Warmer weather is here and it's the perfect time to plan a road trip getaway. What better way to travel than with your four-legged friend by your side? If you're looking to escape D.C., there are great dog-friendly options nearby and as long as you're prepped for the journey, it will be smooth sailing for you and your pup.
And trust me, I should know. Recently my husband and I drove from the east coast to California with our rescue dog Ollie in tow. Originally found in the Bronx, Ollie’s been on a quite a few adventures since joining our family. He’s felt the spray of Niagara Falls, driven through Yellowstone, visited Mount Rushmore, ran through the Napa vineyards and has taken in views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Learn from our travel experiences to make yours a breeze.
Secure Precious Cargo:
And by precious cargo, I of course mean your dog. As cozy as it is to have your dog riding shotgun with you, it’s dangerous for both the driver and the dog. If there were to be an accident and your dog isn’t strapped down, there’s a chance he might bolt. There’s also the danger of airbags and the dog jumping into the driver’s seat. Keep your pup in place in the back seat with a harness that connects your dog to the seatbelt, like the Solvit Deluxe Car Safety Dog Harness.
To keep your dog secure and comfortable, play around with different back seat options. Our dog loves a comfy dog bed, a blanket and a few stuffed toys to stay in place and comfortable.
Take a Test Drive:
Before you head out on a long drive, try shorter drives around the neighborhood to try the set up. If your dog is sliding around a lot or won’t stop barking, you’ll need to experiment before hitting the open road.
Find Dog Friendly Hotels:
As much fun as it is to hit the road without concrete plans, traveling with a dog makes that much more challenging. Look ahead of time for dog friendly hotels and be sure to read the fine print. Some hotels only have certain dog friendly rooms and you’ll want to make sure you booked the right one. There are typically fees associated with bringing your dog; additional costs may be as high as $150 a stay. If you want to give your dog a luxurious stay, check out the Waldorf Astoria hotels which set your pup up with a dog bed, a water bowl and custom treats.
All The Treats!
Know what makes your dog tick and be prepared. Figure out what treats or toys keep your dog occupied while traveling, especially when dining outside or around crowds. Our dog can’t get enough of cow ears. Our tried and true solution to barking.
Pack a Doggie Bag:
While you’re loading up on Fido’s favorite treats, you might as well pack a special bag just for your pup. Include all the essentials like extra food, water, travel bowls, toys, paper towels, bath wipes and pet stain and odor remover spray.
Just like humans, your dog needs to stay hydrated on the road. We set up the Petmate No Spill Bowl in the backseat for mid-ride sips. Even when we hit bumps in the road, this bowl, as the name would suggest, didn’t spill.
Take Frequent Breaks:
Make sure to stop every few hours to let your dog stretch his or her legs, get some fresh air and do their business. Bonus points if you can stop by a dog park or take your pup on a hike to get some energy out.
Research Your Activities:
The great outdoors is ideal for pups, but unfortunately they’re not allowed everywhere. Dogs are prohibited from many trails at National Parks but are allowed in most national forests. Don’t assume your dog will be let in wherever you go, take some time to research beforehand. BringFido.com is a great resource.
While our road trip took us all the way across the country, you don’t have to go quite as far for a great on-the-road experience. Clocking in at five hours or less from D.C., consider Charlottesville, VA, Snowshoe, WV, Duck, NC or Raleigh, NC.
There’s nothing greater than making memories on the road with man or woman’s best friend. Do your research, gather all your gear and start planning those spring and summer time road trips!