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Top 10 Tips for Taking Road Trips With Your Dog

Keep Your Four-Legged Friend Happy in Your Subaru

If you struggle with pet-owner guilt when you leave your furry friends behind while you travel, why not take them along? Your Subaru can be the perfect vehicle for you, your family, and your pet even on a long road trip.

Check out these 10 tips for road tripping with your dog - so your vacation isn't "ruff."

#1 Plan a pet-friendly trip

Seattle is extremely pet-friendly, but not all destinations are so kind to four-legged pals. has a state-by-state guide that can help you plan but also verify via phone with hotels and restaurants to confirm. Plan for drive thrus and outside dining at locales that aren't liberal with their pet policies.

#2 Schedule feedings carefully

If your dog is prone to motion sickness, feeding before you hit the road can make things worse. Also, feeding while in motion is dangerous even if motion sickness isn't an issue for your dog. Limit feedings to small meals while you're stopped and everyone is stretching their legs (two legs and four!).

#3 Be sure to stop for potty and play

When driving alone, you can marathon it and minimize stops. But with your pets on board, you should schedule regular stops to run off pent-up energy and allow your dog to hydrate and potty so that you can both enjoy the ride. This will also avoid any unwelcome accidents on your Subaru seats!

#4 Crate or seatbelt is critical

Driving around your Seattle neighborhood, letting Fido hang ten out the window of your Subaru is fine, but for longer trips, it's not safe. If your doggie is frisky and can be a distraction, consider a comfy crate. Even for those dogs that are chill in the car, a doggie seatbelt is advisable for your dog's safety and yours.

#5 Microchip and collar

Be sure that you can find your pet if you get separated somehow. A microchip is a wise investment and a tag with your cell phone number listed is a must. Also, consider investing in a GPS tracking collar. For $50-$70 you can get a collar that can be tracked from your phone in case you lose your pup pal.

#6 Pack for your pet

A crate is a good safety measure to corral your dog in the hotel room so you don't stress out the housekeeping staff. Also pack bowls, food, plenty of water, pet meds, and comfort items plus vet info, shot record, brush, shampoo, toys and any protective gear the trip demands.

#7 Check with the vet

Ensure all your dog's shots are up to date and that you have a copy of the vaccination record in case you want to use doggie daycare or another service that requires verification. Address any medical issues, ask for nausea meds, and discuss your trip plans with your vet to see if there are any concerns.

#8 Take a test drive

If you're doggie is an old pro at car trips, you can skip this step but if your pup isn't accustomed to the rigors of the road, you may need a test run to make sure they can learn to love riding in your Subaru with you. Try increasingly lengthy drives to make sure your furry friend is ready for the road.

#9 Beware the heat and cold

Confirm the weather conditions you'll be facing along the way so you don't put your dog into a dangerous situation. Even a short bathroom break in high heat could impact your dog negatively. Both heat and cold can put your dog's health at risk so plan ahead with the weather in mind and keep your pup safe.

#10 Prepare for emergencies

You should have both human and canine first-aid kits in your car at all times, but particularly on a road trip. You can buy a kit for $25-$50 or assemble your own. Also, download the Red Cross's Pet First Aid App which includes info on treating injuries, health warning signs, and an animal hospital locator feature.

If you like to take spur-of-the-moment trips, you may want to keep a dog-friendly bag packed and ready to go so you're always set. In addition to preparing yourself and your pet for your road trip, be sure to schedule a check-up for your Subaru to make sure you're road-ready and safe to travel.

Come see Suburb Service for an oil change (get a free oil change coupon!), routine maintenance, brake check and other pre- trip services. Call (206) 705-8695 to reach our Seattle location. Trust the oldest independent Subaru service center in the Pacific Northwest to service and maintain your Subaru!