Preparation for a Road Trip
A Month Before
If you don't already have one, get a pet identification tag for your dog. It should have your dog's name, your name and phone number. Consider using a cell phone number, a home number, and possible the number of where you will be staying.
Get a first aid kit for your dog. It comes in very handy if you need to remove any ticks. The kits are usually available at a pet store, a veterinary office or on the Internet.
If you do not already have a dog harness for riding the car, consider purchasing one for your dog's safety. They are usually sold at pet stores or on the Internet.
Make a trip to the vet if necessary for the following:
A current rabies tag for your dog's collar. Also get paperwork with proof of the rabies vaccine. You might need this if you day board your dog.
Consider any recommended vaccines. A Lyme disease (from ticks) vaccine might be recommended if you plan on hiking. A Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine might be recommended if you plan to day board your pooch or if your dog will be in contact with many other dogs.
If you are not already doing so, consider placing your dog on a monthly heartworm preventative medicine. Dogs can usually get heartworm from mosquitos in the mountains, rural areas or on hikes.
Consider using some type of flea preventative for your dog. This is out of courtesy for the dog-friendly hotels plus for the comfort of your pooch.
Make sure your dog is in good health. If you are driving to Canada or Mexico, you will probably also need a recent health certificate.
Several Days Before
Make sure you have enough dog food for the duration of the trip.
If your dog is on any medication, remember to bring it along.
Some dog owners will also purchase bottled water for the trip, because some dogs can get sick from drinking water they are not used to. Talk to your vet for more information.
The Day Before
Do not forget to review DogFriendly.com's Etiquette for the Traveling Dog!
Road Trip Day
Remember to pack all of your dog's necessities: food, water, dog dishes, leash, snacks and goodies, several favorite toys, brush, towels for dirty paws, plastic bags for cleaning up after your dog, doggie first aid kit, possibly dog booties if you are venturing to an especially cold or hot region, and bring any medicine your dog might be taking.
Before you head out, put on that doggie seat belt harness.
On The Road
Keep it cool and well ventilated in the car for your dog.
Stop at least every 2-3 hours so your dog can relieve him or herself. Also offer him or her water during the stops.
Never leave your pet alone in a parked car - even in the shade with the window cracked open. According to the Los Angeles SPCA, on a hot day, a car can heat up to 160 degrees in minutes, potentially causing your pet (or child) heat stroke, brain damage, and even death.
And most importantly, go have fun!