How to Travel in a Car With a Dog: Keep Your Pet Safe & Comfortable

As a pet owner, you probably want to bring your four-legged companion with you everywhere, but you also want to keep them safe. Find out everything you need to know about how you can keep your dog happy, healthy, and secure next time you’re in the car together.

Know the Facts

Dogs may be human’s best friend, but too often, they aren’t looked after properly when they’re a vehicle passenger. Here are just some of the facts about how dangerous poor pet care can be when you’re on the road. 

Follow These Best Practices

Before you travel..

Visit the veterinarian

If you have a long trip ahead of you, bring your dog to the veterinarian to make sure all of their vaccinations should be up to date. The vet can also confirm whether your dog is in proper physical and mental shape for travel. 

Plan for emergencies

If your dog experiences a medical emergency, it pays to be prepared. Locate the 24-hour veterinary hospital closest to your final destination and make note of the number. You should also keep your regular veterinarian’s number on hand in case they need to speak with the emergency veterinarian. 

Prepare a travel kit

Just like you pack your own bag, prepare a kit full of all the essentials you’ll need for your dog. This might include items like their health records, medications, food, water, and travel bowls. You should also bring along your pet’s favorite toys, and don’t forget a first aid kit!

Prepare your car

If you travel frequently with your dog, it might be worth investing in items that make your vehicle more comfortable. Car seats and floor covers, for example, add comfort while protecting the interior of your car. 

Get the right gear

You want to keep your dog secure, and there are different methods of doing so depending on what they’re used to. Using a crate is one of the most secure and safe options. If your dog isn’t crate trained, you could use a car harness, which is essentially a seat belt for dogs. 

While you travel… 

Don’t let your dog stick their head out of the window

Although dogs love letting their head hang out of the window, it can put their safety at risk. When you’re driving at higher speeds, dirt, debris, and other objects on the road get kicked up and cause eye or head injuries. 

Keep your dog restrained

No matter which method you choose, be it a crate or harness, keeping your dog restrained or contained is an important safety precaution for everyone in the car. An unrestrained dog could seriously hurt themselves (or you) if you were to get in a crash. According to American Humane, an 80-pound dog in a 30mph car accident exerts 2,400 pounds of force. 

Never leave your dog alone in the car

Whether you’re stopping for gas or running an errand, you should never leave your dog unattended. Car temperatures can heat up extremely quickly—even when outside temperatures feel moderate. Learn more about the dangers of hot cars here

Keep your dog entertained

To make the car ride easier on you and your dog, make sure you bring their favorite chew toy or you might wind up with a chewed up seat belt. You should also take time to play with your dog at rest stops that have plenty of space to run around. 

Want more tips on how to stay safe in different driving situations? Contact us at Stop and Go Driving School. Our courses are here to give you the information and skills you need.