Safest Way to Travel with Your Dog

By Dejan B.. Published on May 18, 2017

Traveling with a dog can be super fun and there are many people who just love to take their pets on long road trips and vacations. To make the whole experience safe and enjoyable for your dog, here are a few tips to make the whole trip problem-free.

Preparing for the Trip

Preparation is important when traveling with your dog. The first thing you need to do before going on a road trip is to take your dog to a vet for a checkup. Tell the vet to provide you with a health certificate for the dog where it says how the animal is healthy and able to travel.

a dog's head sticking out the window in a car

Make sure to check if the hotel you are staying in is pet-friendly and if there is a playground for dogs on-site or in the area. There are many hotels in the world that welcome guests with pets and some of them will charge you for this service, while others allow pets to stay for free.

If this is the first time you are traveling with your dog, do a short test drive with the animal before going on a longer trip. You may also consider doing some extra training if you are worried about how your dog will behave during the ride.

Pack Your Dog's Traveling Kit

Dogs are known to like the same type of comfort that they get at home; therefore, it is important to pack all the necessary traveling kit before going on the road. Bring his or hers bedding, first-aid items including tweezers, medication, and bandages. You should also pack a copy of the dog's medical records.

golden retriever sitting in trunk of car with gear

Your dog probably loves to play with his toys, so make sure to include them in the traveling kit bag. There are many people who say that packing bottles of water from home is very important when going on a road trip adventure with a dog. The thing is that taste of water varies from place to place, and if a dog drinks local water that he or she is not used to, the animal may experience stomach problems and even diarrhea.

Identification is Important

Your dog should always be equipped with a collar that includes a telephone number together with a home address on a tag. There are many dogs that have a microchip implanted as their permanent ID. You should also pack a recently taken photograph of your pet, just to make it easier for someone to recognize the dog in case he or she gets lots.

Securing Your Dog in the Vehicle

Once you have your dog inside the car with you, it's time to make sure that he or she is safe. People say that pets should always ride in the back, and they are totally right. A dog who sits in the front seat can easily distract the driver and this is something I am sure you want to avoid. Another reason why a dog should travel in the backseat is that the animal can get hurt from the airbags. Keep in mind that a two-seat car is not appropriate for dogs, especially if you are going away for a long trip.

Labrador in a car

You can also put your dog inside a crate. Crates are there to ensure the safety of the pet and provide comfort. Yes, the crate will limit the mobility of the animal, but at the same time, it will guarantee safety. Keep in mind that crates for small dogs are easy to store and carry, but on the other hand crates for big animals are usually large and heavy. People that own dogs and love to travel with them everywhere also suggest purchasing a harness, backseat hammock, or a booster seat. All of these items will help your dog stay safe and at the same time provide comfort for your pet.

During the Road Trip

Please don't allow your dog to stick his or her head outside the window while driving because it can be dangerous and the dog can get a cold.

Don't feed your dog right before the trip to avoid car sickness. Of course, it is okay to give your pet a small snack before hitting the road. Ginger capsules are known to help dogs who have a hard time dealing with car sickness.

road trip with dog

Make sure that the car is well-ventilated and check every once in a while that fresh air flows into the crate. You can also turn on the air conditioning.

Dogs should never be left alone inside closed vehicles. If you need to leave the car, leave the dog with a person who is traveling with you. If it's just you and your pet on the road, take the animal with you. Animals are sensitive to heat and can even suffer during mildly warm weather. Did you know that dogs can have a heat stroke in less than 15 minutes?

Take Frequent Breaks

After spending too much time in the car, you probably want to stretch out a bit. Well, dogs also want to have a break. The animal needs to pee regularly, so make sure to take frequent breaks while traveling by car with your dog. You can also do some research before the trip and see if there are any parks along the way. I am sure that your dog would prefer a place where it is possible to run around for a bit, rather than a gas station with a diner where pets are not allowed to enter.


Fadra on 4/9/2022, said:

Hi! I am about to take a road trip to Utah where my daughter will be working for 6 months. We will be traveling from Alabama with her dog. I will be flying back home so she will be able to keep her car with her. Any recommendations for this long road trip? pet-friendly hotels? driving plan/route?

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