Have you ever gone on a road trip with your dog(s)?

asked 2016-03-14 19:42:34 -0600

My husband and I are going to Texas in July (best time to go south, I know). We always fly, but it is so expensive that time of year, plus we'd have to board our dogs for a week ($245ish) and we have not gone on a big road trip together yet, which sounds really fun to us (obviously really stressful, but we love driving together and will get to visit friends across the country). The farthest we've driven with our dogs is about 4-5 hours when we adopted our pup and brought her home.

We are considering bringing our two dogs with us - a chill 9-year-old lab/pitt mix (large) and a rambunctious 1-year-old German shepherd mix (medium-ish). I'm wondering if there are things we haven't taken into account as far as taking our dogs. So far, I've considered that we'll need to take our pup's crate, toys, all their food and beds and stay in multi-dog-friendly places. It'll also slow the trip somewhat having to take more frequent stops and wait for them to go potty and run around and such. Anything else we haven't thought of or accounted for?

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For nine years my German Shepherd Dog, Sugar travelled with me. It was a challenge to find hotels that allowed GSD's and to wait for me in the hotel with a crate. At lunch I would exercise her and she ran with me in the evening. Locating vets in each city, bring medical records...

Jim D.'s profile image Jim D.  ( 2016-04-20 15:12:43 -0600 ) edit

Bring a mister for your dogs, they will love it as Texas gets so very hot and a/c could break down on the way. Misters are great to calm anyone down in the heat.

Michelle C.'s profile image Michelle C.  ( 2016-04-20 16:40:42 -0600 ) edit

My wife & I rented RV's from Cruise America twice so we could take our Labs on vacations with us. 1st time they were 7, 2nd time 10. They've been to Phoenix, Dallas, Virginia Beach, Washington DC, & all states between them cities & Chicago. I advise frequent stops & park far away from other cars.

Roy H.'s profile image Roy H.  ( 2016-05-05 17:24:09 -0600 ) edit

I have a big coonhound. I have a small car. I just drove DC-Denver 1700 miles. 1. If you have a big SUV load the crates. If not just bring their dog beds. I put her dog bed in the backseat and she napped 90% of the drive. 2. Holiday Inn Express has $15/night for a dog up to 75lb. Good deal!

Jason G.'s profile image Jason G.  ( 2016-05-11 12:39:52 -0600 ) edit

I used to travel with my dog 7-8 hrs. I would suggest leaving plenty of time for stops along the way. I usually only stopped twice, but my dog was used to being in the car with me.

Tammy B.'s profile image Tammy B.  ( 2016-05-18 10:44:00 -0600 ) edit

State parks do not allow dogs, federal parks do

Jessie C.'s profile image Jessie C.  ( 2016-07-11 19:34:07 -0600 ) edit

Try the website http://bringfido.com it has restaurants, hotels & attractions that are dog friendly.

Joy J.'s profile image Joy J.  ( 2016-12-27 16:51:16 -0600 ) edit

If you are traveling in a SUV with a lot of cup holders, place short cups filled with chipped ice for your dog to keep hydrated. Make sure to use a harness and tie down system that allows a little movement (to turn around & so forth), but block the way to the front with soft items.

Joy J.'s profile image Joy J.  ( 2016-12-27 16:59:49 -0600 ) edit

12 Answers

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answered 2016-03-14 22:04:48 -0600

I have never traveled more than a day with my dogs so am not speaking from experience..... but you may want to search for dog parks along your route, as well as state parks or places to hike that would allow the opportunity for some significant exercise.

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Temperature is your biggest concern, try to find shade when parking. Look for hotels , kennels and veterinarians , doggie day cares where the dogs could stay for a few hours when you be tourists for awhile. Make sure they have all shots including bordatella.

