You’ve decided on a destination, and now it’s time to prep your pooch for the car ride. Four best practices to be best in show.
Map Your Breaks
Before the drive, use satellite view on Google Maps to look up rest stops with grassy areas (a good way to avoid walking beside the highway). DC-based travel journalist Troy Petenbrink, who often road-trips with his three-year-old Boston terrier, Princess, recommends the website Bring Fido for finding shops and restaurants that welcome dogs.
Go for a Test Drive
“Start taking short, frequent, and positive trips to places [dogs] find enjoyable, so they can build a positive association with the end result of a car trip,” says District Dogs trainer Avi Israeli. Consider visiting a nearby state park or going to a drive-through to get a tasty reward for your dog.
Secure Your Pup
As tempting as it may be to have a fluffy copilot, it’s much safer for dogs to ride in the backseat, advises Israeli. Put a blanket down and secure your pet with a harness seat-belt attachment or doggie car seat so that movement is limited and sudden stops don’t cause harm.
Keep Them Busy
“People should approach driving or traveling with their pet like they would with their child,” says Petenbrink, which means packing toys and treats to keep them entertained. For animals prone to motion sickness, bring a mini-fan to help them stay cool.
This article appears in the March 2023 issue of Washingtonian.