Road Trip: Driving With Your Dog

By Robert Cabral, dog trainer and member of the Wag! Advisory Board

Taking your pet along on a car trip can be super fun for everyone.  I’ve traveled across the U.S. with my dog Silly (who has sadly since passed) and travel quite a bit with Goofy, Maya, Boz, Jimi and Duane.  

Getting your pets used to being in the car is critical before the long trip so take several small, short and fun trips well in advance of your big road trip.

Crate or safety harness — your dog deserves it

When traveling by car, I always recommend putting your dog in a crash-tested safety crate, such as the MiM Vario Cage or the Proline Crates. I have one of each and think they’re fantastic. At the very least, consider a safety harness for your dog to travel — in the back seat.  Your dog should be restrained in your car and never be allowed to hang out of the window or ride in the back of a pickup truck. This is not only dangerous but foolish!  NEVER allow your dog in the passenger seat!

When you must leave your dog in the car

Be aware with car travel that there will be times you'll have to leave your dog in the car when you go into a store, restaurant, or other places where pets aren’t allowed. If temperatures are moderate, you can’t leave the dog in the car with closed windows. As a matter of fact, 28 states have laws that forbid leaving pets in hot cars. Instead, consider a spare key so you can leave your AC running and lock the door. Or better yet, always be prepared and have someone stay in the car with your dog. If I’m driving solo, I always park very close to the window of the restaurant and watch my car. Otherwise, it’s drive-thru time for me.

What to bring when you bring your dog

Be sure to pack your car with your dog’s food, plenty of water, and an extra leash and collar, so that you'll have all the supplies you need right there. Be sure your dog’s vaccines and health records are up-to-date, and make sure your dog is micro-chipped and that the registration is current just in case of emergency.

Dog road trips can be tons of fun for the entire family. To find a pet-friendly hotel for your next family adventure check out Official Pet Hotels or Bring Fido for a full listing of amenities around the country.  

In my next post, I’ll talk about considerations when you have to leave your dog at home when you travel. And in case you missed it, here's my previous post on dogs and air travel!

See you on the road!