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Five Tips For A Successful Road Trip With Your Dog

Written by: Renee Moen
| Published on February 20, 2015

shutterstock_210382834My family loves road trips and we love our dogs. When our beagle mix came to live with us so many years ago, it seemed only natural to take her with us on our many road tripping adventures. We never experienced any problems with other dogs. They loved the open road, new sights, smells, and people. What could possibly go wrong?

Since our dog came from a shelter, she came with very little history. We quickly realized she had a few issues. She wasn’t overly thrilled with being in the car. The stress of being away from her home comforts increased as we stopped for potty breaks. She barked endlessly at strangers and other dogs. It made everyone in the car tense and anxious, which didn’t help the dog’s mood any.

With a lot of patience, training and planning, road trips are once again becoming a fun adventure. Here are some things we pack to ensure a successful journey.

1. Bring Familiar Blankets

Somewhere in the car, find a spot for the dog to lie down comfortably.  Pad that spot with favorite blankets, pillows, or the dog’s bed; create a safe area of familiarity in the car where a dog may relax. If the dog is crate trained and comfortable in her “room”, pad the crate with well-known items and put her in it.

 2. Pack Some Pumpkin

Often anxiety will lead to vomiting or diarrhea. Pumpkin is the go to wonder vegetable. Not only does it soothe upset tummies, it hardens up soft stools and softens up constipated pooches. Divide canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix) into small covered containers. This is easy to offer dogs in a pinch without messing with can openers and spoons while speeding down the highway.

 3. Buy Some Relaxing Agents

There are many herbal based calming products on the market. Specifically made for dogs, these come in either pill or liquid form. They are designed to mellow out an anxious dog, not put them to sleep. One of the products we have had success with is Natural Pet Anxiety drops. We breathed a sigh of relief the first time we used this, ten hours without a whimper. An owner may also brew a cup of chamomile tea and have that on hand for the dog to lap up.  Squeeze two drops of lavender essential oil to the back of the dog’s collar. The scent of lavender is effective in calming anxious situations.

 4. Lots of FreshWater

Bring along a travel bowl and bottled water.  While dogs need access to fresh water, it also helps when changing elevation levels. An owner can’t tell a dog to swallow, yawn or offer a stick of gum when ears get pressurized.  Offering water during elevation changes relieves pressure on the ears and makes a dog more comfortable.

5. Don’t Forget Your Dog’s Creature Comforts

Favorite stuffed animal to snuggle with or a favorite blanket, no matter how rank it is. Something that will make the dog feel at home. Pack some prized chew toys she doesn’t get very often.  Maybe a can of dog food, to let her know this is a fun thing, a positive outing.

Not all dogs are wired the same way, some need more than others, some reject almost everything on principal. Traveling with a pet is all trial and error. Find what works best and road trips will once again be enjoyable!

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