If you’re about to embark on your first highway adventure with your four-legged friend, you’re in for a treat. As someone who has driven across the country with her loyal, patient dog more than a handful of times, I know just how fun it can be to experience beautiful new scenery with your canine co-pilot by your side. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about making a road trip fun and safe for everyone. As you pack your bags for your next adventure, don’t forget to bring along these eight essentials for your pet.
1. Soft, comfortable bedding
Whether your dog will travel in a crate in the backseat or strapped into a doggie seatbelt next to you, be sure to provide him or her with soft, comfortable bedding for the long ride ahead.
2. A towel you don’t mind getting dirty
One of the best parts about road trips is the impromptu stops along the way. If you find a creek or swimming hole, it’s nice to have a towel handy to dry off a wet belly and muddy paws before climbing back in the car.
3. A tennis ball or Frisbee
Like kids, dogs can only handle the confines of a car for so long before they need to burn some energy. Look for a dog park or rest stop with a fenced dog run where you can play a quick game of fetch along your route.
4. Your dog’s favorite bone or toy
Some dogs, like mine, prefer to snooze in the car. However, I find that Rex seems more relaxed when he has his favorite toys by his side. If your pup is teething, a soft chew toy is a great distraction from the drive.
5. A gallon of water and a bowl
You should always carry fresh drinking water in your car’s emergency kit, but it’s wise to pack an extra container for your pup. Not all rest stops have functional faucets, and the last thing you want is to be stuck without water.
6. Dog food and treats
If you’ll be on the road during meal time, don’t forget to pack some CANIDAE® dog food. I like to portion individual servings into small bags so I don’t have to measure en route. It’s best to feed your dog outside of the car.
7. Dog waste bags
Bring plenty of waste bags to clean up after your dog at rest stops and parks. Some states have stricter clean-up laws than others, and you don’t want to find yourself with a ticket in hand.
8. Leash and collar with ID tags
I typically walk my dog with a training collar, but I always make sure to put his flat collar with ID tags on before heading out of town. Dogs get curious with new sights and smells around, and they can wander off in the blink of an eye.
With nothing but blue skies and open highway ahead, there’s no better feeling than hitting the road with your canine best friend. For additional tips on traveling safely with your pup, read our article on “Travel Tips for Road Trippin’ With Dogs.”