What is the best way to handle visiting the restroom at a rest stop when traveling with a dog on the US interstate system?
There's no real best way, you have to adjust to circumstances. This is a bit complicated by various Good Samaritan laws which allow the rescue of a distressed animal.**
(Assuming you are traveling alone.) Here are some options depending on the prevailing circumstances:
Leave the dog in the vehicle with the engine and AC running. If you have two keys, you can still secure the vehicle.
Leave the dog secured in the vehicle with the windows open.
Secure the dog outside the restroom with sufficient distance to not impede access. There may even be a pet relief area just for this.
- If the dog fits in a small carrier, you could take the dog with you.
Either way, you will have to evaluate each stop to determine which is best. Also, look out for signs that specifically prohibit pets in certain areas, such as inside the restroom or other facilities.
**For the "show me" nitpickers: Table of State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles