Giant dog sits in a SUV waiting for a command.

Tips and Tricks for Traveling with a Dog

Travel pet bowls are a a necessity for your pet's comfort.

Traveling With Pets 

Puppy in the car for the first time

Take your puppy on short trips as soon as possible, and he will learn to love it. If your young dog has never ridden in the car, it’s not too late. Take him or her for rides with family members or friends. Ask them to offer treats and pet the dog ensuring that he has a good experience.

Dog Travel Gear

If your dog uses a crate, put it in the car and place familiar toys in it. His favorite toys offer more security in a strange environment than new ones.

Take a water bottle and treats.You may need to put some treats in the crate or car to encourage the dog to jump in.

Buy a blanket with Velcro edges to protect your car and ease the dog. This blanket protects the sides and bottom of an SUV. You can purchase seat covers too.

Use Common Sense and Don’t Leave Pets in Hot Cars 

Walk and water the dog before entering the car.

Blast the air conditioner ten minutes or so before you and your pet get in. If you have air-conditioning in the second and third rows, turn that on too.

If you are traveling alone, opt for drive-through restaurants. If you need a restroom, park in the shade, open the windows enough for air and safety. Don’t dawdle.

Never leave your dog in a hot car, even if it’s 70 degrees and you cracked the windows. Researchers at Stanford University School of  Medicine had discovered that a car’s temperature can rise 40 degrees quickly and become lethal.

Dog Obedience

For safety reasons teach basic commands like down, sit, stay, and come. If the dog stands while you are driving, he should respond to “down.” The dog should know “stay,” because when you open the car door or lift the hatch, the dog shouldn’t jump out until you hook the leash on his collar and he hears a command, like “ok.” If he jumps out before you attach the leash, and he doesn’t respond to “come,” offer him treats to get his attention. Learning these commands could save your dog’s life.

Warning: Dangerous Prong Collars, Slip Collars or Choke Collars

I never put my dog in the car or leave him alone wearing a prong collar or a choke collar, also called a slip collar. I only use them to control him during walks.

As a puppy, his slip-collar Loop became lodged between two deck boards. I heard whimpering and saw him jerk his head up and down trying to escape as the metal choke collar tightened, strangling him like a noose. I pried the collar over his head while my husband raced for the wire cutters. Consequently, I will never leave him unattended wearing one of those collars. He wears a buckle collar at home and in the car. When driving with him, I keep the prong collar in the front seat.

I hope these tips help ensure a happy and safe trip with your pet.