9 wag-worthy road trip things every good dog parent needs to do

Good dog moms know that you don’t just put pupper in the car and go. Planning is essential for a healthy and happy dogcation. Is your fur baby ready for some time on the road?

Start at the vet

Make sure your dog’s rabies and DAP vax are up-to-date, and if you will be around other dogs or plan to go to dog parks or a doggy daycare, get a bordetella vaccine. Make a copy of that vaccination certificate and PUT IT IN YOUR SUITCASE NOW. (You’ll be glad you did when you get to Item 6.)

Pack up meal portions

An easy way to pack the right amount of dog food is to portion out meals into sealable bags. You’ll have breakfast and dinner ready to go wherever you are. When you keep your dog on his usual eating schedule with his regular food, you reduce his stress while traveling.

Manage meds

Pack any medications your dog will need during your trip. And since you’ll be out of your regular routine, it wouldn’t hurt to set reminders on your phone for medication times.

Watch the weather

Use your common sense. Never leave your dog in a hot car. Always make sure you offer a lot of water while you’re on the road. And if it’s going to be cold, take that dog sweater. It’s super-cute and cozy for sitting out around the fire pit at your posh pad on a cool mountain evening.

Prepare for activities

Is there pooch-specific gear you need for the stuff you plan to do, like the life vest I have for my kayak companion? Think through your trip and be sure to pack the harnesses, leashes, tie-out rope, and any other gear that will keep your furry friend safe. And poop bags — always keep plenty of poop bags handy.

Plan for alone time

If you’re leaving pupper behind to head out for meal or for a day where he can’t join you, you need to make arrangements for alone time. Bring a crate for brief outings, and for day-long excursions, make a reservation at a well-reviewed local pet daycare. (This is why you need that vax certificate from your vet from Item 1!)

Find dog-friendly places to go

Look up the local dog parks and pet-friendly trails in your destination. And when it’s time to grab a bite or a beer, many eateries and breweries will welcome your dog on the patio. Call ahead to make sure, and pack a collapsible water dish and dog treats. Happy hour, indeed!

In case of emergency

Put the contact info for the 24-hour emergency animal hospital nearest your vacation rental in your phone. If your dog gets sick or hurt on vacation, you can act fast. And because dogs devour interesting things first and ask questions later, here’s another number you should have: The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Hotline (888) 426-4435 is staffed 24/7/365 and may save you a trip to the emergency clinic.

Buckle up and go!

Get a comfortable seat belt harness to keep your doggo safely restrained in the car, and enjoy the ride! Dogs love adventure and discovering new things, and mostly, they just love being with you! A road trip with your dog is the best way to explore a new place, and those dogcation photos will be adorable!

More you might like: Start here to find a pup-friendly pad. And if you’re looking for a human pal in a new city, try this totally unexpected way to find a local tour guide.

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