Virginia K.'s profile image Virginia K.  ( 2016-04-20 14:03:45 -0600 ) edit

I agree with finding state/city parks along the way for stops. Some states have good rest areas and some don't. Dog parks can be iffy because a lot of cities lock them and sell passes to residents only. Try to make them drink a little water at each stop.

Jason G.'s profile image Jason G.  ( 2016-05-11 12:43:18 -0600 ) edit
answered 2016-05-07 11:40:56 -0600

Are they used to being in the car ? You might want to condition them to riding in the car for increasingly longer periods of time before your trip so you don't get any surprises on the trip. For safety's sake, either put them in a harness (one that the car seat belt goes through) or a crate. In case of an accident, they can be lethal weapons and/or get hurt as well.

I don't know what your plans are, but as a native Texan I will reiterate what others have said. July in Texas is HOT, so hydrate your dogs frequently. This will also require more potty stops, but factor that into your time. Texas state parks do allow dogs in the park, but not on trails or in the cabin or building areas.

I've read that you should bring your dog's own water on the trip so that they don't have a bad reaction to water in new places. Or possibly bring bottled water. If you stay somewhere for awhile, gradually introduce that water into your existing water. I don't know if this is true, just wanted to raise the issue.

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answered 2016-04-09 15:33:04 -0600

One thing I would want to bring for a road trip (for the dog) is a Kong or similar toy. You fill it with peanut butter or similar viscosity pet friendly edible substance. It takes a long period of time for the dog to get all the peanut butter out and this keeps them occupied while you are traveling. This keeps their mind busy and gives you some peace of mind. Hope this helps! :D

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answered 2016-05-07 06:08:36 -0600

One suggestion I have is to be sure to have a cooler with ice with you. I traveled with my 2 Italian Greyhounds long distance several times and they did awesome in their crates. However on one trip, we got stuck on an Interstate for over two hours due to an accident ahead of us. Had to turn the car off to avoid overheating and wasting gas. Fortunately I was prepared with ice. I take ziplock bags, fill them with ice, wrap in a towel and put in their crate. Helps cool them. Also take a washcloth that you can soak in cool water to rub their chests and feet. This is what my vet says to cool them off. I also would rub their heads and faces. Dogs can get heat stroke as well. One of them refused to drink on trips so I carried a medicine syringe (like you use for kids oral meds). I'd squirt some in his mouth so at least he was getting a little water. He thought it was more fun to chew it!. It's safest for them to travel in their crates, just make sure they are getting good ventilation from the a/c or heater in winter. If not crated, invest in a vest/harness that allows you to slide the seat belt through it and this will keep them in place, yet allow them to lay down or sit up and keep them from flying off the seat if you have to stop suddenly. I always bring their own beds and toys as well as food and water bowls. As far as hotels, check in advance even if it says pet friendly. When I moved for a job, I stayed in a Marriott Extended stay and they were awesome. They had a tag to hang on the door that said "Pet inside, do not enter" so the room cleaners could come back when we were out on our evening walks. I was always worried someone would open the door and they could escape. Give yourself plenty of time to travel because of the frequent stops. My IG Prince was really smart and funny. After the first roadside park stop, he realized if he started whining I would find a place to let them out to potty. Problem is, he didn't need to go, just wanted to snoop around on leash wherever it was we stopped. Took me a couple of stops to realize what the stinker was up to! Have a safe journey.

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answered 2016-04-20 14:37:40 -0600

We moved from Hawaii to Texas last summer, so our trip included an airplane ride from Honolulu to LA. We stayed 2 days in LA while we waited for our car to arrive then headed off on our way to Austin, TX. 2 dogs, 2 kids and 2 adults in a Toyota Sienna with LUGGAGE! At the time we had 2 small dogs, a pug and a cavalier. They travel well, so we did not have to stop any more often than the humans needed to. The hotels we stayed at were ok with us leaving them in the room as long as they were crated. BUT I must admit, it was hard to find accommodations for multiple dogs. Most of the places only accepted one per room and MANY have weight restrictions. SO be sure to call ahead. Several places told me I had to book 2 rooms! And NO, we NEVER left the dogs in the car, EVER. We just planed our trip so that we could check into a hotel before venturing out to get food other than fast-food.

