Tips for Road-Tripping with a Dog

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As my dog has gotten older, he’s become a bit more crotchety and particular about his routine (as we all do as we age!), so leaving him regularly with a dog-sitter just doesn’t work so well anymore.  And since we recently bought a house in France, there are plenty of opportunities for road trips across the channel. So, #Moosethetravellingdog now comes on 80% of our holidays with us! Here are my tips for road-tripping with a dog:

 
Mom, can I drive - Tips for Road-Tripping with a Dog

‘Mom, can I drive?’

 

You will become:

 
  • Absolute legends at finding dog-friendly hotels (tips below)
  • Pros at finding services with dog-exercise areas / parks near the highway
  • Adept at using a travel water bottle for the dog!
 

You can read more about a recent road trip to France here

 

Dog-tripping TIPS:

 
  • Get a travel water bottle for your pup – you can squeeze water out of the bottle into a trough for the dog to drink.  Moose is getting really good at doing this whilst we are driving (NB: let the passenger do the feeding, not the driver!) – although some dogs might find it an odd contraption!
     

    Moose water bottle - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

 
  • Put an upholstery protector in the back of your car. We put Moose’s bed in the back seat, as it is less bumpy than in the boot, and allows us to feed and water him while on the road.
     

    Moose bed - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

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  • Always have your dog restrained in your vehicle!  This isn’t law in every country, but it’s a good idea.  We prefer to have the dog in the backseat, rather than in a cage in the boot, or behind a dog fence… so we use a dog seat-belt instead.  You can get these in either harness style (for smaller dogs), or just a lead that plugs into the seat-belt facility.  This will stop your dog flying through the front windscreen should you have to brake suddenly.
 
  • Take advantage of services with garden areas, picnic areas, and parks near the highway (I use google maps to help find parks nearby). We also research these stops in advance.  Regular stops for exercise and water will help to alleviate stress.

Truck stop - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

  • Break up the journey if you can.  While it’s not great to have to extend your journey anywhere other than your final destination, it makes for happier humans and dogs!
 
  • When road-tripping to France from the UK, the channel tunnel has a dog exercise area and it’s only a short 30 minute ride in the Tunnel sous la Manche!
 



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HOTELS

There are loads of hotels that allow dogs, but here are some things we do when booking to ensure it’s the right fit for us…

 
  • When researching hotels, make sure you check the hotel website for the wording of their dog policy – if it’s full of words like ‘only well-behaved dogs’, and ‘not in food service areas’, avoid these places!  Many hotels are fully dog-friendly and will love your pup as much as you do!
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  • Contact the hotel to make sure there is somewhere you can have dinner / breakfast with your dog in tow!  In the UK, we usually look for hotels with pubs attached, as dogs are often welcome in the bar area and you can eat in the bar rather than the restaurant.  Some hotel chains even have a special breakfast area for you to eat in the company of your pup!  Luckily in France, dogs are welcome almost everywhere!
     

    Breakfast - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

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  • Bring blankets and bedding so that you can minimise shedding over the hotel carpets and furniture.
 

Moose in bed - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

 

Moose has his own suitcase, with blankets, food and water bowls, food pouches, a car fan (to keep him cool when we’re travelling too fast to have the window open), a window guard (for security), multiple lengths / types of lead, his adaptil calming spray, treats, and tennis balls.  If only he could carry it himself 😉

 

Dog car selfie - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

 

DOG PASSPORT

If you are planning to travel extensively with your pet, you will need a pet passport.  Your vet can help you out with this.  You will need to do this well in advance of your trip, as the rabies vaccine has a lead-in time.  If returning to the UK, you will also have to have your dog wormed more than 24hrs before returning, but less than 5 days (so research vets in the area of travel before you go!). Visit the govt or DEFRA websites to get up to date information.

 

Upon returning to the UK, you usually have to check in a bit earlier to go through pet-customs 😉

 

Dog passport - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

 

From Moose, the travelling dog, this is over and out!  Happy and safe dog travels!

 

To see what a road trip is like from Moose’s perspective, read about our trip around Ireland here

 

Moose portrait - Tips for Road-tripping with a dog

 

All photos and content © Hannah Henderson and may not be used without permission (sharing this blog post is fine, though!). Images shot with an iPhone6s.

 



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Tips for Road-Tripping with a Dog - HH Lifestyle Travel

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11 Comments

  • Awwww moose looks so happy! He must really enjoy travelling with you rather than being kennelled. Great tips too – I didn’t know there were dog harnesses for the back seat.

  • Anuradha says:

    I am not a dog person at all. However, your post made me realise how difficult it is to travel with dogs. I never thought about it before reading this post.

  • Medha says:

    I think its damn cool to go on a road trip with your dog. you’ve got some amazing tips here, especially about the travel water bottle, breaking your journey for the comfort of the pooch and how to search for the right dog-friendly hotel. I don’t have a dog, to be honest, but I’d love to keep one someday and if I do, I would absolutely want to take him on road trips with me!

  • danik says:

    Your dog totally rocks and I hope he did drive the car 😀 Seriously, fantastic post and some good tips here. I havent got a dog, but i would like to take my cat for a long ride and see how he copes. 🙂

  • When I lived in England I used to take my bestie everywhere with me. I loved travelling with my dog. There are some great tips here. Good tips regarding the vets and dog passport.

    I used to take my westie with me when i travelled in Europe. there are some great tips here. i hope that moose enjoys becoming a jet-setter.

  • I never considered traveling with my dog. I guess he had a tendency of getting car sick. I love that you can travel with moose and he looks right at home. So beautiful. I think it is great that you find restaurants were pets are allowed.

    By the way, tell moose I said hi.

  • Indrani says:

    So many dos and don’ts for a dog owner. I don’t have one but I guess a dog lover will go through all these formalities without complaining even once. I would love to see the passport of a dog some day.

  • Claire says:

    Aww Moose is so cute!! I would love to have a doggy companion to travel with but some of the border regulations are just too strict. I love how you think about Moose’s welfare the whole time, even wearing a seatbelt. That’s one happy doggy!

  • Skye Class says:

    This is absolutely perfect, as I’ve always dreamed of travelling with a dog. I want to get a travel van I can take my dog in. I’ve actually done dog sitting all around the world, and those water bottles you mention are great. I had no idea there was such a thing as a pet passport, which is good to know before I get my dog!

  • Megan Jerrard says:

    These are fabulous tips, thanks for sharing! I think the upholstery protector in the back of your car is one of the most important things for an extended trip – and they make so many amazing products for traveling with dogs now – because why wouldn’t you want to hit the road with your bestie right!!

    Also a very good tip to have them restrained – yes, it’s not the law in many countries, but we’ve had so many near accidents from having my pup jumping around and shooting into the front seat to try and sit on my lap lol!

  • Leanne says:

    Great tips! We take our dog with us frequently on trips. Typically just a weekend away camping, but we also recently took him on a longer road trip. I love that Moose has his own suitcase!

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