How to Plan a Winter Road Trip with Your Dog

One of my favorite things about winter is all the holidays and parties with friends and family. And, when you treat your dog like the most important member of your family, then of course you want to take them along to all the celebrations. No matter how far you need to travel, these tips on how to plan a winter road trip with your dog can help.

When you travel with your dog, the safety and wellbeing of both you and your pup is very important. This is especially true in winter when there can be high traffic during holidays and low temperatures! Read on to see my tips on staying safe and having as much fun as you can with your dog on a road trip this winter!

State Farm® sponsored this post about travel tips and their Assist Patrol Program, but all thoughts are my own.

How to Plan a Winter Road Trip with Your Dog

Get Your Car Ready for a Winter Road Trip

Make sure that your car is in good condition to drive by checking your tire pressure and wiper fluid, and make sure you have a full tank of gas before hitting the road. These all sound like no-brainer things, but when you have more than just yourself to worry about, you want to make sure you don’t get stranded and put your dog at risk.

How to Plan a Winter Road Trip with Your Dog

Plan your Route for Optimal Dog Fun

Look at your route in advance to see if there’s a way you can go that includes stops for some dog fun. Consider a hiking break if you’re headed through the mountains. Your dog will be so much happier if you can break up a long trip with time outside the car. This could be a quick hike, or at the very least, a few trees to sniff. I also like to search for dog bakeries and boutiques in little towns that I pass through. It makes the whole trip more fun for you and your dog!

Pack snacks, water and important documents for you and your dog

If I’m going to have Lucy in the car for a few hours, I like to bring an entertaining toy that will keep her busy in the back seat for a while. I recommend you find a durable rubber toy like this stylish one that you can stuff with treats. It challenges her mind and helps the time go by. Also, be sure to pack plenty of bottled water for you both, and a bowl for your dog to use.

If I’m going away for a long weekend I also like to pack a copy of my dog’s most recent vaccinations. In case of emergency you’ll be so happy to have some of their health records on hand.

How to Plan a Winter Road Trip with Your Dog

Keep Your Dog Secure in the Car

This is the most important thing to consider when taking a road trip with your dog. If your dogs are anything like Lucy, then they like to be as close to you as possible at all times! I know it’s temping, but you should never let your dog ride in the front seat. Not only is it dangerous for them, but it’s not safe to have that kind of distraction when you’re driving. Keep your dog secure in the back seat, or the cargo space in back of an SUV.

I actually just talked to my friend about this issue with her new dog who keeps trying to climb up front. There are a lot of products available to help you keep your dog safely in place, such as hammocks that span the back seat, mesh or wire dividers you can attach to your headrests, and leashes that plug into the seat belt.

How to Plan a Winter Road Trip with Your Dog

What If you Have Car Trouble on Your Trip?

If you’re driving on the highway to make it home for the holidays, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Even though you might feel prepared after reading all of my tips, weather and car troubles can be unpredictable. I was excited to learn about the State Farm sponsored Assist Patrol Program that has teamed up with state transportation agencies in 15 states to help out along the road.

These sponsored vehicles are constantly driving around looking for crashes, dangerous debris and stranded motorists. If you run into any trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help, because State Farm is #HereToHelp! These patrols can change a tire and fix minor mechanical problems, all free of charge. However, be sure to keep your dog safe and secure. They can be a distraction, so be careful.

Learn more about the program and check to see if it’s available in your state. We’re lucky enough to have the patrol in Pennsylvania, so if you’re traveling through my home state keep an eye out for them!

How to Plan a Winter Road Trip with Your Dog

State Farm sponsored this post about safe driving but all thoughts are my own.

Looking for more stylish dog mom winter advice? Check out these posts:

The Best Warm Jeans for Winter Dog Walks
Lululemon Dog Runner Pant
Our Favorite Way to Stay Active in Winter
Three Winter Layering Essentials
How Cold is Too Cold to Walk the dog?

How to Plan a Winter Road Trip with Your Dog


  1. lattesnlipstick@gmail.com

    As someone who travels regularly in the car with Kendall (basically her whole life, we used to drive SC to PA about 5 times a year and then back again) I love being prepared when it comes to having road trips but I’m guilty of never thinking worst case – so glad nothing ever happened to us and SO thankful for your post!

    • Tori

      I’m going to drive to SC for Blog Paws in May and I’m trying to figure out a good rout so Lucy can have some fun along the way. I need to pick your brain!

  2. Michaela Hemsley

    I am thinking about taking my dog on a road trip soon because I think it would be something that both of us would have a lot of fun doing. I appreciate that you mentioned that it’s smart to bring a copy of your dog’s most recent vaccinations with you in case there is an emergency and you need to stop at the vet. Along with bringing important documents along it would also probably be smart to look up veterinary hospitals near my route so that I can also know where to go if something happens.


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