Are you dreading your next road trip with your dog? Try these tips for an easy ride every time.

Summer is on its way, and with it, family vacations. When it comes to long drives, there's nothing worse than a miserable dog in the car. Between the whining, drooling, and vomiting, it can be a real ordeal for all involved. With a little pre-planning, you can eliminate stressors on your buddy and make the ride actually enjoyable.

Whether your dog is crated for the duration, or harnessed in the backseat, these tips will be a huge help.

1. Create a canopy.

If your dog gets motion sick, blocking the view is an easy way to avoid the nausea that comes with it. Simply attach some rubber bands to the four corners of a beach towel and make a roof for your dog's designated seat so they can't look out. Don't worry about airflow; it will just make a nice, cozy den that can easily be removed as needed.


Photo by Sarina Petrocelly

2.  Try a thunder shirt.

For under $20, you can buy a lightweight thunder shirt that is meant to comfort your dog with its closeness. Practice strapping it on, and don't make it too tight.

The first time I put one on my furbaby, she stood stock-still for a good five minutes and then lay down as if she was being subdued. These things are like magic!

3. An empty tummy is best.

As hard as it may be to withhold food, dogs should travel on an empty stomach. A little bit of wet food or some plain baked sweet potato in the morning is okay, and water is fine before a car trip.

4. Get cozy.

Save a sheet from your bed before laundry day and use it to create a nest under the canopy in the first tip. This will be enormously comforting to your dog and indicate that it's a good place to curl up and go to sleep. 

sleeping dog

Photo by Matthias Cooper (via Pexels)

5. Ask about medications.

Talk to your vet about any upcoming trips and symptoms you've noticed in your pooch. Remedies can range from over-the-counter Dramamine to hemp chews or prescription medication. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a little help if you can get it.

6. Acclimate, acclimate, acclimate.

Don't wait until the day of the road trip to give some of this a try. A few weeks beforehand, set up the back seat the way you'll have it for the ride. Start by taking short drives around the block with your dog, and extend the time a little bit each day or two. Before you know it, he may even start to look forward to these little jaunts.

On a personal note, I had to employ all six of these tips to get my younger dog down to the beach. She used to drool like a faucet at the sight of an open car door and this year, the 4-hour drive was a piece of cake.

Do you have any tips for taking long car rides with an anxious dog? What are some of your best tricks? Share with us in the comments.