6 Essentials for a Safe and Happy Road Trip With Your Dog


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6 Essentials for a Safe and Happy Road Trip With Your Dog

Author: Courtney Heitter from Rover.com

dog sticking head out car window with a grass strip and sidewalk behind him


Including a dog in every possible aspect of life is rewarding in so many ways and travel is no exception. When it comes to traveling with your dog, road trips are a fun and rewarding choice, if feasible. There’s just something about venturing at your own pace on the open road with your best friend by your side, stopping at every dog-friendly patio and hiking trail you can find.

To be successful adventure buddies, some careful planning is necessary. To aid your journey, Rover.com recommends 6 essential items to have on the road with you to ensure you and your dog are prepared for anything.

Bring Plenty of Your Dog’s Particular Food

Pack enough of your dog’s food for your trip’s duration, or be sure to know ahead of time where to pick up the specific food your dog eats. Keeping your dog’s normal routine can be difficult on the road and adding food that your dog isn’t used to eating to the mix likely won’t fare well. Save your dog’s tummy--and your vehicle’s interior--a mess with plenty of the right food on hand. 

Pack a Pet First-Aid Kit 

(Including 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, Vet wraps, Cornstarch, Sterile pads and Emergency numbers)

All of these items are very helpful in a pinch if your dog is injured on the road. Vet wraps are a good choice because they won’t stick to your dog’s fur, and cornstarch is handy to staunch bleeding. Hydrogen Peroxide is great for cleaning cuts or wounds.

bassett hound with a stethescope and first aid kit

PetHub's Wellness Tools offers on-demand 24/7 access to telehealth with veterinarians. If something happens on your trip, this is a great option in addition to nearby emergency veterinarians that you could drive to. 

If anything happens beyond your skill to heal, a list of emergency numbers for vets in the area as well as the number to the National Animal Poison Control Center are crucial. I recommend doing a brief search in your current area every couple days while you have phone service to pinpoint daytime and 24-hour veterinarians to access on a moment’s notice. 

Include Current Identification Tags 

Dog tags have become more comprehensive and helpful with digital additions. Consider purchasing a scannable QR code tag, like PetHub, which links to valuable information about your pet should he or she escape your care on the road. The linked profile can contain multiple contact numbers and methods as well as critical medical data. A PetHub tag comes with the extra protection of a 24-hour found pet hotline people can call if they don’t have a smartphone to scan the tag or just need extra help. It’s best to have a couple different forms of identification for your dog so having both a visible ID tag and invisible identification (microchip) is recommended. 

small dog wearing a PetHub tag

Bring Microfiber Towels

Microfiber towels are extremely absorbent and a less-messy alternative to standard cotton towels. They’re perfect for rainy days, since going outside for potty breaks and then back in the car is not an option. You and your dog will be happy to have these on hand to stay dry and comfortable. 

Collapsible Food and Water Bowl 

Portable bowls will save space and are easy to clean after each use so there’s no build up or mold. Fresh water and clean food are just as important on the road as they are at home and collapsible options can pack away nicely when not in use. 

Dog-Safe Sunscreen and Insect Repellent

Just like humans, your dog can get sunburned and is susceptible to bug bites. Zinc Oxide, an ingredient commonly found in human sunscreen, is toxic to dogs, so be sure to read the ingredients list or purchase sunscreen from a pet retailer. You won’t need to cover your entire pet with sunscreen--just the parts exposed to the sun (bald spots or pink noses, for example.) 

dog relaxing in the sun wearing sunglasses and laying near a bottle of sunscreen

Stick to deet-free and non-human insect repellent, as deet is a poison to dogs if ingested in large quantities. There are some flea and tick treatments which are also effective for mosquitoes. If your preferred brand isn’t one of these, a quick search online for dog-friendly insect repellent yields affordable options for on-the-go. 

Always check with your veterinarian to understand what’s best for your pet’s specific needs to protect him or her from harmful nature. Enjoy the bonding time with your dog and have a great time! 

6 Essentials Road Trip Pin featuring a small dog sticking his tongue out with road behind her