For many Americans, the winter season is a great time for vacation. Cold weather, combined with a multitude of holiday breaks, provide people with a great excuse to get out of town. Whether it is heading to the in-laws for an extended Christmas vacation or a road trip to somewhere warm, many must make accommodations for their four-legged friends. Nearly 44 percent of Americans own a dog and must make the choice; “does Fido stay or go?”
In the past, traveling with dogs was a chore. A lack of pet-friendly hotels and public spaces made it difficult to keep dogs comfortable on the road. Infrequent rest areas along major roads and interstates as well as unsafe vehicles further complicated the issues. However, today, life with a pup is significantly easier. With an abundance of dog parks and dog-friendly public spaces, it is much easier to treat your dog like a member of the family. Traveling with a dog still has its issues, but it can be made much easier when the appropriate accommodations are made.
Choosing a Vehicle
Choosing a vehicle that can easily work with you and your pups lifestyle is a must. Though the sliding doors on a minivan provide the easiest access for your dog, most minivans are not the epitome of style. A crossover or mid-size SUV makes for a great compromise. With modern styling, the comfortable ride of a sedan and space of a minivan make the SUV a great dog-friendly option. Another feature to consider when purchasing a vehicle for you and your dog is storage. Vehicles with storage underneath the floor make for great pet-friendly cars as they keep your stuff out of the way and allow maximum space for your pup to comfortable lay down. Rear climate controls and ventilation are another key features to look for in your ultimate pet-friendly vehicle!
Protection for your Car
Traveling in the winter with a dog can be incredibly hard on your vehicle. A dirty, wet dog (no matter how cute they may look) can cause irreparable damage to your interior. Thankfully, the market for dog-friendly vehicle protection has boomed in recent years. No matter what you drive, there are a few must-have interior protection accessories. Weathertech is a one-stop shop and has an excellent line of products perfect for dog owners. Their waterproof floor mats and cargo liners are laser cut to fit, ensuring they won’t slide around on your pooch. Window deflectors are an often overlooked interior pet accessory. They allow you to crack your window and provide fresh air to your dog while keeping wet weather out.
For those with a crossover or SUV, dog-friendly accessory options are nearly endless. A good dog bed, such as the Astral AstroPad, which is waterproof and durable, is a must. A wet, moldy dog bed is bad for both you and your pup, so make sure you’re getting something that is up to the task! Combined with a pet divider, this makes for a great way to protect your dog and your car. If safety is your primary concern, a doggy crate anchored down to a hard point in the vehicle can be utilized instead.
If you’re the type that likes to have your pup as close to you as possible, a hammock-style seat for your dog is a great option. They cover up your back seat, offering protection, as well as a warm, cozy, flat spot for your dog to nap. This option is great for SUVs, full-size trucks, hatchbacks and sedans alike!
Keeping Your Dog Comfy for the Long Haul
Once you’ve chosen where you think your pup will be the safest and most comfortable, the next step is making sure that he or she remains content for the duration of your trip. Many dogs, especially short-haired breeds, struggle with cold temps. Many cars lack rear heating, so this can be an issue that many pet owners will encounter. Thankfully, Ruffwear has you covered. Or, more importantly, has your pooch covered. With coats and sleeping bags for dogs of all shapes and sizes, they have lots of products specifically designed to make traveling with your furry friend easier.
Bringfido.com is a very useful resource for winter traveling with your pup. The app was designed to help dog owners find pet-friendly hotels, campgrounds, public spaces and more with ease. Finding places where both you and your dog are comfy is key for a successful winter trip.
Other general dog-friendly winter travel tips include:
- Store your dog’s water in an insulated container to ensure it doesn’t freeze!
- Always have poop bags handy! They can be hard to come by while traveling.
- Paper towels are a man’s best friend (no offense, Fido!) Messes with a dog are bound to occur and it is best to be prepared.
- Collapsible food and water bowls are easy to store and leave in your vehicle at all times.
- Make sure you have a good, smell-proof food container that your dog cannot get into!
- Keep your leash handy!
Traveling with a dog is much more complicated than traveling without one. However, the rewards far outweigh the extra effort needed. A dog is a great road trip companion, no matter your destination.