5 tips for winter travel with your dog

Planning a trip with your dog this winter? Check out these invaluable tips.

Who says you can only take road trips with your dog in the summer? Traveling with a dog can be an all-season adventure. But winter travel does come with a few challenges. You might experience bad weather, slower speeds due to ice, and more road accidents. That said, with a little extra planning, you and your dog can travel in the winter months like pros.

Here are some helpful tips to consider:

1. Take your car in for a checkup

Breaking down during a road trip is not a great situation for you or your dog – especially when it’s cold outside. A few weeks prior to your departure, take your car to your mechanic for a once-over. Let him know that you will be traveling and request that he double-check the tires and fluids.

2. Pack proper winter gear

Packing the right gear for a winter road trip is essential. This includes gear for your dog too! You should both have warm boots and a jacket. Depending on how cold you expect the weather to be, you may need to pack a few extra items. Make sure you have a few warm blankets and towels, too.

3. Stay hydrated

Dehydration isn’t just a risk in the summer. We may feel thirstier when it’s hot out, but we need fluids just as much in the winter – as does your dog. Be sure to drink plenty of water during your road trip, and make sure your dog has regular access to fresh water as well. If he’s reluctant to drink, try adding some onion-free bone broth to his water. The smell and taste will encourage him to lap it up! The bone broth will also provide a boost of protein and vital minerals to give him extra energy.

4. Research a dog-friendly winter destination

Every road trip needs a destination! There are quite a few places that offer dog-friendly winter activities. Start by searching for events or activities that appeal to you, and follow up with a quick email to ensure they are pet-friendly. Not sure who to contact? State or city tourism bureaus know their destinations inside and out.

5. Go slow and take breaks

Both while traveling and during your adventures, take your time. Don’t be in a mad rush to get there or do everything. Be smart and pay attention to both your health and your dog’s health and happiness. Enjoy some time outside, but take breaks to warm up. Head back to your pet-friendly accommodations for a rest, or find a local pet store to browse!

At the end of the day, traveling is about spending quality time with your dog and cherishing each moment. Don’t let a little cold weather stop you from enjoying a fun-filled adventure!


Tonya Wilhelm is a dog training and cat care specialist who has traveled the US promoting positive ways of preventing and managing behavior issues with a holistic approach. Named one of the top ten dog trainers in the US, she has helped thousands build happy relationships with their dogs with humane, positive training methods. She wrote Proactive Puppy Care, and other books. Tonya offers group and private dog training classes, provides training and behavior services via phone and online, and does workshops at pet expos (raisingyourpetsnaturally.com).