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5 Pro Tips for Road Tripping with Your Dog

road trip with dog

As a passionate dog person, I’d bring my dog with me everywhere if I could. One of the places I love taking my dog is on weekend road trips. In those early days, I was seriously unprepared for the feat that is bringing a large animal on a 3+ hour drive. Keep reading to learn from my lessons and enjoy the ride without any roadblocks.


1. Pack ahead

Packing for your petPacking for your pet

Starting strong with something that seems obvious, but I can’t stress enough: pack for your pup the night before. If I had a nickel for every time I quickly threw together a bag for him, only to realize I forgot something halfway there, I’d have a lot of nickels. Here are some essentials I always pack now: 

2. Safety first

Dog Canopy and seatbeltDog Canopy and seatbelt

As much as we’d all prefer our pups sat with us for the ride, it’s just not worth the risk. The best way to keep your pup safe, small or large, is to secure them in the backseat. For our 80-pound dog, this is the combo we’ve found works best. 


We have a dog canopy for the backseat that prevents him from flying around (or jumping into the front seat), and it also keeps our seats relatively fur-free. His adjustable seatbelt buckles in like a car seat, and clips to his harness. Always clip your pup’s seatbelt to a harness, not a collar, to prevent choking in case of sudden braking. Another option would be a travel crate or car seat for smaller pups. 


3. Comfort second

Dog in back seatDog in back seat

As important as safety is, even the safest dogs can be miserable on a road trip—take it from me. Here are a few ways to reduce their discomfort or anxiety:

  • Keep their window down to prevent nausea (not recommended on the highway) 
  • Put a blanket and other padding around them for added comfort
  • Leave their favorite toy back there for stimulation
  • Give them vet-approved CBD before the drive
  • Get anti-anxiety pills from your vet for severe anxiety (highly recommend for cross-country drives!)
  • Make pitstops every 1-2 hours (and let them really stretch their legs)
  • Keep treats at the ready for a little bribing


4. Prep for pitstops

Pack-a-poo on leash and  dog bowlPack-a-poo on leash and  dog bowl

Road trip pitstops can always feel chaotic. Throw on your shoes, clear out the fast food bags, gas up, take the dog potty, and get back on the road. I eliminate some of the chaos with Nite Ize backup. The Pack-A-Poo Dispenser is a lifesaver for potty breaks, allowing me to keep bags always attached to his leash whether nature calls at a gas station or scenic stop. His RadDog bowls are always clipped on trips too for easy unrolling for water and food breaks. The RadDog All-In-One Collar + Leash is also perfect for the road. You can pull out the leash as needed without clipping and unclipping, and it retracts back into the collar when you release like magic.


5. Embrace the Nite

Glowstreak LED Ball + NiteHowl necklaceGlowstreak LED Ball + NiteHowl necklace

Once we arrive at our destination, it’s treats all around—for us, that’s a beer around the campfire and dog biscuits for our happy boy at our feet. To burn off his pent-up energy, I always bring out the GlowStreak Wild LED Ball for after-dark fetch and slip on a rechargeable NiteHowl to keep an eye on our nearly invisible black pup. Another great slip-on option is the NiteDog LED Collar Cover, which is top-rated and available in pink or gray. 


Dog in backseat on roadtripDog in backseat on roadtrip

Thanks for joining me on this adventure, and best of luck on your next one! Like all things with your furry best friend, the extra preparation, investment, and sacrifice is always worth it in the end. I hope my tips help you handle all the bumps in the road so you can get out there and explore more with your pup. Happy travels!