Hit the road: Tips for travel with your dog

Hit the road: Tips for travel with your dog

We’ve partnered with Ruffwear and van lifer, Stephanie Large (@stephandthespaniels) to share some top tips for an epic road trip with your dog.

Hitting the open road means something different to everyone - maybe it’s about exploring unchartered territory or seeing new places through your dog’s eyes.

Image credit: Ruffwear

How long can a dog go on a road trip?

Some people live full-time on the road with their dogs. For others, their comfort level is a drive to the local park. Consider your dog’s age, activity level, and stress-response to car rides. If you have health concerns about your dog, we recommend checking with your vet. In the end, you know what’s best for you and your dog - and you can make unforgettable memories no matter the distance.

What should I pack?

Image credit: Stephanie Large (@stephandthespaniels)


You’ve got enough on your plate with packing for yourself. Let us lighten your load by taking care of your dog gear packing list:


  • Haul Bag - to organise gear
  • Water and dog food
  • Dog food & water bowl - The Great Basin bowl is collapsible and packs away easily in a pocket or backpack
  • 1-2 of your dog’s favourite toys - The Gnawt-a-Cone is great for fetch, or the internal champer holds peanut butter and large treats keeping your pup entertained for hours
  • Treats
  • Pick-up bags
  • Medical records & vaccine certificates
  • The Dirtbag Dog Towel - for wet-weather or water play
  • Dog bed & blankets - The Highlands Sleeping Bag & Pad are lightweight and easy to pack away
  • Emergency vet number
  • Dirtbag Seat Cover - to protect your car from dirt and scratches 
  • Dog apparel appropriate for the weather you’ll encounter - The Swamp Cooler Vest is great for cooling pups down in warm weather and the Sun Shower Jacket is a high-coverage and lightweight rain jacket 
  • Pet teezer - great for untangling fur from the remnants of your adventures
  • Knot-a-Hitch lets your dog roam at camp without having to worry they’ll wander off

Image credit: Ruffwear

Make sure to research where you’re heading

Take the guesswork out of your trip by researching parks and dog-friendly restaurants ahead of time. There’s a huge difference between dogs allowed and dog-friendly. Steph usually plans her trips with Sev & Lily by researching on Instagram or through recommendations from family and friends. While you might find basic information online, talking to someone who’s visited the area before will give you more insight and help you decide if it’s right for you. 

Steph shares her top 3 favourite places to visit in the UK with Sev & Lily:

  • Cornwall will always be our favourite, the beaches, places you can eat and the county is super dog friendly. We loved staying at the Trevella Campsite!
  • The Brecon Beacons is stunning and we absolutely loved staying in the Brecon Retreat 
  • The Cotswolds are so close to home and we love visiting


Practice short road trips first

Unfamiliar routes can bring surprises - like unexpected bumpy roads and swerves. Some dogs adjust well to road trips, while others might experience anxiety or motion sickness.

To prepare your canine companion for longer car rides, ease them into the experience with shorter practice runs. Not only will you set your dog up for success, you’ll learn their individual needs and how you can best support them.

Image credit: Stephanie Large (@stephandthespaniels)

Get the wiggles out before the journey

Both you and your dog benefit from exercise before hours of sitting. There’s nothing like a good ball chase, toy tug, or morning run to get the wiggles out for you and your tail-wagging sidekick - and maybe even encourage a snooze in the car. 


Take breaks

Every two-to-three hours, take a break to stretch, walk, play, or go to the bathroom. Stops are also a great time to refuel your dog - and yourself - with water and food. Replenish and hydrate to keep those good vibes going. 


Stick to a routine

Sticking to the same routine as at home is really important wherever you stay when travelling. Keep dinner time the same, taking sniffs from home (like a blanket) and not expecting too much change is really important to reducing your pup’s anxiety in a strange place.

Image credit: Stephanie Large (@stephandthespaniels)


Leave no trace

For many, a big part of road tripping is the exploring we get to do along the way. But our epic excursions have an impact on the environment and wildlife. Luckily, there are ways to keep spirits high while minimising our impact. Pack it in, pack it out! Make sure to dispose of waste properly.


Off you go

So that’s it, you and your pup are packed, prepared, and pumped. Now go explore those coasts, forests, and peaks. You’re ready!


Alicia Andrusyk

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