The Ultimate Guide to Road-Tripping with Your Dog This Winter

In the process of planning a winter road trip? Don’t leave your dog at home — include them in the fun! While you might not have thought about bringing your dog, they’re bound to love the adventure: sharing a couple of days with the family — their closest loved ones — in a car, exploring the world? What’s not to love?

But how do you include your dog in on the fun? With a little preparation, you, your family, and your dog can enjoy a memorable road trip this winter. Just make sure to pack the proper clothing and some healthy dog treats. After that, you’re just about good to go!

Know Where You’re Going, and Make Sure Your Dog Is Welcome

First, you need to make sure you have a destination in mind. While a wandering road trip can be fun when done by yourself, it’s not the best move when traveling with your family and dog.

Why is that? Chances are you’re going to need a lot of breaks. You’re also going to need a game plan — where your dog is and isn’t welcome. While you can go just about anywhere, you want to make sure that your dog can join you at specific places you plan on going to.

For instance, while your family may want to go to a specific restaurant, it might not allow dogs. So what do you do? You can’t just leave your dog in your car amidst the winter cold. Instead, you could either look into a local boarding or doggie daycare service for the day or simply rethink where you take your dog to begin with.

Plan Where You’ll Be Staying

Chances are you won’t be sleeping in your vehicle — unless you’re driving a camper. Otherwise, you’ll be braving the cold overnight, and no one wants to do that.

Instead, you’ll be sleeping in hotels, motels, or Airbnbs between your various locations. Before you book your stay, you need to make sure that your dog is welcome wherever you’re going. If you’re unsure whether they are, either look into the fine details or call ahead and ask directly. It’s better to know in advance than finding out right when you show up.

Consider the Conditions

In general, you want to know what you’re getting into when planning a trip. Poor weather does not make for good road trip conditions. If it looks as if there’ll be a blizzard in the area, reconsider your course of action. It poses a risk to both your family and dog, as it could lead to a crash that could seriously harm everyone inside of your vehicle — your dog most of all, as they probably won’t be buckled up.

Make Sure Your Car Is Ready for the Trip

Similarly, make sure your car is ready for the road trip. Whether you’re looking at clear skies, torrential downpours, or sudden snow, your car should be able to stand up to it. So bring your car in for an inspection. It’s better to be safe than sorry, standing on the side of the road with a broken-down vehicle in 10 degrees Fahrenheit weather.

Get Your Dog a Wellness Check

Just as you want to get your car checked out, you should also get your dog seen by their vet. You want to make sure, most of all, that your dog is healthy enough for travel. This includes ensuring they’re up-t0-date on their vaccinations, void of existing health issues, and safe to be driving in a moving vehicle.

You should also ask your vet for copies of their most recent health records and vaccinations, as you’ll want to carry these on your trip since some places may require proof of vaccination (particularly rabies) to bring your dog along with you.

Get Your Gear in Order

You also want to make sure that you put enough thought into getting your dog’s gear in order. First and foremost, you’ll need bedding, blankets, fresh water, food, and healthy dog treats. These will ensure your dog is comfortable, at the most basic level, while also being properly satiated.

After that, you’ll want to bring along a few of their favorite toys, any medication they regularly need, a doggy first aid kit, a car-leash harness (to keep them from moving around too much), and any other goodies they especially enjoy. For instance, if you plan on spending time outside, whether walking around or hiking, you’ll want to bring a jacket and booties for your dog.

Nutrition Matters

As mentioned, your dog is going to need food, and that’s essential to keeping them happy and healthy while on a road trip. The best thing you can do is bring along their usual kibble and treats packed with nutrition. Not only can they be used to ward off boredom and anxiety, but they will also provide your dog with essential nutrients and vitamins that can keep their immune system boosted.

Collagen dog chews are a great option, as they’re made from all-natural ingredients, giving your dog the nutrition they most want — while also being as flavorful as possible.

Don’t Rush It

Lastly, you need to keep in mind that traveling is not to be rushed. Just as you need to prepare for your road trip, you need to understand that patience is a virtue when it comes to traveling. The best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your dog is to take your time, never rushing while driving or adventuring, taking the time to simply enjoy the trip itself.

And don’t be afraid to take breaks, either. Your dog and family will enjoy them, allowing for brief periods of relaxation where everyone can de-stress and enjoy the winter weather for what it is.