Traveling with Dogs in Car Rides

Traveling with dogs in cars can be made easier and more enjoyable for both pet and owner with a little planning on your part in advance of the trip. Many dogs enjoy car travel, but some need a little extra help from their owners to tolerate riding in the car. Let’s see what steps you can take to make a car trip more pleasant for your pet.

Crates Are Great for Car Travel

The first and most important travel accessory your dog needs is a crate. The crate should be large enough for him to move around in comfortably, but not so large that your dog doesn’t feel secure. If you have a small- to medium-sized dog, his crate should be able to be secured in the back seat of your vehicle with a seat belt, while a large-breed crate should fit snugly in your vehicle’s back seat or be secured in the cargo bed or rear cargo area.

A crate offers your dog a secure den during travel, and he will be safer traveling inside the crate than if he’s allowed to roam freely about your vehicle while you’re on the road.

Acclimate Your Dog to the Crate and Car Travel

If your dog is not accustomed to being crated, leave the open crate on the floor where he can explore it for about a week. Once your dog can enter and exit the crate easily, close him in the crate for a short period of time. As he becomes comfortable with the idea of being kept in the crate, extend the length of time that the door remains closed.

When your dog is comfortable staying in the closed crate, load the crate and the dog into your vehicle and take a short car ride about two weeks before you’re ready to begin your trip. Extend the length of the rides each day to give your dog a chance to adjust to riding in the car in his crate before the trip actually begins.

Reserve Your Motels Before Hitting the Road

Traveling by car with your dog means that you will have to make some plans and some reservations ahead of time, especially if your trip will extend longer than one day. Pack all your dog’s accessories, including a supply of his current food and your hometown water, so that he won’t suffer stomach upsets during the trip. Locate pet-friendly motels by conducting an online search or consulting guidebooks for pet owners, and make reservations prior to leaving home.

Plan your driving day so that you arrive at the motel by late afternoon. This will give your pet opportunities to exercise and to catch up on any meals he might have missed during your driving time.

During your driving day, plan ample rest stops to give your dog a chance to relieve himself and exercise. Keep your dog leashed during rest stops, and make sure he has a secure collar with a current identification tag on it in case he runs away from you during the trip. Don’t leave your dog unattended in a car because interior car temperatures can rise quickly on warm days or drop suddenly on cold ones.