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I'm planning a move across the United states (literally coast-to-coast) and my large (75 lb) dog needs to come along. According to google maps it's a 36 hour drive, which I figure will take a minimum of 3 days once some slight sight seeing, eating, and sleeping is factored in.

Clearly I need to bring dog food, maybe a blanket for him to lay on in the hotel room and probably a travel crate. What else do I need to take into account?

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The big question mark is how well your dog travels. We've got a dog that will just curl up and sleep for as long as we choose to travel - she's done 14 hour non-stop trips with no issues - but I also know dogs that whine incessantly without regular (three hourly or so) stops to relieve themselves and/or have a walk around. This will significantly affect travel time and hence where you'll be able to reach within a given time period.

Other than that, you'll need to confirm that anywhere you're looking to stay is pet-friendly. This may not be as big an issue in the US, but in Australia options are more limited and require researching and booking ahead.

If you're going to go sightseeing the same applies - is the attraction dog friendly? What will you do with your dog while you're visiting the attraction? Leaving your dog in the car can be ok, but it really depends on the dog and also the parking situation (under cover is a minimum) and the weather (never do it on a hot day).

The minimum of travel equipment that we've found is:

  1. Water bowl and water. You can get a water bottle with a combined drinking tray that is useful for travelling.
  2. Food bowl and food.
  3. Something for your dog to sleep on/in, whether it's a blanket or a bed. Ideally it's something familiar to the dog and that they're accustomed to sleeping in.
  4. Travel harness. This depends on the dog but our's is known to try to hop into the driver's lap - very bad. It also reduces the chance of the dog getting injured if an accident happens.
  5. The usual leash and poo bags for bathroom stops.
  • He's pretty good about car trips, though the longest he's been on is 1 hour. Thanks for the tips! – Mitch Jan 4 '15 at 5:36
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You didn't mention what type of vehicle you're using. I just got back from a 18 hour trip in a car. I bought a Solid Foam Microfiber Backseat Extender from Amazon that goes on the back floor between the back and front seats. Amazon says it's currently out of stock but the link for it is: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003X22GDG I then put his foam dog bed on top of that and the seat. He was clearly very comfortable and slept most of the trip.

On short drives when he's just on the back seat with a regular blanket he paces around trying to get comfortable. This is not an issue with this setup.

The second thing I would recommend deals with the water situation. I put a tupperware container that's taller than his regular dog bowl inside the regular dog bowl. I then put these 2 bowls on a towel on the back seat and put about 2 inches of water in the tupperware. The regular bowl keeps the tupperware container from tipping over and the water can splash around without splashing out. This way your dog can drink whenever he wants.

Edited to include the following website that has some good pictures the backseat extender in action. These pictures give a good example of the size of it. http://travelhintsandtips.com/road_trip.php

  • Thanks for the tips, I especially liked that extender thing. It'll either be in a honda cr-v or a honda fit, so I think that will work – Mitch Jan 6 '15 at 18:59
  • No problem. In case you didn't get one already I noticed the backseat extender is back in stock at Amazon, at least for now anyway. This website has some really good pictures of it being used: travelhintsandtips.com/road_trip.php. Looking at the pictures you can get a really good idea of the size of it. – Keith Cox Mar 25 '15 at 2:17
  • Turns out plans have changed and I'm going to be driving a U-Haul truck across. Luckily the inner cabin is pretty large, so I think he'll be fine that way. I may however try to set up a make-shift seat extender (with some plastic totes with a pillow on top) just to be safe – Mitch Mar 25 '15 at 13:26
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Have a look at Travels with Charley - may actually be useful and if not, you will be captivated anyway if you have not met it.

A 10,000 mile US road trip by one man and a 10 year old French Poodle.
When the 'one man' happens to be the awesome great John Steinbeck 'it's all on'.

I started this more as a humorous comment, but Steinbeck probably has some useful things to say on the subject - and 10,000 miles of experience.

Amazon will, of course, sell you one.

AbeBOOKs will sell you 863. From $3.48 used - free shipping in US.

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I would definitely suggest taking as much familiar things as you can, I mean the things your dog is used to. It's not that you need to sacrifice your comfort and take half of your home with you, but familiar smells help reduce stress and you can use that to your advantage. So a familiar blanket or multipurpose mat that is designed for car rides and holidays are a good choice. Whenever I travel with my Joey (golden retriever) I always bring enough of his special dog food. I don't want to take the risk of not finding his food on a destination. Diet change would be stressful and unnecessary.

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