The Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping With Your Dog

Kevin Dixon
Think ahead to make the road trip experience as easy as possible on your dog before you jump in the car.

What to Pack for Your Pet on a Road Trip

  • Consider your pet's regular daily activities and how you can keep them as consistent as possible while traveling. Does your dog regularly sleep in a crate? Bringing it along will give her a familiar spot in a new place.
  • Toys, bones and favorite stuffed animals can be a comfort to your pet while traveling, as well as bedding that she already knows.
  • Remember to bring plenty of her regular food (though it's possible your pet may not eat as much due to travel stress), and favorite treats to reward good behavior.
  • A collar and leash are also a must for safely getting from here to there - which is half of the adventure.
  • If your pet is likely to scratch at the door of hotel rooms or the place where you'll be staying, bringing along your Clawguard is a great idea to remove the danger of your dog doing damage to doors and doorframes. Nobody likes a houseguest who scratches at the door and leaves permanent damage behind.
Dog door scratch prevention with Clawguard Consider packing a Clawguard when you travel to prevent damage caused by your dog scratching at the door of a new place.

Driving Safely with your Dog in the Car

Before the big day, consider exactly where your pet will ride in the car. Some experts advocate keeping your pet crated while in the car. While owners sometimes think of crating as keeping your dog "cooped up," remember that our dogs think of their crates as a home base.

A crate in the car can give your dog a sense of security during a stressful time. Being crated also helps keep your pet contained and secure if the car has to stop short.

If your car doesn't have room for a crate, consider one of the pet harness options available for car travel, or a back seat partition. Both of these great options keep your pet in their safe place and prevent them from moving too freely around the car and posing a safety hazard.

Dog car seat harnesses Two dog seatbelt options: the Sleepypod (left), and AllSafe pet harness (right)

Rest Stops and Overnights

Where and how often you stop on a car trip with dogs is also an important consideration. If you'll be driving for more than a couple of hours, planning for adequate stops will give your pet a break, not to mention you and your passengers too. Make sure that you allow your pet a good walk while you're stopped.

Remember: a tired pet is a happy pet!

 And last but not least, give them the opportunity for a bathroom break before getting back into the car. 

road trip with dogs tips

Bringing along a collapsible water bowl or other small dish to give your pet a drink is a good idea, too. In case of car sickness, though, experts don't recommend feeding your pet a full meal in the middle of a long car trip.



Find a pet-friendly hotel.

There are many hotels that are welcoming to pets, including chain hotels such as Best Western and Red Roof Inn that are both affordable and have many locations across the country. We love pet friendly hotels. Which one is your favorite? Bring your pet's crate and bedding into the hotel to give her that safe space to retreat to as needed. Be sure to sweep the room for potentially dangerous items at dog level (such as electrical cords), move trash cans off the floor if your dog tends to explore their contents, and watch for possible marking behaviors in male dogs. Don't forget to put up a Clawguard if your dog tries to scratch the door in the hotel room!

When You Get There

When you get to your destination, know that your dog will likely have pent up energy from all the time in the car. First things first:

  • Take your dog on a long walk
  • Throw the ball around the backyard
  • Play in the yard for a bit before taking him/her indoors

These activities will help release some of that energy your dog may have after a long road trip, and make introducing him or her to a new place and new people that much easier on everyone.

Dog at Thanksgiving Dinner
Look around the house for potential danger to your pet. Cords that can be tripped on or chewed, food that can be snatched off counters or tables, chemicals or other dangerous substances that may not be secured can all pose dangers to your pet and should be taken care of before she's allowed to roam free. Also remember to introduce her to family and friends in a controlled way, and never leave dogs unattended with children.
Holidays are a little stressful for everyone, but by planning ahead and coming prepared, you and your dog can have a great experience both in the car, and once you arrive.

Worried about dogs scratching doors wherever you go?

Get a Clawguard door shield to pop onto the door at each place you stay. Take it with you when you leave. Now there's one less thing you'll have to worry about.

Use coupon code ROADTRIP for 10% off your Clawguard order today.

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Clawguard Sales Support Dogs Deserve Better

Kevin Dixon

At Clawguard, we're committed to giving back to rescue organizations working tirelessly on behalf of animals in need. This month, we decided to partner up again with one of our favorite groups, Dogs Deserve Better, who we worked with for one of our first charity partnerships exactly one year ago this month. September 15-30, every Clawguard sold will support the work of Dogs Deserve Better.

