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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Pet-Friendly Road Trip

Gemma Clarke | Jun 7, 2022

Planning a road trip? You may be thinking of bringing your pet along with you! While many owners may choose not to bring their pet on the road, it is definitely possible to plan a safe and fun trip with your fur family.

You want your pet-friendly road trip to be an enjoyable and memorable experience. As your pet’s carer, you want to do everything you can to plan ahead and prepare your pet for a stress-free adventure.

So, to help you plan an epic ride with your pet, we're sharing 6 tips for a pet-friendly road trip.

1. Consider your pet’s personality and stress level

Many pets love to stay with their humans – and we love to stay with them! – and many have an adventurous spirit. Others, however, are less keen about travel and may even get sick or anxious during car trips. With this in mind, you should consider whether your pet’s temperament is fit to travel before planning your trip.

As your pet’s carer, you know whether a road trip would make your pet happy or stressed. If you believe it's the latter, you might want to consider not bringing them along for the ride. On the other hand, even some anxious pets can manage quite well in the presence of a comfy seat, anxiolytics, and helpful snacks.

2. Pack an "overnight bag" with pet essentials

When planning your trip, think about everything your pet needs, such as food, eating and drinking bowls, a soft bed, favourite toys, and maybe a spare leash and collar. You can even get creative on the food side with fruits and vegetables that are safe for pets that you include in your own lunch box.

While you may be able to pick up some pet food along the way, if your fur baby is a fussy eater and you can't find their favourite brand, you'll have a problem. Not to mention, changing their diet in the middle of a road trip may not be the best idea for your pet’s digestion.

If you're travelling with a dog, you'll also need to bring some poop bags and maybe some pee pads. If you're taking a kitty, you'll need to think about a litter solution. Luckily, you can now find foldable litter trays on the market that make a fabulous option for road-tripping felines.

Lastly, the most important thing to remember is any medication they need. Ensure you have enough to last the entire journey. If your pet is accident-prone, you could also pack a small first aid kit. Include things like a saline solution for cleaning cuts and antibiotic cream to help prevent infection.

3. Book pet-friendly accommodations before you go

If you've never travelled with a pet before, you might be surprised to learn there are many pet-friendly hotels and motels. However, the selection varies from region to region, so it's essential to do your research beforehand.

Many places only have a select number of pet-friendly hotels that fill up quickly. So, make sure you book accommodations for your entire trip before you go. In addition, some places charge pet fees, and others may only accept dogs but not cats or vice versa, so be sure to call directly and speak to someone before booking.

4. Get them familiar with the car environment

As your pet will spend a large portion of their day in your vehicle, the road trip will go much more smoothly if they are already comfortable and familiar with that space. So, have a few sessions during the weeks leading up to the trip to accustom them to the car and driving distances if they’re not already road warriors.

First, start by sitting in the car with them only, then go on short trips, gradually increasing the duration. After every session, reward your willing participant with a treat, so they associate going in the car with something enjoyable.

Floofy Golden Wearing Red Polo with Tongue Hanging Out of Mouth and Suitcase by side

5. Create a safe and cozy space for them

Along with getting your pet comfortable with being in the car, you must ensure they are safe. It's best to keep dogs crated and cats in carriers when in a moving vehicle. You can fill dog crates with their favourite blankets and soft toys. For cats, put something inside that has their scent to help them settle, and maybe even sprinkle some catnip.

6. Schedule regular stops for walks and bathroom breaks

The stop-offs are the best part of any road trip, seeing incredible sights and vistas. However, sometimes, if you're running behind schedule, you might choose to skip some stops and spend longer on the road. With a pet in the car, you should never omit bathroom breaks, as doing so can lead to a very stressed pet and possibly urine infections.

Your pet will also need to stretch its legs at regular intervals, just as much as you do. So, when planning your trip, ensure you don't spend longer than a couple of hours driving at one time.

Road trips can be an awesome bonding experience for you and your fur babies. With these tips, you and Fluffy can hit the open road and create lifelong memories.

A happy pet makes a successful road trip

If you plan on bringing your pet on the road, you’ll want them to be comfortable and in high spirits. To ensure their contentment, it’s important to consider your pet’s usual temperament and then otherwise make accommodations for their needs and comfort.

Further, travelling with a pet can add costs to your trip, so it’s essential that you plan ahead. This means calling hotels in advance to inquire about their pet policy or fees, and planning pit stops for potty breaks along the way. You will also either need to bring or buy food for your pet to cover the course of your trip.

Ultimately, a happy pet helps set your trip up for success. Hopefully, you will have a happy road buddy and a stress-free roadtrip.