How to travel safely with your dog in the car

Davies Veterinary Specialists

Pet Owners

9th August 2022

Travelling with your pet can sometimes be tricky, unsafe and a bit uncertain for you and for them. But we’re here to make this easier for you. We’ve been speaking to our Davies Veterinary Specialists and Nurses to ensure you can travel safely and comfortably with your pet. Read on to get all our top tips. 

Why is it important?

You might ask why it’s so important that you know how to travel safely with your dog instead of just letting them jump in the car and start your journey.

The highway code states: “Make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly.” If you were to be in an accident caused by your dog distracting you this could be fatal for you, your dog or another person or vehicle and this would be considered as ‘dangerous driving’.

Top tips


The temperature of your car can heat up very quickly. Ensure you take plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated. Always ensure you never leave them alone in the car on a warm/hot day.

Regular stops

Be sure to plan in regular stops if you’re on a long trip. This means your dog can go to the toilet regularly and stretch their legs


Ensure your pet is secure by either using a crate, carrier, harness, or doggy seatbelt.


Open a window slightly for ventilation and use sunshades to block out the sun and keep a constant air flow.

Leave 2 hours after food

It’s best to leave at least two hours after you’ve fed your dog before travelling on the road.

Travel sickness

If your dog suffers from travel sickness, speak to your vet who may be able to prescribe travel medication. 

What to do if your dog is an anxious traveller?

Use positive reinforcement

If you know you will be taking a car journey in the coming weeks or days start acclimatising your dog to the idea or the car and being in it. Use lots of treats and praise when doing this exercise. Once the car is no longer a worry for them make short journeys to increase their intolerance.

Favourite toy

Bring your dog’s favourite toy or blanket. This means they will have familiar surroundings and will help them stay relaxed.

Don’t feed your pet

The less food and water inside your pet means, the less food and water that can come back up during travel. If your dog is anxious, they may be feeling sick or have an upset stomach. Bare this in mind a few hours before travelling.

Plan your stops

If your dog is feeling anxious, they may need more frequent stops so plan ahead to ensure this is possible.

Talk to your vet

Your vet may be able to prescribe medication to help your dog with their anxiety.

If you have any queries or concerns make sure you contact your vet as they will be able to help.

Linnaeus Veterinary Limited trading as Davies Veterinary Specialists 01582 883950

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