Tips for Traveling with Your Dog in the Car

While for some dogs it is a very fun experience and they love it, for others, there is nothing more traumatic
Tips for Traveling with Your Dog in the Car

Last update: 06 March, 2018

Do you want to know how to travel with your dog by car? We’ll give you a few tips to make car travel with dogs easy and enjoyable.

Trips for traveling by car with your dog

Whether you are planning your next vacation, a weekend getaway or taking your pet to visit a family member, you should consider the following tips for traveling with your dog by car:

1. Ensure everyone’s safety

Ensure the safety not only of the animal, which is very important, but also that of the other passengers in the vehicle. Dogs cannot ride in the passenger side front seat, and much less on the driver’s lap. It is also not recommended that he ride unrestrained in the back seat, or in someone’s arms.

If the car makes a sharp move, rotates sharply or stops quickly, the canine can injure himself or hit others.

2. Restrain your pet with a special seatbelt

You also should not restrain him with a seatbelt made for people, because they are not entirely safe. The good news is that you can buy special dog belts in pet stores and that fit on the regular seatbelt. In this way the animal will be extra secure and, in the event of an accident, will not move from his place.

3. Put him in a pet carrier

If your dog is small, a good way to take him in the car is to place him inside a special carrier, which you must turn into a comfortable space by placing blankets or cushions and perhaps a toy inside. Do not place it on the seat (even with the seat belt) but on the floor, between the front and the rear seats.

4. Place a washable blanket in the car

In the case of medium sized or large animals that will use a seatbelt, a good idea is to wrap the seat with a blanket or plastic sheet. This way you will prevent the car from being filled with hair or dirt. Besides, it can be an excellent idea if the animal relieves himself or vomits.

5. Do a test run first

If it is the first time that you will travel with your dog by car, you can place him inside while it is not running, so that he can become familiar with the vehicle. If the idea is to go on vacation to a remote place, you can start by taking him for a ride near your home at a low speed. Increase the time spent in the car little by little.

You can also take him to places that are fun for him, like the park, for example. That way he will associate the car with outdoor games. The first time you put him in the vehicle, go somewhere other than to the vet. If you don’t, he will associate car rides with the vet, and the next time you want to take him somewhere, it may be problematic.

6. Don’t feed him

Your pet’s stomach can be sensitive to typical car movements. Some dogs experience dizziness or vomiting during travel. One way to avoid this is to not feed him 3 hours before the ride. Do not give him water either.

Try not to feed him on the stops you make, although if the journey is very long, you can offer him a bowl of fresh water.

7. Bring toys

Just like traveling with young children, traveling with your dog by car can be a bad experience if the animal gets bored. At the beginning of the ride, he may be excited and curious about  everything. As the hours pass, he may get tired and fall asleep. But if that doesn’t happen, you have to be prepared. Take along a noiseless toy to entertain him.

8. Stop every two hours

On long trips, we all have to go to the bathroom at times. And that includes your pet. Stop at places where dogs are allowed, and before you open the door, make sure you have his leash and collar securely attached. Don’t let him get out by himself and always keep him by your side. Also, at some stops there may be other dogs or car noises that can desorient your pet.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.