Just like any loyal friend, your dog is always excited at the opportunity to hop in the car and leave town with you. Yep, he’ll pretty much follow you anywhere with his tail wagging. But are you prepared to have a four-legged passenger along for the ride? Follow these five steps to ensure a smooth trip.

  1. Plan ahead

    If your trip includes multiple days on the road, make sure that you know where you’re going to stop for the night. The last thing you want is to pull into the first hotel you come across when you’re too tired to keep driving only to find that they do not allow pets. Unless your goal is to spend the night under the stars with your dog, use some tools such as Bring Fido and dogfriendly.com to help plan ahead.

  1. Pack for your dog

    You might have grabbed all of your essentials, but you’ll want to make sure that you have a separate checklist to go through for your pooch too. It also might be a good idea to have a day pack for your pup and a long term bag. The day pack should be accessible so that you can get in and out of it during pit stops. Think water bowl, water, snacks, food, any medication, poop bags, leash, bed, and a chew toy. You’ll want to make sure that you take frequent stops (every three hours or so) to let your dog stretch its legs.

  1. Safety

    You wouldn’t let a child crawl all over the car so don’t let your fur-baby either. The internet is full of car safety tools for your dog. If you’re going to be taking a lot of trips together then it’s a good idea to invest in a quality seatbelt harness otherwise you can always let your dog ride along in his crate. Remember, while dogs enjoy feeling the wind in their face, it’s not safe for their shoulders or paws to be sticking out of the vehicle while moving.

  1. Entertainment

    Dogs ears are more sensitive than ours. If you enjoy having a roadside singalong, try to keep the sound up front so that you aren’t blasting your dog with the noise. Also, while singing might entertain you, it probably won’t keep your pal from being bored in the back seat. Try to tire your dog out with a long walk before any big car ride. You should also provide your pup with a chew toy or a bone to help the trip go by faster.

  1. Expect the worst

    Any good plan considers a worst-case scenario. Make sure you are prepared and that your dog is too! Try downloading a dog first-aid app, see that your dog is microchipped, have your vet’s number in your phone, and have medication for car sickness just in case.

With the right planning, any dog can be the Goose to your Maverick!