Jun 4th 2020

​8 Dog Car Safety Tips

For most pet parents, trips aren’t fun if their furry friends can’t come. However, trips can be stressful for you and your furry friend. By following a few proven practices for transporting a dog in a vehicle, you’ll reduce the stress and risks.

Traveling with a dog involves much more than just loading him in the seat or boot and driving off, especially if it’s a long road trip. You need to prioritize your dog’s needs above everything else while traveling. With these eight dog car safety tips, you’ll easily move across towns or countries with your furry friend. Let’s get started!

Choose the best restraint option

As a pet parent, you’ll do everything you can to avoid accidents while transporting your dog. However, there are no guarantees that they will not happen. Therefore, you need to figure out the best restraint option to protect your furry friend. Some of the best options include:

  • Zipline harnesses
  • Harness seat belts
  • Use boxes with harness attachments

All these options act as harnesses themselves or attach to your furry friend’s existing harness to keep him safe in case an accident occurs. Other options include:

  • Back seat hammocks
  • Crates
  • Dog guards
  • Back seat barriers

All these options are better alternatives than having no restraint. A harness will keep your dog secure. If you live in New Jersey, car restraints are mandatory under the animal cruelty laws. In Hawaii, you can be fined for allowing your dog to stick his head out of the window while the car is moving or driving with your dog on your lap.

Avoid feeding right before hitting the road

Keeping your dog on a routine is one of the best ways to relieve stress and promote wellbeing. This is especially true when it comes to feeding him. Eating just before a long road trip can result in an upset stomach and a mess for you. One of the best ways to avoid this is by feeding him earlier than usual, preferably three hours before you start your journey.

Organize your dog’s spot

Since your dog won’t be getting in the car until you’ve packed everything you’ll need, it’s important to start planning as early as you can to leave enough space for your furry friend. It doesn’t matter if your furry friend will be sitting in a crate or a vehicle restraint.

According to twiftnews, planning ahead of time will save you a lot of time and energy. If he will be uncrated, leave enough room for him to sit or lay down comfortably. This means that you should put away any object around him that increases the risk of injury. They include sharp and choking objects. If you are going to hit the road for hours, ensure that his spot is comfortable by putting his favorite blanket and toy at his spot. Keep in mind that your dog should never sit in the front seat because a deployed airbag could seriously injure him. Always go for the boot or the back seat.

Breaks are important

As a parent pet, you need to prioritize your dog’s needs. While you’ll want to drive continuously to your destination, your dog will need periodic stops to stretch and empty his bowels. You should stop for at least fifteen to twenty minutes after two or three driving hours. You may not arrive on time but your dog will be extremely grateful for it. Plus, you’ll get the opportunity to check on your dog to ensure that he is fine.

Plan for stress

As hard as you may try, it’s impossible to eliminate all your dog’s stress on the road. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to be prepared for it. If your dog tends to get stressed especially in the car, consider talking to your vet a couple of weeks before the set date and make plans. Your vet might prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to keep your furry friend calm on the road. Other ways to limit stress during the road trip include:

  • Providing him with objects that are familiar to him such as a blanket or toy and making his spot comfortable.
  • Remaining calm even if you’re not feeling it. Dogs can easily pick up on your stress through your body language.
  • Giving him anxiety aids such as CBD treats. To be on the safe side, test your dog, and see how he responds before the set date.

Limit treats on the road

Every dog owner is encouraged to give his or her dog treats regularly. However, while on transit, you should stick to verbal praise until you reach your destination or stop for a short break. Dogs can easily choke when they eat in a moving car. As we said earlier, feeding your dog on the road can also lead to an upset tummy.

You shouldn’t be feeding your dog while driving as this increases the risk of an accident. Therefore, resist the urge to feed your dog on the road. There will be enough time for that when you arrive at your destination or get back home.



Pack the essentials

As an avid traveler, you probably know that you should pack always pack an essentials bag before traveling. Since you won’t be traveling alone you should also pack an essentials bag for your dog. Keeping all the essentials in one bag will make your life on the road easier. Some of the essentials that you should pack include:

  • A leash
  • A water dish and travel food
  • Extra food in case of anything
  • Medications that your dog takes
  • A few toys
  • Waste bags
  • Medical records
  • Treats

It’s important to keep this bag in an area that you can easily access such as the front seat.

Never leave your dog in parked vehicle alone

During the summer, a parked vehicle can become extremely hot even if the windows are open. This might cause your dog to develop heatstroke. In cold weather, a parked vehicle can become a refrigerator causing your dog to freeze especially if he doesn’t have a heavy coat.


One of the keys to transport your dog in a car successfully is by planning ahead. If you are going to be driving for days, arrange for a stay at a dog-friendly hotel or different hotels along the way. Also, avoid feeding your dog right before the trip or along the way. With these eight tips, you and your furry friend will have a smooth and safe trip.