In February we took a 13 hour road trip to Angel Fire from Austin, this time with 3 dogs (we rescued a Husky Puppy) and even the puppy was fine. We made sure to walk him before we started the journey, and at every stop along the way, but for the most part, they just sleep. Just like the kids, the motion of the car seems to sedate them a bit. Maybe I'm just lucky. Our dogs don't seem to have car anxiety like some do, but we did make sure to bring toys and treats, and make a nice comfortable spot for them that they could lie down, and get up and change positions etc.

We would take them with us everywhere we go if there were more places that accepted multiple dogs.

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answered 2016-05-02 23:13:17 -0600

I have had my fair experience with road trips and my dogs, both are German Shepherds. I have gone cross country with my dogs before, actually several times for the same reason as you guys. It is so expensive to board our big dogs. I do want to mention that German Shepherds are known for having sensitive stomachs. Both of my dogs can be very carsick, from my experience I would suggest bringing Dramamine. Definitely, ask your vet about the dosing size that your dogs can take before you give your dogs any. Also, it does get hot in Texas, but as long as you guys stay hydrated you'll be fine. Also, it might be good to pack a bag of rice. It is an easy meal to make that also goes down easily for them. There will be a ton of shedding, so I would line the seats with a bed sheet or blankets. I hope you have fun while you're down here :).

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answered 2016-04-21 20:38:50 -0600

Are you planning to visit parks along the way? National Parks do not allow dogs on the trail. I couldn't even take my dog within 50 feet of the visitor center at Glacier National Park. I also hear that some state parks (i.e. California) also prohibit dogs on the trails.

Also, you will want a raised bed to keep dogs cool, a shade and a crate that is roomy and portable (folds small)---I just ordered this thing from Amazon. It arrived today. I set it up and my dog climbed right in and really liked it. It's going to be great for when I take my dog to agility trials or camping.

(Quik Shade Outdoor Instant Pet Kennel Combo with Elevated Mesh Breathable Bed - Medium)

http://www.amazon.com/Quik-Shade-Outdoor-Elevated-Breathable/dp/B00B9D9PR6/ref=pd_sim_199_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=618f4441EyL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=1BYXGV0PHH45DWBG5WDG (Quik Shade Outdoor Instant Pet Kennel Combo with Elevated Mesh Breathable Bed - Medium)

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answered 2016-04-20 10:09:37 -0600
 Make sure to budget time to get them a good long walk in the morning and evening, or find a dog park near the hotels. I'm assuming you won't always know the areas you stop in, so you want to make sure you still have daylight left. Drove from TX to CO and back this winter and my guy was fine, just slept in the back seat, although after 2 days, he was ready to be done. 
 Also, think about your meals etc. Lunch at mid day obviously requires a to-go meal or something, but breakfast and dinner can mean having to leave your dogs in the hotel. My dog gets anxious when left in a strange place and hotels have a lot of noise and stimulation. We really struggle to leave the hotel room once there because my guy will bark/howl, but only in a hotel.
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answered 2016-04-20 13:42:27 -0600

Have traveled around the midwest and south with our Pyr - as long as the weather is cooler (as in not summer) she is fine. Watch the fine print on hotels that claim to be pet friendly - many will only take up to 20 lbs or so. The dog sleeps in the back of the mini-van when we go out for dinner - as long as it is cool / cold weather. Can't do that when it is hot so summers we would be stuck with fast food as hotels do not want dogs left unattended in your room. Just a note - National Parks are not pet friendly, nor are many beach communities, so be sure to do your research.

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answered 2016-04-08 18:41:38 -0600

Take something that your dog likes and let them chew it in the car so that it keeps them occupied For a little while.

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