DDB works nationwide to rescue penned and chained animals. Their Good Newz Rehabilitation Center in Smithfield, VA is located on the site of the NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s former Bad Newz Kennel that was shut down in 2007. DDB works to rehabilitate chained and penned dogs, many of whom have had little human interaction and been neglected for years. These dogs are rescued, treated, socialized and eventually found loving homes where they can live out the rest of their years in freedom.

A portion of each Clawguard sale through September 30 will be donated directly to Dogs Deserve Better to support their important work. Thank you to DDB for all that you do to help rehabilitate these deserving dogs!

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August Clawguard Sales Support Heartland Humane Society of South Dakota

Kevin Dixon

Continuing our commitment to support homeless pets and some of the rescues working to find them forever homes, this August we're continuing our "Clawguard Gives Back" series. Now through August 31, every Clawguard sales will go to support the work of Heartland Humane Society in Yankton, SD.

Heartland Humane Society plays a vital role in the lives of countless animals every year, and we were truly touched hearing the stories of some of the animals that have been nursed back to health, and found loving homes for. "Sigmund the Survivor" was brought to Heartland Humane Society in May 2015 after he was found in the parking lot after being hit by a card. When he lethargic and could barely move, and the staff were told that he's suffered nerve damage and they would have to wait and see how much he would recover. Heartland staff and volunteers worked for weeks to help nurse Sigmund through his injuries-- providing physical therapy to help get his back legs moving again, helping him in and out of the litter box and administering medicine. After a dedicated volunteer began taking Sigmund home for "weekend vacations," his recovery quickened. By summer he had regained movement in the back half of his body and was adopted in July 2015. Today Sigmund is settled into his new life, gentle and grateful as ever. 


Sigmund when he first arrived at Heartland Humane Society shortly after being hit by a car, and standing tall and proud shortly before he was adopted.[/caption]   Asia was another animal brought to Heartland after she and her litter of puppies were discovered abandoned in sub-zero temperatures in February 2015. On arriving at the shelter, Asia was cautious around people but created a cozy space for her pups quickly and began warming up to the staff. Volunteers and members of the community rallied to the new family's story, and donations of puppy food, blankets and even news crews followed. After the pups were weaned, all six found new homes, and Asia blossomed with a foster family-- playing with kids and her dog pal, Dori. 

Asia nursing her puppies shortly after being rescued, and a few months later, smiling at the camera for her foster mom.[/caption] Though for Asia's puppies the story was a happy one, it was discovered soon after that Asia herself had a large tumor in her kidney, something that had been unnoticed while she was staying in the shelter's care. She fought through her illness the entire time she was caring for her litter, succumbing only after they were safe and cared for.

puppies All six of Asia's puppies--Bali, Dali, Samuru, Kochi, Nikko and Hiro-- were saving from the cold and adopted into loving homes thanks to Heartland Humane Society.[/caption] For every Clawguard you purchase, we'll donate directly to Heartland Humane Society to support their vital work finding families for homeless dogs, cats and other animals.

Thank you for supporting Clawguard, and helping us support this dynamic organization!

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Is My Dog Stressed?

Kevin Dixon

Separation anxiety occurs when your dog has an exaggerated fear response to being left alone. But even when you're around, your dog may still have situations that cause her stress and fear. A stressed out dog may react outwardly-- lunging, biting or destroying items in your home-- or inwardly-- vomiting, excessively licking, refusing to eat. Before things get to that point, learning to identify the subtle signs of stress that your dog exhibits allows you to nip her anxiety in the bud before behavior patterns get out of hand and potentially harmful.

Calming signals are small changes in your dog's behavior. They are the dog's way of saying "Hey, Cut that out"

Common calming signals:

  • nose-licking
  • averting their eyes
  • yawning
  • turning away
  • squinting
  • freezing

If your dog displays a calming signal, it's important to determine what's causing them to be uncomfortable. Is a child climbing on them or another dog getting too close to their food bowl? Whatever it is, take the calming signal as a warning to deescalate the situation.



calming signals, there are other hints that your dog may be stressed out, whether in a particular situation, or suffering from an overall state of stress.


Are your dog's eyes dilated? Tight? Look at their eyes. Dogs often show a "whale" or "half-moon" eye when they are stressed.

Whale Eye in Dogs


Is your dog panting and excessively drooling on a day that isn't that hot? This is a sign of stress. Teeth chattering, repetitive licking of their lips or nose, cheek puffing, showing their teeth or wrinkling their muzzle are further signs of stress.



Dogs that are stressed with often have their ears pinned back, or always upright and alert. In either case, the ears are not in a normal, relaxed position.



Watch your dog's body for signs of stress. When you see the body tense or the dog freezing in position, these are classic cues that they are in distress. Low body posture, trembling, shaking, or shedding excessively are also clues to your dog's emotional state.



