How to Road Trip with Pets and Gear that Will Make the Trip Better

When you go on a trip by yourself or with other people, the chances are that you already know what to do – and your companions know as well. With that in mind, when you take a pet with you, things can get slightly more complicated.

Without proper planning, the trip can get uncomfortable not only for you but also for your pet. Plus, if you are not careful enough, you might even put your pet in danger. Luckily, we live in a time when there is a kind of gear for everything.

How to Road Trip with Pets

It’s vital to properly prepare for a road trip with your pet.

Here is what you can do to make a road trip with your pet more enjoyable.

Tips for Taking Road Trips with Pets

A road trip, or even an overlanding trip with your pet, should be planned before you decide to hit the road. Here are some tips that you might want to follow in order to get the most out of your adventure.

1. Check That the Destinations Are Pet Friendly

You can’t really keep your pet in the car at all times. You eventually need to let them stretch their legs and burn some energy. With that in mind, not all campsites or stop places allow for you to take your dog with you. And those that do might have certain requirements, such as wearing a certain leash or having the necessary vaccines.

2. Plan a Vet Visit

As much as your pet might not like it when you take them to the vet, you might want to schedule it in. Not only should you make sure they are up to date with their shots, but you might also want to get medicine for associated health issues (i.e., motion sickness or anxiety). They should also give you something to protect against fleas and ticks.

3. Plan Some Exploration Time

As you are overlanding, you’ll probably spend a lot of time in your car – and there is no way your pet is going to like that. If you leave them trapped too much in the car, they might just decide to let themselves go in your car – and you certainly won’t like that. Plan some exploration time, or incorporate some exercising sessions – perhaps some sprints or jumping jacks. You and your pet both need to stay in shape, and they will excitedly follow along with you.

Road Tripping With Dogs

Be sure to let your pet stretch their legs.

Gear to Take with You

Sometimes, the gear will determine whether the trip you take with your pet is successful or not. To make matters easier for you, here are some things that you might want to consider purchasing.

1. Pet Seat Cover

Does your pet shed a lot of hair? In that case, you should get a car seat cover. This way, when the trip is over, all you have to do is to take the cover out to clean it. You might want to get it in waterproof form, just in case your dog gets too excited and can’t wait until the next stop.

2. Dog Car Harness

While we may not want to think about the unthinkable, sometimes accidents can happen. And just like you would keep yourself and your child safe in your car, you also need to keep your pet safe with a dog car harness. Look for something comfortable enough that could double as a leash.

3. Get a Mobile Pet Bed

If you have a small pet, you might be able to make matters more comfortable for them by buying a pet bed. Most of them are made from breathable mesh, which means that your pet should be able to see around them as well. If you have a bigger pet, then you might want to consider getting them a collapsible crate.

4. Pet Travel Water Dispenser

Many brands offer water bottles that have connected spouts to them. With only one touch, it should dispense enough water for your pet to quench its thirst. Make sure that you go for something with a leak-proof system so that you don’t have to worry about any “accidents” on your backseat.

5. Portable Vacuum Cleaner

You might try to avoid it as much as possible – but eventually, your pet might just make a mess on the backseat of your car. If you have a seat cover, it might make things slightly easier – but if you don’t, it can be a disaster. To avoid any stains or dirt getting everywhere, you should get a portable vacuum cleaner. Handheld vacuums are convenient for cleaning up pet hair, dirt, and grime before it gets worse – especially when you don’t have access to a power socket.

6. Bite Toys and Treats

If you are thinking of leaving your pet’s toys at home, you might want to rethink that. Without something to entertain them, they’ll bite on anything that comes their way when they are bored – including your backseat. So, make sure to bring a couple of rubber chew toys so that your car is safe and sound during the trip. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure to carry an adequate amount of treats for the journey.


Your good girl/boy deserves some treats, especially after a long hike!

Have a Pet-Friendly Adventure

Road trips with your pet are entertaining and can be a true breath of fresh air. You just need to prepare yourself beforehand so that everything goes smoothly for both of you. Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

Ferenc Elekes

Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.

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