If you know me, you know about my dogs, Little T and Honey. Little T is the golden retriever, 10, and Honey is a Australian Shepard/Lab mix, 9. They are so spoiled!
They sleep on the bed, eat out of MacKenzie Childs dog bowls, have a bark box, and don’t even think about telling T he can’t sit in his spot on the couch.
They love car rides and we love having them with us, so we pretty much sacrifice being able to stay in fancy hotels to have them with us. Many hotels are pet friendly, but with a weight limit that these precious ones do not meet. As a general rule, La Quinta is a national pet friendly hotel, so we always know we will have somewhere to stay. This is what we did on our Beer Road Trip last summer.
These are some well traveled dogs, they spent 40+ days in the car with us last summer and I am pretty sure they loved it. We learned so many tips and tricks about keeping them happy, so naturally, I knew I had to share them with all of you!
1. Make it Comfortable
First things first, if they are going on a long trip, they need to be comfortable. We take a truck on our road trips, but you can use this method for any car. Slide boxes or suitcases in the floor board and position them to be level with the seat. This immediately creates more room for your dogs. We then put 2 king size pillows across the suitcases or boxes, then cover the entire seat and pillows with a blanket or hammock. This is the hammock we use, it is so easy to attach and it makes the dogs so comfortable.
If we are traveling for more than a few days, we always plan in laundry days throughout our trip and this includes washing the dog blanket and pillow cases.
Keep everything as organized as possible, so it is comfortable for them and you! They don’t want to be trying to roll over during a nap and get hit in the face with a leash!
We keep the leashes, water bowl, and water bottle in the side door. I also pack Lysol wipes and would wipe down the car at night or in the morning. If it is a long trip, we vacuum out the truck on the same day as the oil change.
2.Keep them Hydrated!
Don’t forget to hydrate your dogs! We always have a drink in our cupholder, so why shouldn’t they? Every 2-3 hours, I fill up their bowl with some water and they happily lap up every last drop.
We received a refillable bowl in one of their Bark Boxes and it has been the #1 best thing we have ever gotten. We use it only for water on both sides, so we don’t get gross food pieces stuck in there. We also buy a big water bottle and refill it in the hotel sink, so they always have a big bottle of water and we didn’t have to buy them daily. I carry a big purse when traveling and always had this bowl + water bottle in my purse for them.
3.Safe Option for Leaving them in the Car
We realized very quickly that most places aren’t dog friendly or only patios, and in the summer it is too hot for us and them to sit on the patio. We had to figure out a solution and here it is.
I printed 10 of these signs and kept them in a folder and we kept a roll of scotch tape in the center console and taped one sign on each of the back windows and then we did what the sign said. We cranked the AC up to high, turned the radio on for some background noise, left the car running, and grabbed the spare key and locked the car.
We would go in and eat or stop in a quick brewery and be back in 45 minutes (or less!) and the dogs were happy to see us, but still safe. We would walk the dogs around before we went in anywhere to go to the bathroom and stretch their legs.
4.Stop every 3-4 Hours
Speaking of them stretching their legs, they need to stop and walk around, just like we do! We would stop at a rest area or look for gas stations with lots of grass and let them explore on their leashes for at least 15 minutes. They love getting the fresh air and walking around.
I also recommend walking them around the perimeter of your hotel a few times in the morning before getting in the car and again at night.
Bring them along, if you can. We got lucky at Dark Horse Brewing in Michigan and they had this awesome outdoor patio, so this was a good stop for the dogs!
5.Bring The Favorites!
Bring their favorite toys and treats. Little T is attached to his duck and Honey has a flavor of the week toy, so we bring a few for her to choose from. We also buy a few new toys, to give them throughout the trip.
They try all types of treats in their Bark Box, but their favorite, by a mile, is Beggin’ Strips. I keep a dog bag, with their bowls, toys, and treats in an easy to get to spot. We give them a treat before we go in somewhere and when we come back.
If they have a favorite blanket or bed, pack that, anything that they normally use for comfort.
Our dogs are extremely go with the flow and if they have us, plus their favorites, they are good to go!
Do you have any favorite tips or tricks for traveling with dogs? I would love to hear them!
Happy Traveling, The Barbee Housewife