I never really understood the "dog mom" craze until we welcomed Wrigley into our lives and I immediately fell in love. Not long after bringing him home, he quickly became our newest adventure buddy. We had a summer full of road trips, breweries, beaches, and hikes. Along the way we definitely learned a thing or two about being first time puppy parents and the best way to travel with your four legged friend.
In this post I'm sharing all my recommended products and accessories to make life on the road easier as well as some important considerations to have in mind when heading to a new destination. We haven't flown with Wrigs (yet) so this post is focused on road trips or local day trips with your pup.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
What to Pack
Packing for your furry friend can sometimes be just as tricky as packing for yourself. I always pack a separate bag for Wrigley to keep all of his things together in one place. I love traveling with a backpack as it can easily fit everything while remaining compact and comes in handy while hiking or exploring leaving your hands free for walking them on a leash. A few of the items I always include on my packing list are:
Always make sure your pup is up to date on all the necessary vaccines before they are interacting/greeting lots of different people and other dogs. I would also suggest waiting until your puppy has all their basic shots (typically 16 weeks) before venturing out to avoid contracting potentially deadly diseases such as Parvo. If your dog is on any medications, including their monthly doses for flea/tick or heart, that may overlap your travels be sure to pack them and set a reminder in your phone when you should administer since you'll be out of your normal routine.
If your dog has a microchip, make sure it is registered online and the contact information/address is up to date. Be sure to have some sort of identification tag on their collar (even if it's just a phone number) in case you were to get separated or they run off. Practice some of the basic commands (sit, stay, come) to ensure your pup is well behaved around other people in public and you are confident they will come to you if they are off leash at any point.
There are a few things to think about before hitting the road with your furry friend. The first is making sure they are comfortable riding in the car. Start out by taking shorter drives, even just around your neighborhood, to help them get acquainted with a moving vehicle before you venture out on a longer trip. Some dogs can get motion sickness, even after spending lots of time in the car, so I always make sure to pack an old towel or paper towels in case we do have to clean up a mess. One of our other must-have products is a car hammock which covers your back seat, contains all the hair and dirt, and can be removed for easy clean up. It also attaches to the front head rests to create a barrier to keep you pup contained to the back seat.
When planning your drive, allot for additional time for potty breaks and to let your pup stretch their legs and get some exercise if it's a longer trip. We typically try to stop at designated rest stops as they tend to have the most open space and dedicated runs for dogs.
Staying in a Hotel
When planning your trip, a good place to start is by researching dog-friendly hotels in the area. Their policies will vary based on the facility so make sure to read the fine print. Most will likely require an extra pet fee/deposit on top of the standard room rate. Some hotels may not allow your pet to be left in the room unattended which means they have to go everywhere you do which can take some extra planning.
Even if the hotel is dog-friendly they will likely only have a certain amount of rooms allotted for dogs so be sure to make it known when making your reservation. Another tip is to try and secure a room on the first floor if possible which makes it much easier for all those bathroom breaks. Also seek out the best path to a potty station in the daylight before you have to make that 3 am bathroom trip (especially with a younger pup).
We love traveling with our collapsable crate which easily folds up to fit in the car and comes in handy if you were to have to leave your dog in the room unattended for any reason to ensure they don't destroy anything. Our trip to Traverse City was Wrigley's first time in a hotel and it definitely took some time to get acclimated to all the different noises - bring a sound machine or download a fan/noise app to help drown out all the opening and closing of doors. We also always bring one of his blankets from home for the bottom of the crate to provide a familiar smell.
Planning Your Trip
When deciding where to go with your furry friend, there are some important things to take into consideration. First, is what time of the year you want to travel. While it's possible in all seasons, summer or fall is certainly an easier time to do so simply because most activities you'll have planned with your dog will be based outdoors. Restaurants and breweries typically only allow dogs on their patios which likely won't be open in bad weather. Hiking and dog-friendly beaches are also great activities to add to your itinerary. I also try to find a local dog park wherever we're headed. This will give your pup an opportunity to get off their leash, burn off some energy, and meet some new friends. Click here for a sample itinerary from our trip to Traverse City.
Below are a few apps/websites to make planning your trip a breeze:
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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