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A smiling young woman drives her car along a country road, with her dog sitting on the passenger seat.



If you’re getting ready to hit the road and want to bring your furry friend, some advance planning is the key to success. There’s a lot more to it than just putting them in the car and starting the engine.

Acclimate Them to the Vehicle

If your cat or dog hasn’t spent much time riding in your vehicle, do some test drives prior to your trip. Take them on a few runs with you to and from the grocery store, then on some longer drives around town so they can get used to the sounds and motion of the car, and you can see how they react. If you discover your pet gets motion sick or highly stressed, you can check with your vet to see if there are medications or other steps you can take to mitigate this. It may be as simple as giving them a good exercise session right before hitting the road in order to tire them out.

Plan Stops Along Your Route

Make sure you plan comfort stops along your route for your pet to go potty, stretch their legs, drink water, and eat if necessary. Have a leash and harness for your dog or cat, but be aware that even a leash-trained cat may be anxious in unfamiliar surroundings (especially if there are a multitude of dogs around at a highway rest area, for example). So a travel litter pan or top-entry litter box (to minimize spills) that can be used in the car and at your destination might be needed. If you’ll be staying at hotels, ensure they are pet-friendly before booking.

Pack Pet Supplies

Make sure you pack everything your pet will need during your trip. Travel crates (if needed), comfort items like bedding and favorite toys, paper towels and wet wipes to clean up any messes, plenty of their regular food and treats, jugs or bottles of water, food and water bowls, any regular medications, grooming equipment, waste collection baggies, and their leashes and harnesses. You may also need to pack apparel or accessories that your pet will need at your destination, such as a warm or waterproof coat and booties for their paws. Consider protective seat covers or cargo mats for your vehicle in case of any messes en route.

With a little planning and some basic accommodations for your pet along the way, a road trip can be something you all enjoy. For more handy life hacks, check out the other posts at the Olympus at the Canyons blog.