Erin Bokuniewicz, a pet expert at Pet Supplies Plus, shares her tips and hacks for a fun and safe road trip with your dog


It’s safe to say there is a rise of pet travelers – especially with dogs. This growing nationwide trend can seem daunting, but, with the right tips and products, a vacation with you pet can be successful. From car rides to hiking the dunes, there are a handful of things you need to keep in mind and Erin Bokuniewicz, a pet expert at Pet Supplies Plus, is here with her best tips and hacks for you and your pet, so you can take a pet-friendly trip soon!

Make a Checklist

Just as you would create a checklist for yourself with essential items (phone charger, wallet, medication, etc.), you must do the same for your pet. Do you have enough of their medication for the trip? Did you check to make sure their tags and chip are up-to-date? Items like that are easy to overlook, so make sure everything is in order with your pet before heading out.

Start with a Small Adventure

It’s important to make sure your dog feels comfortable in your car, so start with smaller trips before you embark on a long adventure – like a weekend getaway to a national park or a beach. This will help them get adjusted to a longer road trip and help to ease anxiety in the car. It will also help you since your pet won’t be anxious and distracting. Also consider a pet seat belt – some states might even require pet owners to keep their animal safely retrained in vehicles, so this is the perfect addition. Once they become more accustomed to the ride, add mileage and take longer trips!

Dog Peeking Out From Car Window
Credit: Getty

Protect Your Car, Too

A dog’s claws can wreak havoc on a car if you don’t properly prepare. To prevent furry seats and deep scratches, make sure to invest in a good seat cover to protect your car. For comfort, throw in a blanket to keep your dog comfortable during the trip. If you’re in the market for a new seat cover, try the Kurgo Cargo Cape – this will protect the interior of your car and stay in place during the car ride. For smaller dogs and puppies, Kurgo also provides a small booster seat – this way your pet is safe and can enjoy the view!

Listen to Your Pet

You can gauge a lot from your dog’s body language: whether they’re frightened (shaking), anxious (low to ground, ears back) or relaxed (a more neutral position). Periodically check in on your pet to see if they are doing well during the car ride, and if they appear anxious take them out for a few minutes of fresh air. If something seems off, get to a safe location and take them for a short walk or give them treats and toys to help them feel more comfortable. The scent of home on a blanket or pillow might do the trick!

Don’t Forget About Pit Stops

Taking breaks during a road trip is important for your dog. Make sure your pet is secured on a leash and their collar and/or harness it fitted correctly.

Make Sure They Have Entertainment

Familiar smells and textures from home will help your dog relax, so don’t forget your dog’s favorite toys or bed for the ride. Packing a few chew toys is a great way to keep you dog calm and entertained — KONG toys filled with peanut butter are a great way to keep your pet happy and distracted.

Hydration and Nutrition Are Vital

From collapsible bowls to water bottles designed for dogs, there are some game-changing food and water storage containers made for travel. A number of bowls are simple, easy to store and also easy clean for trips. There are also a number of zipper bowls that are available to make storage incredibly simple.