Dogs who are stressed will indicate it in their behavior. Watch for restlessness and the inability to relax. Is your dog pacing, can't seem to get comfortable, laying down and getting right back up again? Hyper vigilant or jumpy? A normal dog will sleep about 17 hours a day. If your dog is sleeping less than that, she may be too stressed to fall asleep. On the other hand, a dog who sleeps too much may also be reacting to stressors. Dogs who seem irritable or are destructive are often displaying signs of stress. Excessive self-grooming, which can lead to skin problems, can be an indicator of your dog's stress, as is loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.

Tips-on-How-to-Train-a-Bad-Dog Knowing the signs to look out for is an important component of addressing your dog's stress. When you know the symptoms, you can begin to identify situations, environments and triggers that make your dog uncomfortable, and work on creating healthier behavior patterns. You and your pet should be able to live happy, healthy lives together. Pay attention to these stress signals and respond to help your dog cope with these stressful situations.   Read more on canine stress here: "Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stress" via Green Acres Kennel.

Tools & Tips to Help you Reduce your Dog's Stress

  • Play with your dog! Physical activity will help to calm your dog tremendously. Play long enough for your dog to truly get that energy out.
  • Create a safe zone and spend time with your dog in this zone. You can help your dog to calm down by being calm yourself.
  • A Thundershirt is comforting for dogs, particularly during bad weather or fireworks.
  • Clawguard door shield can help you train your dog to stop scratching the door.

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All Bark: Figuring Out What Your Dog is Telling You

Kevin Dixon

A few years ago, a friend recounted that when her young nephew visited their home, he was frightened by the family's very talkative chihuahua-mix. While the dog loved kids and didn't mean him any harm, as a child who hadn't grown up around dogs, he didn't know how to understand what she was saying to him. What he interpreted as aggressive meant any number of things-- most often, "Hey kid, throw me that ball!" Understanding the basics of what dogs tell us with their bark is important for anybody. Seasoned of dog owner knows that our dogs communicate a whole range of things with a bark, from "Feed me," to "Help me," to "Get Off My Lawn!" Even non-dog people will come into contact with a dog at some point, and while being afraid of a friendly hello is unfortunate, misunderstanding a warning bark could be dangerous. To help us brush up on our bark skills is this great interactive tool from PBS to practice identifying what a dog's bark is saying. It takes you through different types of barks, and as a dog owner you may even find yourself scratching you head at some of the examples.

What's Your Dog's Bark Telling You?

So, how good is your bark-identification game? Give the quiz a try and let us know how you do!

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Watch: Why We Invented Clawguard

Kevin Dixon

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. For Clawguard-creator Kevin Dixon, it was door after scratched up door, and hundreds of dollars in lost security deposits that necessitated a solution for his dog Foster's costly habit. After trying-- and being disappointed by-- every product that was currently on the market, Kevin decided that if a simple, removable door scratch protector was going to exist, he was going to have to invent it! Watch Kevin tell the story of Clawguard's invention in his own words--

Ready to save your door from damage, and solve your dog's scratching problem once and for all?

Get your Clawguard today!

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Creative Campaigns Help Shelter Dogs Find Forever Homes

Kevin Dixon

At Clawguard, we're big advocates of "adopt, don't shop." Foster, the inspiration for the very first Clawguard, was adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society in 2000, and we've shared our experiences fostering dogs as well. With so many amazing animals looking for homes, you need only stop by your local animal shelter or rescue to discover a new best friend! That said, shelters continue to be overwhelmed with thousands of homeless pets, and not nearly enough homes to put them all in. With the growth of social media over the last decade, rescue organizations have gotten more creative about showcasing their adoptable animals, resulting in some innovative, hilarious and heartwarming campaigns.

Dog Meets Photobooth Photobooth Dog Portraits Every dog owner knows that it's nearly impossible to capture your pet's personality in just one photo. In an irresistible new campaign to show off the many faces of their adoptable dogs,  The Humane Society of Utah created photobooth-style portraits of their adoptable dogs. The charming images worked wonders-- all the pups featured in the project have now found forever homes.  

Home for Hope While the Ikea showroom is known for it's homey feel, dog lovers know that no house is complete without a dog curled up on the couch next to you. The Singapore-based Home for Hope campaign made use of this idea by creating life size cut-outs of adoptable dogs from local shelters that were displayed throughout an Ikea store. A QR code around the dog's neck let visitors learn more about the real animal, and other pups hoping to find homes.  

