November 06, 2018 5 min read

The holidays are coming up which means it's time for trips back home and lots of travel plans. While the holidays are usually a time to celebrate and enjoy the company of those around you, it can be a stressful time for your dog (and you). Finding a sitter or kennel during the holiday season is not only expensive but also hard as most places are booked out months in advance. This year why not consider taking your best friend with you? This can be daunting but after a lot of trial and error, we've figured out some of the best tips to make your trip with your pup fun, easy, and safe!

Get A Seatbelt

Seatbelts are complete game changers. Not only is your pup safer, but you don't have to worry as much while driving. Gone are the days of worrying about your pup trying to join you up in the front of the car or sticking their paws out of the window. Since I have a large dog, I opted for a harness that hooks into the seatbelt. There are more options for smaller dogs though such as car seats and carriers that attach to the seat.


Making your dog comforatable is key for keeping everyone happy. While your dog may love car rides, road trips are an entirely different level. Having their blanket in the backseat with them helps to keep them calm and gives them a place to rest. It also is a great way to keep your backseat free of dog hair and drool which is always a major plus.


You were probably already planning on it, but make sure you pack your dog's toys! Bring more than you think you'll need to make sure they have plenty to keep them entertained. Even your pup's favorite toy can get boring after the first hour or two in the car. Puzzle toys are a great way to focus their energy and attention. Having one or two of these special toys definitely comes in handy once the usual favorite ball or chew toy gets boring. And the biggest tip would be to leave the squeaky toys at home-because no one wants to listen to that on a ten hour car ride.

Chow Time

For some reason this is the most common thing I forget to pack for my pup. Luckily, almost every corner store has a pack of dog food in case of emergencies. But if it can be avoided, try to pack your dog's usual food. Traveling can be stressful for dogs and it is common for them to get anxious and sick. Not to mention motion sickness is a thing for dogs. So having their normal food helps their stomach and is one less change for them on vacation. Don't forget to pack their dishes as well. If the bowls are heavy like mine, picking up a collapsable bowl is perfect for quick stops and easy storage.


My dog knows the word "treat" better than he knows his own name. So bringing treats on long drives is a must. Pack a few of your dog's favorite treats and stash them up front with you for easy access. This way you can reward them for calmly laying down on the seat or looking out the window. It also comes in handy for getting them back in the car after a quick reststop.


There are a lot of articles about whether or not you should give your doggo medicine before the drive. This is not something I would ever recommend or discourage-you know your dog. However, talking with your regular vet before the trip about what they would suggest is always the best option. If you decide medicine would benefit your dog on the trip, testing out a smaller dosage a few days before is important. You should make sure your dog reacts well to the medicine and that it has the desired affects.

First Aid + Clean Up

I like to keep a little first aid kit in my glove box because you never know what might happen. Once I started taking regular trips with my dog I added a few essentials for him in case something happened on a drive or hike.

  • Nail Clippers: Nail clippers come in handy in case your pup rips, breaks, or bends a nail. This way you'll be able to attend to the nail and shorten the rest if need be.
  • Self Cling Wraps: Most vets shave an animal before they apply bandages and tape. On the road you don't have that option so keeping self cling wraps is a good way to keep bandage and gauze in place without sticking to fur or hair.
  • Muzzle: When a dog gets injured you never know how they are going to react. Having a muzzle to protect yourself while tending to an injured dog is a good precaution. It also can be used to keep your dog from further injuring itself if the dog is trying to lick, bite, or irritate an injury.
  • Vaccine History: If you have to take your dog to a vet, groomer, or boarder, they will all ask for proof of vaccines. Having a copy of their current medical records with you is always a good idea.

Another thing to note is you'll be making the inevitable potty break stops. Make sure you have stocked up on poop bags not just for the drive, but for the entire trip.

Bringing your furry sidekick with you this holiday season is a great way to stay stress free and enjoy your trip. You don't have to constantly be checking in with a sitter or worrying about how much your pup misses you. Instead you can enjoy your holidays-as you should-and watch your dog enjoy it too.

But, as much fun as it is to have your pup with you on vacation, this isn't always the best option. Always make sure that where ever you are traveling allows dogs, whether it be your parent's house or a hotel. Also keep in mind how your dog reacts on trips. Some dogs get extremely car sick or suffer from anxiety on long trips. If that's the case, then leaving your dog to snuggle at home with a sitter might be your best option. But if your doggo likes to be in the car and can manage smaller drives, get ready and start packing those bags!


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Anastasia E. Allen

Previously a makeup artist, Anastasia is Bella Ella Boutique’s beauty blogger. She has a passion for writing and is currently finishing her first book of poetry. In her free time she drives around Utah with her dog, Atticus, looking for murals and coffee shops.

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