Tips for Driving with a Canine Co-Pilot

Tips for Driving with a Canine Co-Pilot

More often than not, dogs are happy to hop in the car for a little joyride alongside their favorite human.

Dog park? Grocery store? No matter where you go, most dogs are just happy to get the invite. Other times, however, they might be a little more reluctant to ride along, making your time on the road no walk in the park.

Whether you’re going cross-country or just around the corner, a little planning can go a long way. Here are a few simple things you can do when driving with a dog to ensure you both enjoy the ride.

Before You Leave

Just as if you’re packing for yourself, make sure your dog has everything he needs to keep him happy (and healthy) while traveling. All dogs are different, but here are some general probably-must-haves for riding in the car:

Collar and leash

Food and water (and bowls)

Blankets and disposable baggies

Towels (handy for wiping muddy paws)

Right before you leave, make sure your dog has run out all of his energy and done his business. It’s also best to avoid feeding them too soon before hopping in the car as dogs are likely to be prone to motion sickness.


Planes, trains, and automobiles were not designed with dogs in mind. Ensure smooth sailing during travel by getting the proper equipment ahead of time.

Although most dogs would much rather hang their head out the window and revel in the experience, it’s more important to keep them safe. So, happy traveler or not, don’t let your dog just roam free when driving.

Crates are great for travel (unless you’re traveling with Beethoven or another large dog breed – then a crate might be a limiting factor). With a crate, you’ll be less distracted, and your dog won’t become a projectile should you have to make an abrupt stop.

While crates are an easy way to ensure safety, there are other options, too. One easy alternative is a harness. By strapping the harness to a seat belt, your dog can move around while being safely restrained.

Things to Keep in Mind

While you may be fine putting in those extra miles, your dog can’t last as long cooped up in the car.  To keep the good times rolling, you should plan on making frequent stops. Some fresh air is always a good idea, and getting out of the car will give you both a chance to stretch your legs and maybe even burn off some of that restless energy.

Remember that, while your road trip will be filled with fun times for you and your furry friend, their safety is important. Make sure to consult your vet before gearing up for any drive – no matter the distance. Once you get the go-ahead, make a plan and let the good times roll!

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