How to prepare for a road trip with your dog

Last Updated on 26th April 2024

Taking your dog on trips in the UK can make your time away even more meaningful and enjoyable, especially if they can avoid the dreaded kennels. But a long road trip isn’t always easy for you or your furry friend.

To ensure a comfortable road trip together, preparation is key. Here are some tips to help make the journey as smooth as possible.

dog in luxury padded bed in rear seat of car
Comfort should be paramount for a road trip with your dog

Ensure they’re comfortable

Creating a calm and comfortable environment for your dog is key. Ensure they have enough space to lie down and sit up if necessary. Whether you’ve got a travel crate in the boot, secure harness or pet seat belt, their safety and comfort should be paramount.

Bringing some of their home comforts along for the ride is a good way to keep them calm and avoid distress. Upgrading to a luxury dog bed could make the journey even more comfortable and give them something to sleep in while at home and away.

Every owner should know to never leave their dog in a vehicle alone for too long, particularly on warm days. If you do need to leave them in the car, keep a window partly open so they get some fresh air.

And of course, you should make regular stops on your car ride so they can stretch their legs in a dog park.

Pack the essentials

You need to come prepared for a road trip with a dog. The essentials include food and water to last the journey, comfortable bedding and toys, their usual leash and collar to make stops easier, and a pet first aid kit should the worst happen. Remember to pack any prescribed medications and perhaps try some dog travel accessories.

Dog-proofing your car may be required if you’re not used to bringing them along. Waterproof seat covers or blankets can be useful to protect your interior from any accidents, while you should always pack more poo bags than you think you need, just in case.

dont let the dog drive
Tempting as it is, don’t let the dog drive

Build tolerance with shorter journeys

Taking your dog on a long road trip for their first time in the car may not be the best idea. Chances are they’ll be overwhelmed, scared and uncomfortable. If you’ve got a long journey in mind, build up their tolerance to being in a car with shorter trips.

The more positive experiences you can give them in a car, the safer and more secure they’ll feel getting back in. Over time, they should be able to handle longer car trips with enough stops.

Reward them with treats

Being in the car isn’t natural or enjoyable for some dogs, so it’s important to reward them for the time they spend on the road. Giving them treats during the trip can also be a good way to distract them and keep them from getting too worked up.

Happy road-tripping and good luck!