How to Ensure Your Dog Will Enjoy Your Next Road Trip

Pet Friendly


In many households, dogs are just as much a part of the family as its two-legged members. This means they do everything and go everywhere with their humans, including road trips

However, just like humans, dogs can get car sick, uncomfortable, anxious, or even just bored in the car, especially on longer trips and in unfamiliar vehicles. Thankfully, with some advance planning and flexibility on the road, it’s easy to make your dog feel comfortable and help him, or her enjoy the ride. 

Whether your pup is a seasoned road trip veteran or a first-timer, here are some tips to make RV travel more enjoyable for all of you. 

Ease Into It

If your dog isn’t accustomed to car rides, start by taking him or her on short trips around town. Each time, increase the length slightly. Even if you only have enough time to do this 2-3 times before hitting the road for real, this can go a long way in helping your pup get used to the experience before taking a longer road trip.

Familiarize Your Dog With the Vehicle

Building on the previous tip, it’s a good idea to introduce your dog to the vehicle you’ll be traveling in beforehand. Dogs get acquainted by sniffing and exploring, and setting aside a few minutes for this before taking off may help your dog get comfortable and reduce anxiety.  

Avoid Large Meals or New Foods

A road trip, especially a long one, is not the time to introduce your dog to new food or even share your human snacks. Even slightly “foreign” foods could result in an upset stomach. Along the same lines, keep meals to smaller portions on the road because a full stomach increases the odds that your pup will get motion sickness. 

Make Your Pup Comfortable

Just like human passengers, a big key in making sure your dog enjoys road trips is making him or her comfortable in the vehicle. 

This includes making sure the vehicle’s interior is well-ventilated with plenty of fresh air circulating through. Depending on the exact vehicle setup, that may mean rolling down a window and letting your dog stick its head out. However, if that’s not possible, ensure your dog is getting some direct airflow to help regulate body temperature and prevent nausea or dizziness.

Creating a comfortable, dedicated space for your dog to sit or lay while driving is also important. Some people choose to use vehicle restraints (AKA, dog seat belts or harnesses), while others prefer to travel with a crate or designate a special spot in a nook or under a table. Whichever you opt for, add a cozy blanket or dog bed and some favorite toys to help Fido feel safe and secure. Having a stable space and something to chew on could also prevent car sickness!

Schedule Plenty of Stops 

Because your dog can’t simply tell you when he or she needs to go potty or feels a little nauseous, it’s important to make more frequent stops than you typically might. Try to stop every few hours and right before embarking on particularly winding or long stretches of road. It’s also a good idea to make quick stops right before and after significant altitude changes (i.e.; going up or coming down a mountain pass). 

Every stop doesn’t have to be long — just a few minutes to get some fresh air and a drink of water, plus stretch everyone’s legs. Having said that, be sure your dog gets a long walk or active playtime at least once or twice each day. 

Choose Pet-friendly Destinations

Don’t get so focused on making your dog comfortable in your RV that you overlook what will happen when you arrive. Not all places are dog-friendly, and neither of you will have a good time if you end up somewhere that isn’t. Look into dog-friendly RV parks, which typically have dog parks or walking trails, and which national parks allow dogs (you may be surprised at how few do!). 

Look Into Dog-friendly Medication

Finally, if you have a dog prone to stomach issues or anxiety, it may be worth looking into dog-safe medications. Talk to your vet about the options and remember, do a trial run before your trip. Just like introducing new foods, it’s not a good idea to give your dog anything out of the ordinary while traveling, in case of an adverse reaction. 

Cruise Comfortably With Your Dog

Now that you know how to help make your dog more comfortable on road trips, it’s time to actually take one! Luckily, ALL of Cruise America’s rental RV models are pet-friendly. Your entire family — two and four-legged members alike — can hit the road and travel together as comfortably as possible. 

So all you have to do is choose a dog-friendly destination, pick up your rental RV from one of nearly 120 convenient locations, and make some unforgettable memories from the road!