Driving Cross-Country with My Furry BFF
Who doesn’t love the idea of a road trip with their best friend?
The only catch is he can’t help you drive, and the conversation may be a little one-sided.
So, every year I take a trip home to see my parents. Well, now with the new addition to my family (Kylo) traveling long distance is a little more challenging. I tossed around the idea of a doggy hotel or possibly leaving him with a friend—but one of the reasons I got a dog was to always have a plus one on all my adventures! So, I decided I was going to drive and bring Kylo home with me. Cleveland to Tucson—that’s roughly 1,980 miles or 30 hours if you’re doing the drive time math. It was a long, fun, exhausting, long, exciting, educational, unforgettable drive. Did I mention long?
We’d taken road trips before, but this was more than a few hours. This was going to be days. So, for anyone planning to travel a long way with their pets…Here are some things I learned.
Make a Plan
My plan was to get home in three days. I figured about 10 hours of drive time a day with up to three stops. There are a lot of things you have to think of— feeding times, potty breaks, restlessness, car sickness (which had never happened before but did on this trip), even safety. The day before our trip we went to the dog park and had a long walk after dinner. Basically, do something that you know will wear your pup out. Our start time was 6:00 am so going for a walk that morning just wouldn’t work but if that’s something you can do—do it!
Plan Your Stops
Our first stop was always breakfast and lasted about 30-40 minutes. It gave us both time to eat, time for Kylo’s stomach to settle, and time for a quick potty break. Our second stop was usually a dog park. I loved this because Kylo got rid of so much energy! We also got to see some really great dog parks and met so many new friends. We found one of the nicest dog parks I’ve ever been to in Edmond, Oklahoma! This stop was usually our longest—an hour maybe more; but he was usually exhausted after. Our last stop was dinner, and this would typically be at the hotel. I even tried to throw another small walk in if I could.
(if you can help it)
Dogs feed off your energy so if you’re stressed—they’ll be stressed too. Plan things you’ll both enjoy. We stopped at dog parks, but we also stopped to check out some great shops and landmarks. We saw the Motor Speedway in Indy, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Cadillac Ranch in Texas, and the White Sands in NM. I’d also suggest meeting up with some Instagram friends if you’re passing through their city! Take pictures and make some lasting memories! I wish I took more pics, but we really had so much fun!
Unless your pet is a service animal—they may not be welcome everywhere.
The hotel we stopped at our first night didn’t allow pets. They had recently remodeled, and their website was inaccurate. Thankfully the manager was very understanding (and Kylo is pretty cute)! But we did stop at some amazing dog-friendly shopping areas near downtown Indy. Did you know there are a lot of dog-friendly welcome centers that have small dog parks attached to them? When we stopped in New Mexico there was a dog run next to the welcome center that had a huge “Beware of Rattlesnakes” sign! Can you guess how quickly we turned around!?! But always check ahead with places so your plans aren’t messed up.
Bring ALL the Toys
I have always loved Kylo’s car seat for a road trips. But for this one I brought a back-seat canopy and turned the whole back seat into a play area for him. I just buckled him in the center with a little bit of slack and he could play in the back just like he was at home. He’s also big on stretching out when he sleeps and this way he had plenty of room to do that. It’s also very easy to clean!
Speaking of clean….make sure you have something to clean with.
Kylo never gets car sick—but at one point on this trip he did. It was our last day on the drive back to Cleveland. Everything was going fine until I heard the infamous noise in the backseat (you all know the noise I’m talking about). Make sure you have some paper towels or even a pee pad to help with easy clean up.
BRING DOG WIPES. They have so many uses! One of our potty breaks was in a downpour and his feet were muddy—wipes were a must! Kylo also does the crocodile death roll when he’s excited, so we keep wipes for the dog park just in general.
Don’t forget your pup still needs water when you’re riding in the car all day! Remember to bring his food and a bowl for his food. I brought my doggy camera and plugged it in at the hotel so I could check in on him while I went to dinner or if I had to run to Target for something. It may also help to have a toy or blanket to help them stay calm in a new environment. Kylo loves his snuggle puppy on road trips. No matter how much you plan you’ll get thrown a curveball but hopefully these little tips help. This was one of the best trips I’ve ever had, and I would do it again.
So for my last words of advice, I say:
Have fun. Be safe. And don’t forget the Farm to Pet Treats!
Treat you next week Travel Buddies!