How to Keep Your Dog Entertained on a Road Trip

This article is a part of our On The Road series, sponsored by Tall Tails and Kurgo. I adopted my dog, Nora, in 2016 from One Tail at a Time in Chicago. She was a rescue from Alabama, a state with a high euthanasia rate. As we come up on our five-year anniversary this summer, we’re celebrating with the ultimutt road trip. Follow along with our yappy trails as I take Nora on a solo road trip to see the ocean.

You and pup are ready for a vacation and you’ve got the road trip of a lifetime planned. While the destination is filled with adventure and fun, you can’t forget about the journey. When it’s time to go the distance with your pup, be sure that they are having just as much fun as you. Read on to learn how to keep your dog entertained on a road trip so they’ll stop barking, “Are we there yet?”

Play Enrichment Games

We keep saying that a blanket is a must have on your road trip and for good reason–it’s so versatile.

Nora’s traveling with a Tall Tails blanket, and not only does it smell like home and is a comfy place to sleep, we can use it for enrichment on the road. All we do is crumple the blanket and scatter some treats in the folds to hide them. She has to use her nose to “solve the puzzle” and find her snacks.

(Wanna get pup her very own blanket? Use code NORA25 for 25% off at

Self-Soothe with a Road Trip Stick

Wondering what to give your dog for the long road trip? We like to imagine everything being easy breezy when it comes to our dog, but if your dog is a bit too excited (or anxious) for this drive, give him a chew that’s hemp-infused. He’ll get to entertain and self-soothe, while also feeling the calming properties.

Don’t forget to make sure the size is correct for your dog, and to monitor his progress to make sure it’s not small enough to become a choking hazard.

Let Him Watch Nature Videos for Dogs

Wow, more ocean as we drive down Highway 101? Groundbreaking. We get it, you’re appreciative of the beautiful views but they may start to look a bit repetitive after a while. Pull out one of the oldest parenting tricks in the book: screen time. All you need is a headrest mount for your phone or tablet, and queue up an episode of TV For Dogs, filled with all the birds and squirrels her heart could desire.

This is probably best for the dogs that are just watchers and not hunters; we’d hate for them to get too interactive while you’re driving! 

Roll Your Window Down

Probably the easiest on this list–let your dog feel the breeze in their fur! As you drive through some of the most beautiful landscapes (and maybe some of the ugliest), there are new smells for your dog to enjoy. This sensory enrichment will keep him entertained as he tries to discern what is what. Unlike you, he can’t wait to breathe in the smells of the cow farm on the side of the road.

Don’t forget to keep your pup safe with the windows down! Strap him in with a seat belt and make sure the windows are locked at a safe level. Let him explore the smells, but not literally explore them. 

 (Pssst… take 20% off Kurgo products with code NORA20 until 9/30/2021)

Bring Bones and Chews

Keeping dogs entertained can be ruff, especially if they’re not easily entertained by toys. To make sure that those pups stay busy, bring chew bones too! It’s hard for any dog to resist the sweet smells of antlers, bully sticks, or any chew that they can focus on for a while. If you’re going on a long road trip with your dog, upsize so that it’ll last longer and have a lower chance of splintering.

Give an Enrichment Toy

dog with Tall Tails pinecone toy
Tall Tails

There’s a reason enrichment toys are a must-have for every dog owner–they get the job done. Check out this pinecone toy with ridges you can fill with pup’s favorite treats and stuffing (or try some new ones!) and let them go to town. If you want to make it last even longer, freeze it before hitting the road. 

Teach Pup New Tricks

This one is for passengers only! Keep your backseat driver occupied by having them teach your dog a new trick. There are plenty of tricks that can be taught that don’t require a ton of space, like paw, touch, or wait. As an added bonus, it’s said that teaching a dog to listen to commands while there is a lot of environmental stimulation happening makes them behave even better!

For the Anxious Dogs…

We know your bestie is going to love the destination, even if she may not be the most thrilled about the journey. Talk to your vet if there is a prescription option to help keep her calm for the drive. Also, don’t forget to pack some things familiar to them for the car ride, like their bed or a special blanket with the smells of home.

Where are you taking your dog this summer? Tag us in all of your pupper’s adventures and don’t forget to use #SidewalkDog on Instagram!

Featured photo: darutpl

Safe and enjoyable travels for you and your pet are Kurgo’s passion. As the founders put it, “We never create a product unless we think it solves a real need, is original or a major improvement on what’s on the market, and can stand the test of time.” Their products come with a lifetime guarantee, which means you’ll never have to leave your BFF behind.

Tall Tails got their start in infant bedding, so you can rest assured that every product is crafted from durable, non-toxic materials and designed for easy cleaning. This means they’ll keep looking smart and stylish wherever your pet’s “dreamy place” might be. And you’ll feel good knowing your precious pet is happily napping in the most baby-safe bed, blanket, or throw you can find.

If you make a purchase via our affiliate links, Sidewalk Dog may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Supporting Sidewalk Dog supports the work we do for rescues and shelters.♥ All products were available and pricing accurate at the time of publication.

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