Car travel do’s and dont’s


Restrain your dog

Always use a good quality harness, crate or guard, to keep your dog safe and secure. There are lots on offer from shops like Pets at Home. Did you know you could be breaking the law in the UK if your dog isn’t “suitably restrained” when travelling by car?

Always carry water

Cars can get hot even when they’re moving, and dogs can become dehydrated on long trips. Always pack a travel water bowl to ensure a drink is always on-hand.

Make regular stops on long rides

If you intend to be in the car for a while, always factor in lots of stops along the way. Your dog will appreciate being able to stretch their legs, enjoy a drink and some fresh air and go to the toilet.

Use window shades

While these are designed for babies and young children, your dog may also benefit as they help keep cars cool and block out direct sunlight.

Try to help your dog relax

There’s nothing worse than travelling with an anxious dog. Do whatever it takes to ensure your dog is happy, content and comfortable sitting in your car. This might be as simple as giving them their favourite toy or blanket to snuggle up with.

Drive to fun places

If your dog only ever goes in the car to visit the vet, he may associate it with distress rather than entertainment. Be sure to travel to places he loves visiting, too like parks or nice places to walk.

Be mindful of motion sickness

Most dogs will outgrow this condition, but if you’re concerned about it, go to your vet as they may be able to prescribe medication. It’s also worth bearing in mind dogs tend to suffer less if they’re facing forward while you’re driving. It also helps to leave a 2 hour gap between their meal times and travel.


Let your dog hang out the window

While this may look funny, it can be very dangerous. Dogs can get all sorts of dust and debris in their eyes which can be harmful and cause infections.

Forget to switch off airbags

If your dog is secured in a harness in the front seat, be sure to move the seat as far back as possible and switch off the passenger-side airbag as it may do more harm than good if you have an accident.

Open windows entirely

It’s important to keep your dog cool on car journeys. This can be achieved by turning on the air con or opening windows a little to allow a cool breeze to circulate. But never open them entirely as your dog may try to jump out.

Take your dog anywhere without an ID tag or microchip

By law, dogs who go outside must have a microchip implanted by the time they’re eight weeks old and wear a collar with their owner’s name and address.

Feed your dog just before you travel

This can upset your dog’s tummy and bring on motion sickness, which is the last thing you’ll want on a long journey.

Leave your dog alone in a car

This is particularly dangerous on warm days. Dogs can overheat within a matter of minutes, and heat stroke is a common cause of admissions to emergency vet clinics in the summer.

Forget to take a food supply

It’s worth taking some extra of your dog’s usual food on any long car journey, just in case you break down or get stuck in heavy traffic.