Where it all began on the road for me and my doggos…
It was the Summer of 2010, I decided to move to South Florida for work and thus began the first of many road trips with my dogs. Little did I know at the time, I would be traveling back to my home town almost every other weekend for the entire 2 years I lived down there. This gave me and the dogs plenty of experience on the road together during these short trips back and forth.
At the time, I was driving a Pontiac Vibe (which I got purposefully because the back seats laid down flat). I was no stranger to the road, but was not sure how Raven & Dags would handle it and decided to make it as comfortable as possible for them.
This first trip was just going to be a weekend down and back. I decided to pack as light as possible and left most of the car space for the dogs in the back. The seats were laid down and lined with dog bedding and pillows. This was nice because they were up high enough in the car to be able to look out of the windows while still laying down.
Food and water were available for them in standard dog bowls* behind the passenger seat as well as a few of their dog toys. *LESSON LEARNED: Later on I would realize I needed to get a spill proof water bowl as to avoid water flying everywhere when applying the breaks or making turns.
Once we hit the highway, they eventually laid down and didn’t have any anxieties about being in the car for the trip. Thankfully neither of them got car sick. I had already taken them to many places locally like the dog parks, beach, and the vet, so they were pretty used to riding in cars for short distances at this point.
The drive (one way) was about 4 hours, so I decided to stop every hour on this first several trips to make sure that Raven and Dags had a chance to go to the bathroom and stretch their legs.
After taking this same trip over and over for almost 2 years, I slowly started to understand the comfort levels of my dogs while on the road. It allowed me to learn their cues on needing to stop for road breaks. Eventually we were able to make the trip with one or even no stops.
Each dog is different and should be gauged properly on how long they feel comfortable being in the car.
If you are considering taking a long road trip with your doggo, I highly recommend starting off with a local day trip and slowly extending the drive and time out on the road until you feel they are ready to be away from home for a long period of time.
Also, spill proof water bowls are a good idea!