Road Tripping With Dogs: Everything You Need To Know
“All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.” -- Jack Kerouac
At Spleash, we think that road trips are almost always a good idea. There’s something about that feeling of packing your bags, hitting the road, and venturing into the unknown that gets us every time. But perhaps the best part of a road trip is this: We get to take our dogs on vacation with us!
Now, while the dog-in-tow aspect is obviously a good thing, it also comes with a few considerations.
How do we keep our canine pal safe?
How do we make sure our trip is dog friendly?
And what gear do we need to be prepared?
We did our research, put it to the test, and can happily report that the following tips and tricks will help you on your way to a successful road trip with your canine pal(s).
START WITH A (SAFE) DEDICATED SPACE
This is the single most important thing, because:
a) you don’t want your dog moving around the car while you’re focusing on the road,
b) road trips can get messy,
c) sudden stops happen.
What’s more, your dog is far more likely to be well behaved if he feels comfortable.
Begin by installing a removable seat protector like the Active Pets Bench Dog Car Seat Cover. The beauty of these covers is that they work great for kids and their crumbs too. They’ll protect your seats from muddy paws and scratchy nails, stop your dog from slipping, and give them a comfy base.
Next up, invest in a dog harness and safety belt, like these ones. Your dog will still be able to stand up, lay down, and look out the window, but you won’t find them climbing your shoulder whilst navigating a six lane freeway.
Finally, (and especially if you have a larger dog), consider getting a backseat bridge car extender to make more room out of otherwise wasted space.
KEEP WATER HANDY AT ALL TIMES
Think about how many times you take a swig from your water bottle as you cruise down the road listening to your favorite tunes. Your fluffy pal in the back gets thirsty too, and might not be happy to wait until the next pit stop to hydrate.
While there are all manner of collapsible bowls and squirt bottle solutions to this particular challenge, we stand firmly with Team Spleash. Why? Because our handy little leash attachment doesn’t just serve your dog when out hiking… It works as a bonafide, no overflow, water bowl during car rides too. Just make sure you’ve filled your Spleash with water before hitting the road and you’ve got all the water your dog needs to carry you through your next pit stop without worrying about spills. Oh, and once you do get to that pit spot, you’ll be glad you have water at the ready attached to your very own leash.
(Ps: if you don’t just want to take our word for it, check out the review Global Green Travel gave the Spleash recently.)
CHECK LOCAL REGULATIONS
While we (righteously) feel like our dogs should be able to go anywhere we go, sometimes it’s just not the case. Take national parks, for example. Some will allow dogs, while others won’t. (This is a handy little tool for checking which ones are dog friendly.) Another consideration if traveling interstate, is to pack any paperwork you might need for your dog, such as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. This site is an excellent resource to look at before hitting the road as it can tell you what the requirements are for each state. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re up to date with vaccinations, and have a health certificate on hand for your pet.
MAP OUT THE DOG PARKS ON YOUR ROUTE
While most gas stations have open areas for your dog to do his business and catch a ball, there’s nothing like a half hour at an off-leash dog park to get their crazies out before the next three hour driving stint. Luckily for you, there are plenty of dog parks across the US, and this list tells you exactly where they all are!
FIND PET-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION
Once you’ve navigated a few hundred miles with your BFF (best furry friend), you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep. That’s where pet-friendly accommodation comes in, and believe us, this isn’t an area that you want to take by chance. If you bring your dog to an Airbnb that doesn’t accept pets, you could face substantial charges. Similarly, while there are plenty of pet-friendly hotels (you can find one over at BringFido) you will want to check what their size and breed requirements are before showing up, as well as any pet fees. The good news is, an increasing number of boutique hotels are happy to host your dog, and some even go above and beyond in welcoming your canine pal, such as the Virgin Hotel in Chicago. These guys will provide a plush dog bed, a porcelain pup to stand watch outside your door (very important), and even custom bandanas. We might make Chicago our next road trip destination just for that!
And remember: a journey well shared is a journey well enjoyed. Especially when you’re sharing it with old faithful.
By Zoe Oksanen