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Road trips with your pooch

From Trips With Pets

WAKE FOREST, NC – Planning to hit the open road with your four-legged sidekick? Road tripping is definitely more fun when shared with your pup — especially if it’s just the two of you.

Taking a solo road trip with your pet does require a little extra preparation, but if you plan wisely and keep your pet’s needs in mind, you and your furkid will have an enjoyable, stress-free adventure. To get you started, here are our tips to ensure your trip goes smoothly and safely.

Stay Safe 

To keep both you and your pup safe and minimize driving distractions, be sure your pet is properly secured in the back seat or cargo area. It’s best to get your dog used to the restraint in advance, so that he is comfortable with it before you start your trip.

We also recommend sharing your trip details and schedule with a friend or family member. Frequently check-in with your current location, where you’re staying, and any changes you’ve made to your original plans.

Plan and Prioritize

Before heading out on your trip, double-check that your pet’s tags, vaccinations, and microchip information are up-to-date. Talk with your dog’s vet to make sure your pooch is in top shape for travel, and get a copy of his vaccine records to bring with you. 

These should be the most essential items on your trip checklist. Accurate tag and microchip information will help identify your pet if he gets lost. Checking in with your vet can prevent you from dealing with a sad and sick pet when you’re alone and far from home. Current vaccines will keep him safe, and bringing along his vaccination records can help keep your travel plans on track; several states require proof of vaccinations for any pet crossing state lines.

Pick Your Path

When planning a trip alone with your pet, it’s even more important to ensure that “essentials” can be found on your travel route. You don’t want to spend time stranded with no gas, food, or rest stops, with an anxious, unhappy pet. Plan a route that has plenty of places for your pup to potty; the standard is three to four hours between potty breaks, but some dogs need to go more often. You know your pet best, so if you think more frequent stops are needed for him to stretch his legs…be sure to make that part of your plan.

Meeting your pooch’s potty needs simply requires heading to the nearest rest stop, and making sure you have waste bags and supplies on hand to clean up after him. Managing your own potty breaks, however, is a bit more complicated. We do not recommend ever leaving a pet alone in a car, so what can you do when nature calls? Find a pet-friendly business and use their restroom. Pet stores like Petco and PetSmart, and pet-friendly hotel chains, like Red Roof Inn and Motel 6 will let you use their facilities with your pet.

Reserve Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Pet-friendly hotels are plentiful, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to find one right when you need one. Some hotels have a limited number of pet-friendly rooms, while others sell out their rooms quickly, and require booking way in advance. In addition, most hotels have restrictions — such as pet weight limit, and number of pets allowed. Some even have breed restrictions. So, when it comes to finding a pet-friendly hotel while you’re already on the road, “winging it” may not work out so well. Fortunately, you can find and book pet-friendly accommodations easily on, leaving you one less thing to worry about on your solo expedition. 

Pack Up With Convenience in Mind

When you’re on your trip, you won’t have anyone to leave your pooch with while you pop into a grocery store or gas station. And, since pets shouldn’t be left alone in a vehicle, you need to make sure to stock up on provisions for your trip. 

Make a thoughtful list of everything you’ll need, keeping in mind that stopping for new snacks or supplies with your pet will be a challenge. Arrange the space in your car so everything is easy to access when he needs it, including pet travel bowls, treats, waste bags, medication, leashes, first aid kit, toys, and blankets.

TripsWithPets has been helping pet parents find and book pet-friendly accommodations since 2003. TripsWithPets provides online reservations at over 30,000 pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the U.S. and Canada. See

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