10 Tips for Traveling With Your Dog in the Car

The Best Ways To Car Travel With Your Dog

Happy that you are about to travel with your dog in a car? I know it’s always a delightful moment.

However, proper planning is crucial for any car trip to be fun and safe. With that said, here are some helpful tips that will make traveling with your dog in the car stress-free.   

But, first!


Train Your Dog to Like Car Rides

If you only take your car during vet visits for those routine shots, then your fur baby might be hesitant to hop in next time you want his company during a long road trip.

  • Training your pup to like car rides will be crucial. You can start training your dog, start 2 to 3 weeks before traveling.
  • Your top priority is making your dog comfortable and at ease when in a car. And thus, your dog will associate car rides with positive experiences. 
  • First, start with short car ride sessions around your neighborhood. And remember, tasty treats will be essential when training your dog.  
  • Anytime your dog obliges to stay inside and remains calm, don’t hesitate to reward him.
  • After training, you will be confident your dog will like all car rides even if you are not around

 Car Travel With Dog

Visit a Vet

Visit a vet before traveling with your dog in the car. The vet will help analyze whether your dog can endure long car rides.  With the help of your vet, you can also check whether your dog has all his immunization records.

The vet can also be a great source of information on various health regulations about pets in every state- that is crucial if you plan to pass through multiple states.


Tire Your Dog Out

One helpful tip for traveling with your dog in the car is exercising your furry friend right before the journey begins.  You can go for a 30-45 minutes’ walk around the neighborhood. A game of fetch can also suffice.

After doing so, your dog will instead relax and sit back than disrupt you when you are on the wheel.

Pack Your Dog’s essential items

One crucial tip for traveling with your dog in the car is packing the right accessories your dog needs.  Your dog’s traveling bag should contain all items your dog may require to be comfortable during this car trip.

Here is what your dog’s travel kit should have.

Enough Food

Keep your pup comfy all over your excursions together by ensuring you have carried enough food.

That’s more crucial if you have a dog on prescription dog food. Changing your dog’s food since you forgot its regular kibble might suit you but not your fur baby.

Also, remember to pack your dog’s portable travel bowl. That way, it will be easier to serve canned or dry dog food.

Plenty of Water

Keeping your dog hydrated is vital while traveling in a car. And one way to make sure your dog has a supply of clean and fresh water is storing plenty of it in a portable dog water bottle

After every 2 hrs, pour some in the collapsible dog bowl for your pup’s hydration.

Carrying enough water is crucial as you don’t want your dog to drink water from a new location.

Water from different states may contain minerals that can cause gastric distress on your dog’s tummy.

An Extra Leash and Collar

Always` carry an extra leash or collar when traveling with your dog in the car. You never know when your dog’s usual leash or collar might break. You might even meet a pet owner who needs one during your excursions. 


Carry Plenty of Poop Bags 

A responsible dog owner will always clean up after his dog. Thus ensure you have carried plenty of poop bags for easier disposal of your pet’s stool. 


Well, your dog deserves plenty of treats to keep him happy as you travel together.

Dogs’ Medication

If your dog is on certain prescription medication, it is always important for you to put them in your dog’s travel kit. You can also carry some more extra in case you’re stuck or in case of an emergency.

Identification Tag

Your dog may bolt out of the vehicle if startled or anxious. And searching for your dog all over might be the worst nightmare you can have.

Nevertheless, if your fur baby has clear identification tags attached to the collar, the chances of retracing him will be high— this is possible if other pet owners come across your dog and use the available contacts to reach you.

That’s why it’s vital you put all of your contact details in this identification tag. And one option is even to add a second contact, let’s say your neighbors.

Besides an identification, you can ensure your dog is microchipped before traveling. 

Car Travel With Dogs 



Sometimes traveling with a dog in the car can be boring. However, if you want to have a happy fur baby, ensure you have enough stock of his routine toys and new ones too.

First Aid Box

Traveling with your dog in the car doesn’t guarantee safety. An accident might happen when on a road trip. Thus a crucial accessory to pack is a first aid box. Ensure all essential items like styptic powder, bandages and tweezers are inside. If the first aid box is understocked, a vet or pet shop attendant can help you replenish it.

Always Keep Your Dog Restrained

Even though carrying your dog in your laps may look cute, it is never recommendable. Most importantly, ensure your pet is well restrained while inside the car.  Again before getting inside the car, analyze where your dog needs to stay. And it’s never on the front seat.

In case of an emergency, the ejection of the airbag may prove to be fatal as it can smother your dog.

According to the humane society, your dog needs to be in a crate at the car’s back seat and well restrained with a seat belt for stability.

The crate you get should be spacious and comfy for your dog. If you don’t have a crate, there are other options.

