Giant dog sits in a SUV waiting for a command.

Tips and Tricks for Traveling with a Dog

Traveling With a Dog 

Puppy in the car for the first time

My dogs have accompanied me on car rides since I could drive, and I learned that traveling with a dog is easy, especially when you start by taking them with you when they are a puppy.

Four-month-old-Leonberger Puppy
The Leonberger puppy has that Friday feeling.(photo by dorothyadele)

Take your puppy on short trips as soon as possible, and he will learn to love it. For example, I started by putting my puppies in the car for the first time when they were eight weeks old. I would take them with me when I  picked up the kids from school. Not only did they learn to ride in the car, but they became socialized.

If your older dog has never ridden in the car, it’s not too late. Take him or her for rides with family members or friends, and ask the passengers to offer the dog treats and cuddle him ensuring that he has a good experience.

#relax #FridayFeeling #dog #puppy
The nine-week-old Leonberger puppy grows quickly and naps often. (photo by dorothyadele)
Eight-week-old Leonberger puppy is on his way to his new home.
Leonberger puppy rests in a Sherpa Pet Carrier before boarding an airplane.(photo by dorothyadele)

Dog Travel Gear

Dog Crate

Leonberger Dog
This is the Leonberger that found a possum. (photo by dorothyadele)

If your dog uses a crate, put it in the car and place familiar toys in it. I learned that a dog’s older toys offer more security in a strange environment than new ones.

Additionally, I have crated my dogs until they reached the age of about one, which is around the time that they stop teething and you can trust them alone.

Ironically, I had removed the door to my current dog’s colossal crate and never took the crate down because my dog uses it every day. Though it’s an eyesore, I can’t take away the dog’s refuge.

A five-month-old Leonberger puppy
This Leonberger puppy is five months old and growing. (photo by dorothyadele)

Portable Water Bottles

Travel pet bowls are a a necessity for your pet's comfort.
Take a portable dog water bowl in the car or a small bowl to fill yourself.

The pet stores sell all kinds of portable water bottles. Take a water bottle and treats with you in the car, you may need those treats to divert your dog’s attention.

Protect Your Car

Buy a blanket with Velcro edges to protect your car and comfort the dog. This blanket protects the sides and bottom of an SUV. Also, you can purchase seat covers.

Leonberger dog
This Leonberger dog weighs 150 pounds.(photo by dorothyadele)

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

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a dog left in a hot car in a parking lot with the windows opened slightly. Please, 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 could rise 40 degrees quickly and become deadly. When in doubt, don’t take a chance and leave your dog at home.

However, if it’s hot and you have to take your dog on a long trip, ensure that when the dog gets in the car is cool. You can blast the air conditioner for about ten minutes or so before your pet enters. If your SUV has second and third-row air-conditioning, turn that on too. Also, though this is obvious, walk and water the dog before you leave.

Heavy Coated Leonberger Dog
This  Leonberger dog loves to swim.  (photo by dorothyadele)

If it’s hot and you are traveling alone, opt for drive-through restaurants. If you need a restroom, park in the shade, open the windows enough to allow air to circulate to cool your pet. Also, try not to dawdle.

Puppy Training and Dog Training

For safety reasons learn puppy training tips and teach basic commands like down, sit, stay, and come. If the dog stands while you are driving, he should respond to “down.”

Furthermore, you should teach your dog the “stay” command, 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. Most importantly, learning these commands could save your dog’s life.

Large heavy coated dog
This Leonberger dog loves air conditioning. (photo by dorothyadele)

Warning: Dangerous Prong Collars, Slip Collars or Choke Collars

Even though I was just in the next room, I learned the hard way about the danger of leaving a slip collar or prong collar on an unattended dog. Moreover, I never put my dog in the car or leave him alone wearing a prong collar or a choke collar. Additionally, I only use them to control him during walks.

What Happened when I left my puppy unattended wearing a slip collar

As a puppy, our dog’s slip-collar loop became lodged between two deck boards. I heard the dog whimpering, and I ran outside, and I saw him jerking his head up and down trying to escape as the metal choke collar was strangling him like a noose.

I pried the slip collar over his head while my husband raced for the wire cutters. Consequently, I will never leave my dog unattended wearing a slip collar or prong collar.

Now, he wears a buckle collar at home and in the car. Even when driving with him, I keep his prong collar in the front seat.


To sum up, start traveling with a new puppy as soon as possible. Contain him when you take him on a long car ride. If you don’t use a crate have others ride with you for safety reasons and to ensure that your puppy has a pleasant experience.

Also, bring pet supplies and protect your car. Take your pet to puppy training because responding to basic commands like “come” could save his life. Also, check out my article about dog owners who allowed their dogs to attack my puppy.

Most importantly, never leave your dog in a hot car or leave him unattended with a slip collar or prong collar.

I hope these tips help ensure a happy and safe trip for you and your pet. Do you take your dog on trips? What are your tips and tricks for traveling with a dog or other pet?

Travel with your Dog

Related Posts:

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Puppy was Attacked Four Times

Car Driving Dog

Puppy Training 101 — Blame the Husband

12 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for Traveling with a Dog

  1. Our dog used to bite through his leash while staying in the back seat, so we put a chain one wrapped around the headrest of the back seat. Then we have his padded harness on him that attaches him (so he cannot bite through). With the harness, though, you have to make sure the car is cool so they do not get too hot!

      1. For sure! We adopted him a year ago today and he could not leave my side. He wanted to stay on my lap throughout the drive – which is unsafe of course!

  2. I definitely believe in starting dogs young as pups to road trip that way they get used to it ASAP! I remember the beginning being full of puppy puke but it got better after a while! #WanderfulWednesday

  3. I’d love to get a dog one day but I’m worried that it wouldn’t work out as I’m traveling quite a bit and usually for longer periods of time and almost always via airplane. It seems very complicated unless you have a tiny dog as there’s so much to think about!

    1. I agree, having a dog is a lot of responsibility and it’s not fair to leave them constantly. Luckily, we have someone to care for him when we are away, but when I make plans to travel, he is my first consideration. Thank you for your comment.

  4. I loved your post, Dorothy! (and HOW CUTE is your big guy! such a sweet looking dog!) I totally agree with you that the best thing to do with a puppy or new dog is go out on trips together whenever possible! I travel often with our miniature dachshund, although we don’t have a car so we go by trains and buses…. but are gearing up for our first flight together this summer 🙂

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