The Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping with Your Dog: 10 Tips for the Perfect Vacation

We travelled by road from Delhi to Rikholi, Mussoorie with two of our dogs, Mishka and Cross, to celebrate Cross’ 14th birthday in the hills.

A beautiful woman showing affection and support for a rescued and adopted senior golden retriever by holding its head tenderly
A beautiful woman showing affection and support for a rescued and adopted senior golden retriever by holding its head tenderly
A beautiful woman showing affection and support for a rescued and adopted senior golden retriever by holding its head tenderly

We’ll be honest. This was our first road trip. But we decided to put our heads down and do a ton of research to make this the perfect 14th birthday for Cross. We had the basics in place, of course – Cross had us, his parents, and his favourite packmate, Mishka to go along with him on this road trip vacation. Having spent an amazing four days in the hills of Mussoorie, we wanted to share what we learned with you. These are our 10 tips to help you plan the perfect vacation with your dog!

Research Phase

All good trips start with great research! As boring as it might sound, planning is half the battle. And there was a lot for us to consider before we even decided to hit the road.

1. Can your dog travel long distance?

For a first-time dog traveller, a long-distance road trip can be a riveting but strange experience. Motion sickness and general anxiety about being away from home are some of the things to consider before embarking on a road trip with a dog.

It’s important to start by making your dog feel comfortable and calm about being in a vehicle of any kind. All five of our dogs are perfectly comfortable traveling by car, for example. We recommend small rides to familiar places as a good starting point in preparing for a road trip.

Don’t forget to get a clean chit from your veterinarian, if needed. We had to for Cross, with him being a senior dog.

2. Mode of transport

We had to choose between a car and a train to reach our destination. We settled on traveling in a car for Cross; we wanted the trip to be as comfortable as possible for him. Also, choosing to travel by train would’ve meant a longer journey in our situation, including booking a car from the railway station to our destination.

We booked a car from a local private taxi stand about two weeks from our planned departure date. We asked for an SUV in which the back seats could be folded entirely, clearing the base for Cross. Most SUVs also have AC vents at the rear for better temperature regulation.

Be sure to compare estimates to get the best fare possible.

3. Choosing your accommodation

We chose A Dog’s Story, a dog resort at Rikholi, Mussoorie. Cross and Mishka had a blast being amidst the hills. You can check out our review of the place on YouTube.

Couple of things we want to share right away, the resort doesn’t have rooms with air conditioning. We planned our trip in April, and the weather forecast marked our vacation days as pleasant. We still managed to check if arrangements could be made for a pedestal fan should the need arise for Cross. We had fun here. But you could explore other dog-friendly options.

We strongly recommend an advanced, confirmed booking to avoid any problems after reaching your destination.

4. Things we packed for our trip

This section is bound to vary from person to person, dog to dog. It might be better to think of this as a template for a packing checklist!

  • Bowls. We carried a water bowl for the road trip. We didn’t need more because our resort provided dog bowls as a part of their package. Carry based on your requirement. Of course, some dogs might just prefer their personal bowls for food and water.

  • Utilities such as dog beds and bedsheets for the car, our grooming kit, because being on vacation doesn’t mean a vacation from hygiene for our dogs, dog toys, and extra leash sets for both Mishka and Cross.

  • Dog food or kibble. Our dogs have a routine for home-cooked food in the morning and kibble at night. We wanted to keep with that routine even on vacation. We carried our dog food in an airtight container.

  • Medicine and first aid. From medicines to supplements, it goes without saying – we should pack them all. Include a bottle of betadine and cotton balls for first aid.

  • Poop bags and bottled tap water. We clean up after our dogs regardless of location, carrying cut up newspapers as poop bags, and keeping tap water handy for when our dogs mark or pee.

Journey Phase

You’ve done your research. You’ve prepared your dog for the long-distance road trip. You’re even all packed up. Congratulations! You’ve won half the battle. But we would still want to recommend a couple of tips for this phase of your vacation.

5. Walks and toilet breaks for your dogs

We recommend a long walk with your dog before the trip. Not only does this help expend some nervous energy, but also ensures you're able to cover more ground before needing another break. Make frequent stops nonetheless - or as needed (we only needed one) - to allow your dogs to stretch their legs and relieve themselves. Let them enjoy the journey as much as the destination! Some dogs might require more stops than they usually would when on road. Keep an eye out for signs that might communicate that.

6. Travel safety

It’s easy for first-time dog travellers to feel overwhelmed with the road trip. We’ve seen some dogs jump from seat to seat with both excitement and nervous energy. It’s our responsibility to coach them through the journey. Help keep your dog away from the driver or the passenger seat unless they’re family and absolutely comfortable with dogs being in their personal space.

Some of you might disagree, but we recommend keeping your dogs leashed when outside your vehicle and in strange environments. Your dog might be trained but new environments are often unpredictable. Let's also not forget that driving is exhausting. Avoid the road late at night by identifying possible pet-friendly stops along the way. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

7. Food safety

Light meals and some treats are what we recommend for the journey. Avoid anything new on the road. We never know just how a dog might react to new food, and the nearest veterinarian could be several kilometres away.

Cross and Mishka snacked on curd when we stopped for breakfast at a highway dhaba on route to Mussoorie.

8. Alertness to motion sickness

Long journeys can take a toll on anyone, not just dogs. Keep checking yourself and your dog, for signs of discomfort or sickness. Keep a vomit bag or some newspapers ready for any surprises.

Destination Phase

And so, you’ve finally reached your destination. It’s time to kick back and relax, let your dog run free! But we have two more tips though – and they just might make your stay more comfortable!

9. Understand the rules of your hotel or resort

This might sound boring but hear us out! Dog-friendly hotels or resorts come with certain restrictions that we must respect. A Dog’s Story being a human-friendly dog resort is a freer experience for dogs, but even they have sections of their property marked off as a ‘no pee/poo’ zone. We’re on vacation to have fun, yes. But following the rules is all about being respectful to the staff and even the guests sharing the property with you.

We represent pets and pet parents on such vacations!

10. Respect your dog’s routine

Dogs are disciplined creatures of habit. Your furry companion is bound to expect his or her walks, exercise and food on time. Vacations might shake your schedule somewhat. But don’t be too far off from your dog’s usual routine. And yes, a vacation is also about going extra – so that means extra time outside and extra time with you.


To first-time travellers with dogs, we hope you love your experience as much as we did ours. Our senior dog, Cross turned back the clock to regain a youthful vigour and Mishka showed incredible courage, trekking and sprinting through the winds. You might make a few discoveries of your own. Cherish them.

We hope these tips help you out with your adventure!

Join our community!

Join our community!

More from our collection

More from our collection

Copyright 2021 | apawfive | All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2021 | apawfive | All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2021 | apawfive | All Rights Reserved