Hey and welcome back to WhatAWanderousWorld!
I absolutely LOVE travelling with my dog Duke. He is literally the BEST road trip companion in the world! Plus, it’s his favorite thing to do! Wasn’t always that way though.. (I’ll save that story for another time. 😉 )
When travelling solo or with my family, I bring Duke on as many trips as possible, (He gets pissed at me if I don’t… Seriously.. He’ll say hi to me when I first get home, but then he’ll ignore me for the next day or so..). But anyway, our trips are just so much more fun with the dogs! But it can be limiting too..
In this post, I’m going to outline for you the pros and cons of bringing Fido along for the ride. Plus, a few of my tips to optimize your trip with your four legged best friend!
Especially when I’m travelling solo, I almost ALWAYS bring Duke for security. He’s a rather large black lab so people with ill will tend to be put off.
There have been trips where I’ve spent the night in my car at rest stops and I felt so much better having Duke with me! Granted, he did sit up all night and growl or bark at anyone that came anywhere near the car.. Which was only slightly annoying… But I felt much safer knowing that he was there with me.
2. Hiking Buddy
Okay, no one is ever more down for a hike than a dog! You don’t ever have to get them motivated to go, they’re ALWAYS READY TO HIKE!! At least Duke is anyway..
But seriously, they will never complain about the hiking spot, they never complain about being tired or that the hike is too hard. If you’re hiking near water, then you don’t have to carry any extra because they can drink from the stream. The list goes on and on! DOGS ARE THE BEST HIKING BUDDIES. Period.
3. You’re Never Alone
Have you ever wanted the comfort of having someone there with you but you also what them to shut the f*ck up too? That’s LITERALLY what dogs do best!
When you bring your dog along, you’re never really alone but you still get to do what you want! Booyah! You get the benefit of having a companion, plus you don’t have to argue with anyone about what you’re gonna go do next! It’s a win win!
4. Best Pictures
Yup.. Dog pictures.. Who woulda guessed?.. But dogs really do take the cutest pictures! Full disclosure: Duke has an Instagram and I’m pretty sure that it’s even more popular than mine… You can follow him too here!
Anyhoo.. There is just something about dogs that we as humans can’t get enough of, so obviously dog pictures tend to be more popular. But ultimately, I just love taking pictures with and of my dog! 🙂
5. You Pick The Music
Yassss… I hate going on road trips with crappy music! And every once in a while, you go on a trip with that one person who has the WORST taste in music and it just sucks! It makes the trip feel longer and can feel like the energy is just drained out of it.. Too dramatic?
Well, unlike me, your dog will never complain about your song choices! You can jam out to whatever your little heart desires! 🙂
6. Cheap Companion
Because who doesn’t love saving money?? It is super cheap to travel with a dog. You don’t have to buy a lot of food, they don’t ask for souvenirs, you don’t have to buy them anything special at all really!
Remember that your dog is a living being too.. Don’t buy shit food! Your dog doesn’t deserve that bullshit! Look at the ingredients and if you wouldn’t eat it in your food, don’t make them eat it in their’s.
7. The Adventures!
Dogs have a tendency to lead us on adventures that we never thought we would have.. Some good, some not so good.. For instance, Duke and I were hiking in Washington near Spokane a while back, when all of a sudden, he took off running after a deer!.. And of course, I had to chase him down.. But where we ended up was a beautiful spot right next to the river that I had never seen before! Super worth it! 🙂
1. Must Stay In Pet Friendly Hotel
One downside to bringing dogs along is that you have to be careful about where you book a room because you have to be sure that they allow dogs. Unfortunately, most places don’t. However, I am seeing an increase in places that do allow dogs within recent years.
Also, if you do happen to find a place that allows dogs, you most likely cannot leave the dog there while you go out (like you normally would at home). Therefor, this can cause a little bit of headache when trying to go out and do something that the dog cannot participate in.
2. Most Stores Don’t Allow Dogs
This is something that I’ve run into a lot! A lot of places will not allow dogs inside no matter how well behaved they are (unless they’re service dogs, of course). Therefore, this can make this quite complicated whenever you want to go souvenir shopping or to a restaurant.
You can’t leave them at the hotel and you can’t necessarily tie them up outside (I won’t, some people will. I’m too afraid of someone stealing him..). This leaves leaving them in the car as pretty much the only option (which isn’t a very good alternative..).
Leaving an animal in the car for any period of time can be dangerous if you’re not careful. If it’s too hot, the dog could get heat stroke. If it’s too cold, the dog could get hypothermia. But if the temperature is manageable, then leaving the dog in the car for a few minutes while you run into a store is not going to kill him. I never leave Duke in the car for more than 10 minutes no matter the conditions. BUT this does not mean that stupid people aren’t going to freak out and try to call the cops or break your window to “rescue the dog”.. Yes that has happened to me.. In like 60 degree weather..
Yup! Dogs get carsick too and it is not pretty.. One thing that you HAVE to do before you take your dog on any kind of road trip is get them conditioned to ride in the car! Some dogs get carsick on short, in town car rides, let alone long 8+ hour rides!
I recommend taking your dog with you in the car while in town whenever possible for at least a month or two before your trip. You need to see how they do and if there is any improvement over time. Most dogs just need to get used to being in the car and will end up loving it! Like Duke!
Also, I recommend using SOMETHING to cover your seat just encase of accidents, even if it’s just a blanket.
1. Plan Ahead
Now that I’ve gone over some of the problems that may occur on your trip you can better plan for them! Look for pet friendly hotels, check the weather to see if you’ll be able to leave your dog in the car for a second so you can run into stores, and make sure that your dog is conditioned for the ride! Also, be sure to scout out some awesome hiking spots! Pet friendly ones of course. 😉
2. Make Sure To Bring Everything That Your Dog Needs
You may want to make a checklist.. I always have one for any trip that I take and I’m actually gonna give you the chance to download mine here!
Things to be sure to have on your list would be:
- Make sure that you have enough dog food (GOOD FOOD!) for the length of the stay
- Duke sometimes has trouble eating in unfamiliar surroundings so I always be sure to bring food toppers like gravy packets to make food more enticing so that I know he’s getting enough to eat
- Be sure that you have your dog’s bed and maybe a toy or two
- Make sure that you have your dog’s harness, leash, tags, and bowls with you
- I also recommend having a backup leash and harness in your car just encase one gets broken or lost
- Something to cover the seat in your car (blanket, seat cover, etc.)
- Doggie bags for the do-do…
- A gallon of water for drinks at rest stops
Pro tip! Get your dog groomed before you go!! There is nothing worse than being stuck in the car with a stinky dog for hours on end! Plus, untrimmed dog nails are a nightmare on a car’s interior!
4. Dog’s Area
Whenever we go on a trip in the car, I always make sure that Duke has his own designated area in the back seat. I use his kennel as a divider between the front seat and the back, this way he knows that his place is back there and not to try and jump into the front seat! A dog his size doing that would almost certainly cause an accident.. 🙁
Do you have any tips for someone looking to travel with their dog? Let us know!