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How to Take Your Pets on a Cross Country Road Trip

How to Take Your Pets on a Cross Country Road Trip from the Pet Travel Experts at GoPetFriendly.com**This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your continued support.

We’ve criss-crossed the country several times with Ty and Buster and learned a few tricks along the way. If you’re planning a road trip with your pets, here are some tips to ensure you all enjoy the ride:

Get a Pet Check-up

Make a visit to your vet to for a check-up, confirm all vaccinations are up to date, and discuss any possible concerns about flea, tick or heart worm risks where you will be heading. It’s also a good idea to ask about remedies for car sickness, diarrhea, and allergic reactions – just in case! Finally, consider having your pet micro-chipped. It would be a nightmare, but pets can get separated from their people while traveling. A traveling pet ID tag and a microchip will give you the best chances of finding your furry travel companion if he should get lost.

After your visit, pack your pet’s vaccination certificate and scan the rest of his medical records to a USB drive to take along on your trip.

Decide on Your Mode of Transportation

Once your pet has gotten a “thumbs up” from the vet,  you’ll need to decide how you’ll be traveling. Most people take their own car, and if that’s your plan, make sure it’s tuned up and ready for the drive. Another option is to contact a pet friendly RV rental company and get a motorhome for your trip.

Regardless of how you’ll be getting from here to there, the most important part of any trip is making sure y’all come home safely. Using either a car safety harness or secured carrier for your pets will protect them in case of an accident and prevent them from bolting out of the car in unfamiliar territory.

Plan Your Route

Cross Country Road Trip Map

Our pet friendly Road Trip Planner will help you visualize your route and locate pet friendly hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, and activities – like dog parks and pet friendly beaches – along the way. You can also find veterinarians, pet supply stores, and pet sitters or daycare facilities, if the need arises.

Choose Your Accommodations

Whether you’re pitching your tent in pet friendly campgrounds on your way across the States, or staying in pet friendly hotels, consider making reservations in advance. Campgrounds may be busy on weekends and holidays, and some hotels only offer a limited number of pet friendly rooms. Even if you prefer to seize the moment and follow your nose, making a few reservations along the way will provide some peace of mind that you’ll have a place to stay.

Pack for Your Pets

Packing the right gear for your pets is important for any pet friendly road trip.

Deciding what to pack for your pets can be a challenge. You want to have all the things they’ll need to be comfortable, but there’s a limited amount of space available for all of your gear. This list of the basics should get you started:

  • Food and Treats – if you are not certain that you can pick up the brand you feed your pet along the way, pack enough for the whole trip plus a little extra. For canned food – don’t forget the can opener!
  • All of your pets medications, vitamins, supplements, etc.
  • Food and Water Bowls – portable bowls pack easily and are great when you are out & about, and anti-spill water bowls are fantastic in the car (or RV).
  • A disposable litter box and litter for your cat.
  • Treat pouch – new places and experiences means constant training, so set your pup up for success and keep the rewards handy!
  • A couple of rolls of paper towels and some carpet cleaner – for muddy paws and other messes.
  • An old towel – in case of rain, or after swimming.
  • Your pet’s bed and a couple of toys – to make him more comfortable when you spend the night in unfamiliar locations.
  • Waste bags to pick up after your dog along the way.
  • First aid kit.
  • Pet insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • An extra leash – Many places require your pet be on a leash no longer than six feet. You may also want to consider a long leash (15-20 feet) if you plan to hike with your dog or let him run in an unfenced area.

Hit The Road

Seeing the Dog Friendly Sites in Sliver City, New Mexico.

Whether you’re planning to visit the most dog friendly national parks, cross the border to Canada, or embark on the Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip, remember that traveling with your pets is the perfect time to slow down and sniff the roses! Hustling from place to place can make your vacation feel more like work, so underestimate what you can accomplish. We’ve found that driving no more than 300 miles per day works well for us – we have time to stick to the dogs’ exercise and feeding routines and plenty of time to enjoy the sights along the way.

Pets are very adaptable, and most are happiest when they’re with you! I’m sure they’ll be delighted with your vacation choice – and you’ll cherish all the memories you’ll make together down the road.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities

  • Tiffany says:

    Pawtastic article! Thank you :)

  • Wonderful! We’re so happy to help, and we wish you waggin’ trails, Kathryn!

  • This article, as well as your responses to questions asked, is by far the most helpful I’ve found!

  • I wish I had a good solution for you, Rachel. The things I suggest are all pretty common sense – park in the shade if you can, put a sun screen in the windshield, if it’s too hot, use a spare key to leave the car running with the air conditioning on. You can also leave a note that says, “I’m inside using the restroom. If you think my pet is in distress, please call my cell phone at 000-000-0000.”Unfortunately, when you’re traveling alone there’s really no more you can to when pets aren’t allowed inside the facilities. Good luck and safe travels!

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