How to Plan a Road Trip With Your Dog

We recently embarked on a nearly three week road trip from California to Connecticut. I know, I know. The question we keep receiving is why? Well, the short answer. When your husband is a naval officer and has to prepare to get back on submarines, you go to Naval Submarine Base New London. So there you have it.

As part of our colossal move, we had our four-year-old rescue corgi “Lady” along for the ride. We rescued her only a year ago, and we were both nervous about pulling her away from the routine we worked so hard to build for her.

Here’s some tips I received from various people, which made our trip so much easier:

  1. Prepare for longer car rides. Before our road trip we made sure Lady was comfortable in our car. We had her tag along for more rides than usual, like quick errands to the store or even a few longer airport pick-ups. By doing this, we were able to estimate how long she could handle being in the car without a break (~three hours).
  2. Make a comfortable space.  Our car was stuffed with our possessions, but we arranged it so Lady could have a designated spot. We plopped her dog bed on the seat, with nearby items that were familiar (leash and harness, blankets and her favorite rug). We were driving in the middle of the desert during June, so air conditioning was key. We made sure air was blowing on her at all times.
  3. Organize everything in one place. With our car packed full of things, we wanted to keep all of Lady’s items in one easy, convenient place. We stuffed a cube bin with her medical history and vaccination forms (in a binder), dog food and treats, hair brush, waste bags, wipes and medication.
  4. Portion out food and treats. This was especially convenient as we checked in and out of hotels. Rather than lugging her entire bin inside, we’d grab a zip lock bag or two.
  5. Keep water dish (and extra water) with you. Hydration was our biggest concern. While Lady slept most of the time, we had to monitor the time and make sure she was drinking enough water. We gave her water before and after all breaks and walks, and made sure to give her a nudge in the car when she needed it. Plan ahead and make sure you pack enough water.
  6. Map out rest stops. We realized right away that our dog did much better with shorter, frequent stops. We would stop every two or three hours so she could stretch her legs, get fresh air and do her business. We mixed it up with quick and easy rest stops, and a few special dog parks. After every stop, I would look ahead on Google Maps to see where the next two or three hours would take us.
  7. Try to maintain a normal routine. This was tricky, but we tried. For us, that meant feeding Lady around the same time as we did at home, dad walking her in the morning and mom walking her at night. We took it an extra step and brought in some familiar items, like her favorite rug. Yeah, we were those weird people carrying a RUG into a hotel.

Here’s some fun photos from #LadysBigAdventure! To see our road trip in photos, check out my saved story on Instagram.




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