You can opt to use a dog seat belt and attach it to your dog harness for better confinement in one place. For improved comfort, ensure the seats have a seat cover for dogs.  Besides the comfort, this back seat cover for dogs will prevent your pet from damaging your car’s upholstery with his nails that you forgot to trim. Finally, there will also be less fur or dander on the seat. 

A dog car booster seat is another option that will keep your pet safe and comfortable. In an accident, your dog is less likely to become airborne while well restrained.


Take Regular Stops Once In A While

One of the best tips for traveling with your dog in the car is minding your furry friend’s needs. I bet it’s not fun for your dog to stay in the car for more than 1 hr. Fatigue, boredom, and muscle cramps can easily get over him.  Hence short and frequent breaks will be crucial if you travel a long distance with your dog.

Though it may affect your arrival time, a short stop will reduce car fatigue. This might be a perfect time for a potty break for your pet.  Also, a short play session during this stop will go a long way in making this car trip with your dog enjoyable.


Don’t Allow Your Dog to Travel with His Head Out Of The Open Window 

Although it may look cute when your dog sticks his head out of the open window, it’s not safe.  Insects, debris, and twigs will likely injure your dog as he tries catching the cool breeze.

So what should you do? If you are persistent in keeping the windows open, keep the opening small so that the dog won’t manage to stick his head out.  You can also set the child lock if you have a power window. This prevents the dog from accidentally opening the window.

Don’t Feed Your Dog Right before You Travel

Feeding your dog a heavy meal may seem good-intentioned however, that is not right. 

Traveling on a full stomach is not comfortable for both humans and dogs. You know, eating right before traveling with a dog in the car can trigger stomach upset and increase the chances of your pup getting car sickness.  The right protocol is feeding your dog, let’s say, 3 to 4 hrs prior.


Remember Your Dog Might Be Stressed

Plan how you will handle your dog’s stress if you want routine cross-country trips with your dog to be smooth.  The engine noise and the enclosure might make your dog anxious.  In case of that, your dog can take anti-anxiety drugs for a short period. If you are not for conventional medication, you can try out CBD supplements that will help keep your pet calm.

Furthermore, getting your dog’s familiar object, like a routine grooming brush or towel, close comes a long way in keeping your pooch calm.


Don’t Leave Your Dog inside a Parked Car

Avoid leaving your dog inside a car alone at all. The temperature inside the car can rapidly rise, which may be fatal for your dog.  Your dog will likely have a heatstroke which can worsen in a few minutes. 

Major signs of heatstroke in dogs include excessive panting, drooling, disorientation, and bright red gums.  


Can A Pregnant Dog Travel By Car

What if you have a pregnant dog? Will transporting it by car be suitable? According to vet info, a pregnant dog can only travel after the first three weeks and before the last two weeks of pregnancy.

The main reason is that this traveling can induce premature delivery.

Also, if your pregnant dog gets anxious a lot during car rides, then it’s better to postpone that road trip. This stress and anxiety can impact your dog’s pregnancy, which might end up being fatal. If persistent, ask a vet whether a better way can be organized to transport your dog.


Here are key tips that you might want to know in case you need to travel with a pregnant dog

  • Ensure your dog has frequent breaks in between the car rides. Pregnant dogs often get tired; thus, they need frequent breaks between traveling. Also, they need to have plenty of potty breaks during this crucial pregnancy period.

You don’t want your dog to hold his urine for long. The reason is the retention of urine may increase the chances of urinary tract infections and the formation of kidney and bladder stones.

  • Frequent hydration is vital- arm yourself with plenty of portable water bottles that you can store your dog’s water.
  • Maintain the hygiene around your dog. Pregnant dogs have weaker immunity.  You know a slight contact with bacteria can wreak havoc on their immune system, which may be disastrous during this period.

What Is The Safest Way For A Dog To Travel In A Car?

One tip for traveling with your dog in the car is maximizing safety. It is crucial you restrain your pet inside a crate. While inside a crate, your dog is less likely to be injected in case of a sudden stop.

Another option is attaching your dog’s comfortable harness to a car seat. If you have a hyper dog, restraining him inside a dog car booster seat and further reinforcing it with a dog seat belt will prove to be vital.
Should I Feed My Dog Before A Road Trip?

Feed your dog 3-4 hrs before a road trip. Not a few minutes before you ignite the car. As earlier discussed, traveling on a full stomach, even for you, can trigger stomach issues and even motion sickness.
Final Thoughts

Transporting your dog inside a car needs to be a delightful experience for you and your dog—no need of winging it, whether it’s a short or long vacation. Remember to prioritize safety and comfort both for you and your dog.

Follow all these traveling trips, and your furry friend will always be yearning for such trips now and then.

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