Photobombing for Good

Selfies with Shelter Dogs

Who says the rise of the selfie is all bad? One Dallas animal shelter turned the Instagram craze on it's head, photoshopping adoptable dog photobombs into people's Instagram photos in a move they dubbed "muttbombing." Each photo was reposted on DPA's account with a caption written as the dog, encouraging viewers to consider adding a real dog to their life, and their next photo session.  

Swipe Right for (Puppy) Love While it can be tricky to find the perfect human partner online, one NYC animal shelter hopes that Tinder users will take a chance on actual puppy love. Rescue organization Social Tees teamed up with the dating site last year to post profiles of adoptable dogs, and so far more than 1500 matches have been made.  

Every Home Needs a Harvey

Finally, we couldn't resist sharing this video created by British marketing firm Thinkbox. Though the spot was designed to promote TV advertising (just look how effective a commercial "sells" Harvey!), the message about a dog looking for his forever home is still a powerful one. Every shelter is full of Harvey's just waiting to find their forever homes. And while we can't guarantee they'll be able to pick the kids up from school, adopting a dog is sure to improve your life in plenty of other ways!

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Springtime Tips for Dog Owners

Kevin Dixon

Spring is in the air! And when it comes to our pets, the warmer weather means new opportunities, and sometimes new challenges. From creating a yard that's welcoming to your pet, to dealing with springtime shedding, we've got the best seasonal tips for dog owners.  

1. Spring Training 

Image source.

Baseball players don't have to be the only ones getting outside for spring training this time of year! After being cooped up in the house all winter, sunny spring days are the perfect opportunity to help your pet develop good leash manners. Check out these positive leash-training tips from ASPCA in you could use a little training help, too.

2. Dog-proof your Yard

Image source.

Your dog will likely be spending more time outdoors over the coming months, and if you're fortunate to have a yard for her to play in, it's important to make sure the space is safe and dog-friendly. Notes from a Dog Walker has a great post with tips on dog-proofing your fence, and don't forget to consider your furry friend when planning your landscaping.

3. Springtime Shedding

Image source.

The dreaded shedding season is right around the corner. If your pup is of the double-coated variety, you know that spring means constantly fighting the furballs on the floor, and doubling up on lint rollers before you head off to work in the morning. Regular grooming, baths and good nutrition are your best weapons against shedding anytime of the year, and everyone has their own favorite solution for dealing with dog hair at home. We like this post on Apartment Therapy where readers weighed in with their favorite pet hair solutions.

4. Allergies

Image source.

Spring means flowers and trees are in bloom, and just like humans, dogs can be affected be seasonal allergies this time of year. Keep an eye out for symptoms like itching, sneezing, coughing and flaky skin, and check with your vet if you think your dog might be suffering from seasonal allergies. 

5. Protect Your Exterior Doors

Your dog will want to be outside more now that the sun is shining and the grass is green, but eventually she'll want to come inside, too-- and that often means scratching at the door and door frame to get your attention. Even if you already have a one inside,  Clawguard is a great option for protecting your exterior doors as well. You'll feel good knowing your pet can run and play to her hearts content while your back door is protected from scratching and muddy paw prints as well.

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Dogs We Love: Grinning Gluta

Kevin Dixon

Dogs are naturally pretty happy-go-lucky, so to saw that you've got the happiest dog in the world is quite a statement. One look at Gluta, though, and you've gotta agree, she's one happy pooch.

Gluta was a stray dog rescued in her native Thailand. Her owner discovered troubling symptoms that eventually turned out to be cervical cancer. After surgery and chemotherapy, the lucky pup was eventually deemed cancer-free. From the joyful look that never seems to leave Gluta's face, it's clear she's made a full recovery. These days, Gluta is the star of her own Tumblr where photographer Sorasart Wisetsin documents her adventures. Whether lounging in fields of grass or wearing a variety of items on her head, Gluta brings joy wherever she goes.

Gluta the dogGluta the dogGluta the dog


Via Miss Moss.

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How to Install Your Clawguard

Kevin Dixon

So you've got yourself a shiny new Clawguard, but aren't sure exactly how to install it? Don't worry-- we've got your covered! Check out our new video walking you through the process of protecting your home's doors and door frames with the help of Clawguard.

Quick tips to keep in mind: - Clawguard works on both interior and exterior doors. Use it on whichever side your pet is most likely to scratch (or better yet, both!). - Clawguard can be trimmed to fit your space. If it's longer or wider than you'd like, simply cut with household scissors to a custom shape. - Easy on, easy off! Just pop Clawguard off your doorknob when you want to remove it for company or cleaning.  

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