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How To Keep Your Dog Entertained During Long-Distance Travel

Helpful Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

More and more people want to take their dog with them on vacation rather than leaving their beloved family pet behind in boarding kennels or with a pet sitter. And the same applies if you’re moving home out of state.

But taking a long road trip with your dog can be a stressful and tedious experience for both parties.
So, how can you keep your dog entertained during a long-distance drive?

Read this helpful guide to find out!

Safety First

Before you set off on your epic road trip, it’s essential that your dog is safely restrained in your vehicle.
Dogs should never be allowed to roam freely around your car, even on the back seat.
If you have to brake suddenly or you’re involved in a collision, your dog will be thrown forward, potentially injuring himself, you, or your passengers.

Dogs can often find it difficult to keep their balance in a moving car, so you must fit your pup with a seatbelt harness or, preferably, keep him contained in a travel crate.

Now, we can look at ways to keep your dog occupied and entertained during your journey.

Enjoy The View!

Most dogs are happy just to look out of the car window and take in the scenery!

Depending on your route, there might be fields, mountains, ocean views, and wildlife for your dog to look at. Even when you’re traveling through cityscapes, you’re certain to see people and their dogs walking down the street.

All those sights and sounds are fascinating for your dog and can provide him with endless entertainment during a journey. Make sure that your pet can see the sights by positioning his crate so that he has an unobstructed view out of the car windows.

Home From Home

Dogs are creatures of habit, and do best when surrounded by their own - and your - familiar stuff. So, transform your vehicle into a home-from-home environment for your pet by including your dog’s blankets, bed, toys in his crate. It could help to include a worn item of your own clothing so that he can pick up the reassuring, familiar scent.

You might find that an anxious traveler settles better if you put a blanket over the top of his crate to create a secure den-like setup for your pet.

Top Tip: If your dog isn’t accustomed to riding in the car, it’s a good idea to take a few trial runs over short distances before you hit the road for your long journey, always finishing on a positive e.g. with a visit to the beach or dog park.  This helps create a positive association with trips in the car.

Take Some Of His Toys

If your dog has a collection of favorite toys that he loves to play with, be sure to take a few with you and put them into your pup’s crate to keep him amused during the drive. Your dog will most likely entertain himself by playing with his toys and enjoying a nap between games. Try and include interactive toys with treats inside.

To add to the fun, why not give your dog a lovely surprise by making him a new handcrafted dog toy (made from your old shirt)?

Puppies and senior dogs often love the security of cuddling something that smells of their beloved owner, and a toy made from one of your old ‘T’s is perfect.

Chat To Your Dog!

Dogs love to hear the sound of their owner’s voice. Even if your dog has no idea what you’re talking about, he’ll enjoy hearing you chatting with him during the journey. Also, if you’re traveling alone, having someone to talk to can help the miles fly by on a long road trip.

Dogs and puppies that become anxious when riding in the car often find the sound of conversation very soothing, especially if you use your pet’s name often. Sometimes, the sound of the car radio can have the same calming effect on your dog as hearing your voice, provided you don’t have the volume up too high and pick some relaxing music.

Take A Break

Dogs need comfort breaks during a long journey, just like you do!

Remember that puppies and senior dogs typically need to relieve themselves more frequently than adult animals, so you’ll need to plan ahead for suitable rest stops.

Keeping your dog hydrated is also extremely important on long journeys in very warm weather. Also, if your dog is hungry or thirsty, he won’t settle down in the car, and stopping every couple of hours for a break can also provide you with an opportunity to give your dog a drink and maybe a snack to keep him going.

Also, a short walk or play session can be a good way of helping your dog to settle during a car journey, especially if you own a very active breed. However, don’t go overboard in hot weather, as you don’t want your dog to overheat in the car.

For more tips on how to keep your dog healthy and happy during a family trip, check out this article!

Choose Pet-Friendly Hotels

If you’re planning a very long road trip, it can be beneficial for both you and your dog to break the journey with overnight stops.

For one thing, you’ll enjoy relaxing after a long day behind the wheel, and a proper meal in the hotel restaurant will be a welcome relief from service station snacks.

And, once the day’s drive is done, staying the night in a pet-friendly hotel can help your dog to relax, take some exercise, and be himself.  

Dogs do pick up on their owner’s stress, so a sleepover break is an excellent way of ensuring that your pet is relaxed, too.

Also, many other dog owners who are traveling with their pets take advantage of pet-friendly hotels, so you’ll most likely find plenty of canine guests that make wonderful playmates for your dog.

Final Thoughts

Your dog is a valuable and much-loved member of your family, so it makes sense to take him with you on vacation.

Also, if you’re moving home, you want your pet to be part of the experience and travel with you and your family to your new abode. 

Use the helpful tips we’ve provided for you in this guide to keep your dog happy, comfortable, and entertained during long-distance journeys. 

Have a safe trip!

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