5 Tips for Road-tripping with Dogs

October 27, 2021

Holiday travel year is expected to reach record highs this year as more Americans take to the road for their holiday getaway. But, they won’t be traveling by air or train. Instead, a large number of Americans are choosing to travel by vehicle.

The demand for car rentals is already up 229% (when compared to 2019) and 244% (when compared to 2020).

What this means for most is that hotels, B&Bs and other locales will be busier than ever. If you haven’t already reserved your pet-friendly rental or hotel, the time to do it is now.

road-trip safety with dogs

Busiest Travel Days

While the busiest travel days didn’t change between 2019-2020, they have changed for 2021.

Traditionally, the busiest travel days were the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This year, however, Priceline reports that the busiest travel day will be Monday, November 15 with Wednesday being the second busiest time to travel, and most of these people will be on the road.

This places a few stressors on our pets and it’s important to be ready if you’re planning on taking your dog along with you. These tips will help make travel safer and easier for you and your pets.

1. Book Pet Sitters Early

Pet sitters are busier than ever this year as quarantines are lifted and people begin venturing out. This is why it’s so important to have your pet sitter locked in early. Even if you think your plans may change, be sure to get your sitter booked if you plan to travel alone.

2. Eliminate Distractions

Not only are unrestrained dogs in cars a danger for themselves, they can create a slew of issues with passengers and drivers.

Did you know that an unrestrained ten-pound dog in an accident at 50 mph can exert 500 lbs of pressure? Even worse, an 80-lb dog in a crash at 30 mph can create over 2,400 lbs of force!

distracted driving with dogs

There are many products available to help you avoid distracted driving, but the most important thing you can do is train your dog to behave well in the vehicle before you ever leave.

3. Choose Crash-Tested Equipment

There are many dog harnesses and travel crates on the market that tout safety, but choosing one that actually is safe can be a challenge.

Always select travel equipment that has been tested by a 3rd party group.

The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) conducts these types of tests and publishes their results. Currently, there are only three car harnesses that have been crash test certified by the CPS. 

4. Always Carry a Slip Lead or Martingale

Always carry a slip lead or martingale in your vehicle. These leads are ideal for ensuring your pets don’t slip out of their collar at a rest stop, disappearing into the vast unknown.

5. Choose the Right Leads for the Event

Slip leads are also ideal for controlling pets as they climb in and out of cars, walk unknown areas, and new areas.

Traffic leads are ideal for times when you need to keep your pets close to you (especially important in pet-friendly restaurants, crowded parties, etc). But, be sure to carry a long lead for times your dog is allowed to roam a little further.  

Plan Ahead

Most importantly, plan ahead for the holiday travel season. If you haven’t already made Thanksgiving reservations, you may already be too late. But Christmas is on the way and you'll have a second chance!

Book early and secure your spot so that you and your best four-legged friend aren’t left out in the cold...