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Top tips for traveling with your dog

Posted on 01 August 2019 by LeslieM

Moto Girl is off on a cross-county road trip making special appearances as America’s Top Dog Model 2019.

Travel season is here and families will be taking road trips to exciting destinations across the country. Dog friendly vacations make a fun time for the entire family, and traveling with pets is easier than ever. But bringing pets along for the ride, takes some advance planning and attention to detail while on the trip. Here are my top tips for an enjoyable road trip with your dog.

Make sure your dog is fully acclimated to and has a positive association with car travel and adventure. This can be accomplished by taking your dog on short car trips and errands around town. You may also want to take them to the park and other areas where they will be introduced to different environments as well as be around new dogs and people. End these trips with playtime, praise and a reward for good behavior in the car.

Prepare for the trip by making a folder with your packing lists, hotels, restaurants, activities and all the fun things you can do with your dog.

Pet’s Packing List




Water and food bowls

Bedding and towels

Car seat cover

Vaccination records

Flea and tick prevention

Favorite toys

Car harness/carrier

Leash + extension

Pet first aid kit

Pick up bags


Is your pet healthy and able to travel? Visit your veterinarian for a check-up.

If all is well, get them up-to-date on vaccines.

Get copies of paperwork with proof of vaccines and medical care.

If your dog requires medication, bring enough for the trip plus a few days extra for the unexpected.


Make sure your dog is micro chipped and has a collar with identification attached.

Bring photos of your dog with contact information on the back, kept in your purse or wallet.

Car Trip

Map out pet friendly stops with the help of GoPetFriendly.com.

Add markers for possible restaurants, attractions, landmarks and shops. Also, research highly rated emergency veterinarian offices in or near cities you will be driving through.

Plan to make frequent short stops to exercise, provide water and give your dog appropriate bathroom breaks.

Learn your dog’s stress signals and make sure to take a break when needed.

Practice good etiquette while out and about.

Make sure your pet is restrained for safety via a booster seat, carrier or harness.

Do not leave your dog in the car at any time.

Lodging & Food

Make a list of pet friendly accommodations along your route.

Bringfido.com helps you search for dog-friendly lodging, and it’s available as a mobile app so you can easily find hotels.

Bring your dog’s own bedding.

Check hotels pet rules and places to walk pets for potty breaks and exercise.

Eat out at dog friendly restaurants.

Bring containers with your dog’s food.


Enjoy your time together in your new surroundings. After a long day on the road, your dog will likely want to be close to what’s familiar and, if you’re in a new location, the most familiar thing for them will be you. Be prepared to spend the majority of time outdoors. Here are some fun things to do:

Picnic at a dog park

Relax on a pet friendly beach

Take a dog friendly hike

Go kayaking

Attend an outdoor music concert

Visit a state park (Check state parks pet regulations).

Jo Jo Harder, is an author, stylist, producer, and pet lifestyle expert, as well as CEO and creator of America’s Top Dog Model contest. Jo Jo has been at the helm of America’s Top Dog Model ® brand since 2005, and her unique approach to discovering, developing and managing top dog models has gained international attention. America’s Top Dog Model’s new reality series “How to Get to the Top” will launch on YouTube in August. www.americastopdogmodel.com.

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