Traveling by Car with a Small Dog: How Does It Work?

As pet lovers, we know dogs adore car rides. Our four-legged best friends gets truly excited after hearing the long-awaited command “let’s go” and finding out we’ll drive together. For our spontaneous and quick adventures, we usually grab our dog’s car safety gear, and that’s it. However, hours-long road trips require more preparation.

Are you traveling to Branson by car with your small dog? We want to help ensure you and your beloved pet have the best trip together. That’s why we’ll share some knowledge and recommendations below. Read on!

Packing for the Road Trip

If you’ve made a reservation at your favorite pet-friendly resorts in Branson, the next step is to pack everything you and your little BFF may need. Carriers are great for traveling by car with a small dog. If you have a large enough area in your vehicle, say a van or SUV, a large crate and dog can work great, especially on long drives. This gives the dog a comfortable place to safely travel on the road. Just make sure the door is easy to access quickly!

Always consider the weather too. When traveling during the summer, one of the first things you should pack is your dog’s pad. Ideally, you should put it on the seat under your four-legged friend to avoid the risks and discomfort a hot surface can cause. Putting a pad or even a large towel down also adds comfort and prevents your dog’s fur or drool from dirtying or damaging the seat. For winter travel, extra blankets for the dog and depending on the breed a warm coat can help when getting out at rest stops!

Besides the crate, carrier or pad, you should pack other essential items you’d take with you on any other trip, including the following:

  • A tote with your dog’s food, treats, grooming supplies, water and toys
  • A printed shot record might be needed, which is necessary if there’s a medical emergency or if required to enter specific places, or use a boarding or grooming service. Photos on your phone will often suffice, but not always.
  • Your pet should have up to date tags on a secure collar with contact and vaccine / shot record status. Having a dog chipped prior to travel is good, especially if the pet is known to run off. On that same note, a picture of your dog with your phone number on it can be brought in case the worst happens and your beloved pup gets lost, that way you can hand out or post copies to find them.


Getting in the Car

Once you have your suitcases packed, it’s time to get in the car. This is when your trip to Branson pet-friendly resorts truly begins!

If your dog is not traveling in a crate or carrier, it is best to use a pet seatbelt harness, and preferably have them seated in the right rear passenger seat, so you can keep an eye on them. As mentioned, you should put the pad or towel on the seat first. After that, follow the harness instructions, usually they attach the strap to the small bar between the seat and back, which is the one parents use to secure baby seats, and if its hot and sunny, put a sun shade on that window.

Remember that it’s dangerous to transport a dog sitting loose in a vehicle without a crate, carrier, or harness. Pets should have some kind of restraint when traveling by car in case of an accident, and they shouldn’t be in the front passenger seat.

What to Do While on the Road

If it’ll take you some time to get to your chosen pet-friendly resorts in Branson, you should make a stop now and then to feed your pet and/or let them out to do their business. Your four-legged friend can get carsick if they eat or drink something en route. Therefore, you should avoid doing this when the vehicle is moving.

Ideally, this is what you should do to take care of your pal on a long road trip:

  • Stop at a safe place with some sort of pet friendly area
  • Feed them the normal food at the usual times
  • Walk around the place with your pup (a long walk is recommended for dogs to burn off energy)
  • Stop at least every two or three hours to give a little water to your furry BFF

If possible, stop occasionally to give your beloved puppy a bathroom break. Dogs need to stretch their legs regularly, so this is a good opportunity for another walk.


Tips for a Great Road Trip with a Small Dog

Are you ready to take your pup on a trip? Before getting in the car, check out these tips to make this experience safe and enjoyable:

  • Make sure your dog is wearing a sturdy collar with ID tags all the times
  • Keep your dog on a leash before opening the door when getting out of the car
  • Check if the sun shade is doing its job
  • Make stops in places with shade, safe temperatures and an area to walk
  • Check the temperature in the back seat from time to time as needed
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car unless necessary, and crack the windows if you do.


Final Thoughts: A Pet-Friendly Road Trip!

Traveling by car with a small dog? That’s an exciting adventure that both you and your furry BFF will enjoy. However, it requires preparation. You need to do your best to protect your pup and ensure they’re comfortable, safe, and healthy during a road trip.

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