Photo: deb@deb-gray.com 

Do you know how to convince a tired and anxious dog to eat on the road? Have a quick list of everything you need to go on a road trip with Fido? As a dog owner who has lugged her furry friends from Idaho to Kansas to Albuquerque and everywhere in between, I’ve got some news for you – it ain’t easy. Through trial and error, I’ve learned a lot about pet-friendly car travel over the past few years, though.

Here are some tips to help you keep holiday travel with pooch hassle free.

Bring a packable, snuggly bed and blanket.

Traveling can be stressful for dogs. Having his or her bed and blanket will not only add physical comfort, it will help them feel more at home when you arrive at your destination.

Invest in a Car Seat Cover.

Your car seats will thank you in the long run. I use a Solvit bench seat cover.

Shop: Solvit Products 62283 Deluxe Bench Seat Cover Natural, Large

Your dog needs to eat. Bring an air-tight travel food container.

Bringing a bag of food can get bulky and messy, especially if, like me, you’re dealing with a 30-pound food bag. I suggest instead bringing a small storage product with a handle like the Buddeez 8-Quart Food Dispenser. Measure out the amount of food your dog will need for the trip and fill ‘er up!

Don’t forget collapsible water and food dishes.

Food and water are no good without something to hold them in.

Bring some wet food.

On long drives and in new places, I always keep some wet food as backup. Often, dogs may reject their regular food because they are anxious or just plain tired. If you are worried that your dog is not eating or drinking, wet food is often too enticing for a pup to resist. The bonus – wet food offers both nutrition and water. I suggest bringing single-serving wet food products that won’t need refrigeration. My dogs love Natural Balance formulas. If getting canned food, opt for the containers with easy-open lids so you don’t have to worry about a can opener.

Bring lots of poop bags.

Don’t skimp on this. Poop happens.

Carry a pet carrier or crate.

If you plan on leaving your dog by herself for any period of time, a crate or pet carrier can be helpful. Most hotels require you to crate pets when they are left unattended. If you have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety or is not quite potty trained, this could save you money. Generally speaking, many dogs find comfort in a crate, but make sure you crate train your dog before using it. Crates should never be used as punishment and dogs should willingly and calmly enter the crate. Many calmer dogs can use soft crates, but you may also opt for a wire crate, which is more secure. Don’t forget to leave your dog a crate mat to lounge on and something like a bone or chew toy to keep them busy!

Don’t forget the vaccination records.

You never know when an accident may occur. Make sure to bring your dog’s vaccination records and medical history. Also, identify an emergency veterinarian in the area.

Investigate Dog-Friendly Accommodations in Advance.

At bringfido.com, you can browse dog-friendly restaurants, hotels, parks and more in the area you are visiting. The site also has a ratings system to help you choose.

Can’t bring Fido? Check out Rover.com

Rover.com offers dog walking, pet sitting and doggie daycare from local providers for reasonable prices.

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