Lifestyle Tips, Tips & Helpful Advice, Travel tips — July 1, 2015 at 7:48 pm

Taking a Car Vacation with Your Dog


If your dog loves riding in the car, taking him along can make the family vacation more fun for everyone, if you plan carefully. Follow these trip tips to ensure that you and your pet enjoy a successful getaway.

Health & Safety

Bring your dog to the vet for a check-up before going on an extended trip. Make sure all his vaccinations are up to date, and bring a copy of his shot records with you. To keep your dog healthy as you travel, bring along a supply of his regular food and some local, or bottled water. Be sure to bring any medications he needs.

Crates Are Your Dog’s Best Friends

A crate is an excellent way to keep your dog safe in the car. It can also keep your pet from getting into trouble in a hotel or at your host’s home. Crates are available from most pet supply stores. Look for these features when shopping for a crate:

  • Large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down.
  • Strong, with handles and grips, and free of interior protrusions.
  • Leak-proof bottom. Place a comfortable mat inside the crate.
  • Ventilation on opposing sides.


In the event that your dog gets away from you on your trip, you can increase the chances of recovery by making sure he can be properly identified:

  • Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, and your cell phone number, as well as proof of rabies shots. (Some tags are large enough to hold two phone numbers.)
  • Ideally, your dog should have a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip.
  • Bring a recent picture of your dog along with you.

In the Car

  • Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach.
  • Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate.
  • Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries.
  • Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.
  • Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog.
  • Car rides are boring for everyone, so instruct your children not to tease or annoy the dog in the car.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in the summer. If you must leave the car, designate a member of the family to stay with the dog.


Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or have size or breed restrictions. Check out for directions to your destination, with dog friendly lodging along the way.

  • Remember to keep your dog as quiet as possible.
  • Do not leave the dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place.
  • Ask the management where you should walk your dog, and pick up after him. Do not leave any mess behind.
  • Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.