12 hour summer road trip with dogs, anyone?
The pups and I will be doing just that from Spring Lake, NC to Memphis, TN in mid July. That means I’ll have about a month to finalize our preparations for the road trip.
Since Missy & Buzz love going for car rides, I won’t have to worry about potential car sickness or anxiety issues.
However, if your pup suffers from dog car anxiety, check out this blog post first.
On the contrary – I know they’ll have a good time, especially during the cooler parts of the trip through the mountains.
That’s when I’ll be able to turn off the AC and roll down their windows to let them sniff the good mountain air.
Summer Road Trip with Dogs – Our Ultimate Checklist for Stress-Free Travels
When thinking about all the different components of our road trip, I realized that it’s a combination of two things:
(1) Road/Dog Safety & (2) Travel Essentials.
So in order to put our checklist together, I first did some brainstorming on my Jeep’s road safety.
Next, I looked at what exactly our daily doggie routine consists of.
That said, I came up with 4 categories, then broke each one down into its respective components.
Finally, I figured out what’s essential and absolutely has to come along!
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Daily Routine – Dog Travel Essentials
As mentioned above, the pups’ daily routine can be broken down into 4 categories:
- 1. Dog walks
- 2. Raw dog food
- 3. Playtime, and
- 4. Snoozing.
1. Dog Walks – Collars, ID Tags, Leashes, Poop Bags, Insect Repellent, Dog Backpacks
The pups will be wearing their collars while traveling, and their dog leashes will be stored in the pockets of our travel hammock.
That way, they’ll be easily accessible during potty breaks and little walks to stretch all of our legs every 2-3 hours.
I’ll also bring an extra collar as well as an additional leash for each pup, just in case one should get lost or break for whatever reason.
I also always carry a slip collar in my purse should I need to replace a broken collar while out on a walk/potty break.
The pups always wear their ID tags on their collars, and I’ll make sure to bring an additional one featuring the address of where we’ll be staying at.
This will be the perfect opportunity to test out the Twigo Tags I came back with from the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, FL earlier this year.
They are customizable pet ID tags you write on, then place in boiling water, & cover – the beauty of them is that you can erase what you’ve written using rubbing alcohol (only).
So if you want to update a phone number or address on your pup’s tag, you can do so without having to purchase a brand new one.
Pretty clever, huh?!
We will, of course, have plenty of poop bags on board, but I don’t think we’ll bring the pups’ backpacks. It’ll likely be hot & humid, so I don’t foresee us going on hikes.
You never know what the weather might be like once on the road, so I’ll bring a towel or two for potential muddy paws & wet dog coats.
I’ll also pack our non-toxic Anicura Insect Repellent Spray and a bottle of their Shampoo.
You never know what the pups might fancy rolling in once we get to Tennessee!
2. Raw Dog Food, Supplements, Bowls & Dog Treats
This will be the first long road trip with the pups since switching them from kibble to a raw diet in 2015.
That said, I really don’t feel like bringing their raw dog food along in several coolers I’ll have to top off with fresh ice on a regular basis.
So I already decided that I’ll just have their Darwin’s Natural Pet Raw Dog Food delivered to our final destination in Memphis, TN.
The only edibles I’ll bring along on the trip will be single-ingredient dog treats.
I’ve decided to leave their regular stainless steel dog bowls at home and pack space-saving collapsible dog travel bowls instead.
3. Playtime – Chuck-It Ball(s)
Since Buzz can’t live without his beloved chuck-it balls, I’ll bring a few along.
They don’t take up much space and are light weight. Missy’s not really into playing with toys (unless it involves a body of water), so I won’t bring any for her.
4. Snoozing – Dog Beds & Blankets
I will bring along one of their big, soft, grey blankets that cover my bed and that they like to sleep on, as well as one of their dog pillows.
Summer Road Trip with Dogs: Road/Dog Safety
As far as road safety is concerned for the Jeep, I need to:
- check my tire pressure on all 5 tires
- check on my wiper blades
- top off fluids
- inspect my glove box, GPS, & First Aid Kits. Can’t forget about securing loose cargo & the pups, of course!
Tire Pressure & Fluids
I have pure nitrogen in my tires because the tires last longer & the gas mileage is about 10% better than with the regular air/nitrogen mix.
That said, I’ll make sure to have them topped off with it before we leave – same goes for my spare tire.
I had to use it a few months ago while waiting for a new tire to come in – courtesy of a screw in my tire – and had it filled with pure nitrogen. It could probably use to be topped off again.
Speaking of topping off – I’ll also have my fluids topped off and might need to get an oil change before leaving for our summer road trip.
My Jeep wiper blades for the front and the back need to be exchanged before we back out of our driveway in mid July.
That said, I’ll be pulling up to my favorite garage soon, asking them to exchange those blades for me.
I don’t want to be caught on the road with poorly wiping blades during a downpour!
I’ll be going through my glove box before we leave to make sure the car registration is in there, as well as a current print out of our car insurance.
I believe their roadside assistance number is printed on the insurance card, but I’m not 100% sure. To be checked! #NoIDontKnowHowToChangeATire
The glove box is also where I keep a printout of our medical insurance for the pups as well as their rabies certifications.
I got an update alert for my GPS a few weeks ago, so I’ll still need to load it with current maps.
By the way – I always keep a hardcopy Road Atlas in the car as well – you never know when technology might fail you!
First Aid Kits
If you’re up for it, you can put your very own DIY pet first aid kit together!
Safety Precautions For Loose Cargo
We will be traveling with a Travall Guard Barrier.
It’ll come in very handy as the back of the Jeep will be pretty packed, and I wouldn’t want anything flying through the car.
Especially not while driving up & down windy mountain roads.
About 4 hours of the trip will be taking us through the Great Smoky Mountains, past Asheville, NC.
Dog Car Travel Harnesses for a Safe Road Trip with Dogs
I wrote about purchasing crash-tested dog car harnesses for the pups in my post What No One Tells You About The Dangers of Unrestrained Dogs In Cars.
Specifically, the Load Up ones from Ruffwear.
Silly me thought she got the right one for Missy at a heck of a deal for $39.95 on Amazon. But then I realized that I purchased the Front Range Harness instead.
I believe it was a late night purchase, so lesson learned.
I’m definitely keeping it though because I’m a sucker for Ruffwear products and I’m sure it’ll come in handy at some point, although I typically don’t walk my pups on harnesses.
I might use it as an upgrade from her old car harness when taking her rollerblading.
So either way, I still need to get a Load Up Harness for both pups ($79.95), which will be an early July purchase.
Update: I purchased a Load Up harness for my big boy Buzz and compared it to Missy’s Front Range harness in this blog post.
Summer Road Trip with Dogs: Bottom Line
It’s a good idea to take a few moments to brainstorm before a longer road trip with dogs.
Figure out which components of your daily doggie routine are essential and absolutely need to come along on the trip, and which ones can be left at home.
Make sure your vehicle is up for the length of the trip to keep everyone safe and the trip enjoyable!
I hope you’ll find the checklist useful! Do you have any additional travel tips for us? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!
- On the road with Twigo Pet ID Tags
- Free printable raw dog food inventory sheets
- Winter getaway to dog-friendly Hilton Head Island
- Dog car anxiety – how to travel with an anxious dog
- Croatia with dogs – our summer road trip with Wally
- How to move overseas with your raw-fed dog (USA-Germany)