to hate even getting in the car but throw either of these toys in there and she’ll be the first one in the car ready to go.
All of these things combined has turned our dog into a wonderful travel paw-tner. We love getting to take Georgia wherever we go with us, so it’s been important to make sure we find a system for traveling with a dog that worked for us. Sometimes it takes work to show a dog that traveling in a car is not the end of the world. Thanks to those days of horrible car rides and endless barking, we’ve really learned to embrace our road trips now. We love not rushing the trip and getting to make enjoyable memories along the way. I highly encourage you to do the same.
These are my 5 tips for road tripping with your dog. I’d love to know how you travel with your dog and your tips down below!
Want to try Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® Shredded Blend for yourself? You can get it at PetSmart, which has stores all over the country. This makes it easy to grab a bag with your pooch in store if you run out on your trip. Which does happen, we know from experience. Purina® Pro Plan® comes in a dry and wet dog food plus they have snack options.
PetSmart is giving my readers a special offer for their next visit: SPEND $15 on any Purina® Pro Plan® product, 5/31–7/5. SAVE $15 on your next purchase of 10.5-lbs. or larger Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Cat or Dog Food or Litter by 7/31.