Travel Tips to Keep your Dog Safe on a Road Trip

How to be safe when traveling with your dog. What to pack, how to prepare and basic rules.

The weather is improving and the time of long weekends and road trips is upon us.

We wanted to share with you some things you should remember to prepare and be sure to bring to make traveling with your dog as successful as possible! A road trip with your dog is like traveling with a  child. They often have more luggage than you do, so you want to be sure that what you bring is both efficient and sufficient.

Some Things to Remember when Traveling with Your Dog

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what items you should pack there are a couple important things you should think about as soon as you start planning your trip.

Never Leave A Pet in the Car in the Hot Sun. No one wants that sort of Hot Dog! It can be DEADLY.

Remember that dogs handle heat differently than humans and cars can get VERY hot VERY fast, even with the window open.

Make sure to never leave your dog in the car alone on a hot day, even for only 5 or 10 minutes- they could die that fast.

You want to make sure that your dog can be comfortable at all stages of travel, even when you are with them in the car or out of the car. Check out some of these dog heat safety tips if you’re planning to travel with your dog somewhere hot this summer for useful info like how to spot the signs of overheating.

Always pick up your poop so you don’t ruin pet-friendly travel for yourself or others.

This seems like a no-brainer to me but I was shocked to hear than even informed dog lovers sometimes forget to clean up after their dogs at BlogPaws. Not only is this disgusting but it can be dangerous and spread disease.

Always Use a Restraint for your Dog In the Car

If you’re traveling with your dog in a car you’re going to want to get them a restraint to keep them protected in the case of a sudden stop or accident like a harness, seatbelt or an approved carrier that’s well secured.  Pets can be killed or badly injured if they become a projectile in an accident, just like humans. They can also be injured by an airbag in the front seat like a small child.

Never let your dog ride with their head out the window or the sunroof as they could be decapitated if you stop fast. Do not attach the collar to a seatbelt as you could break your dog’s neck or choke them.

The Center for Pet Safety did a study in 2013 and 2015 on several of the most popular harnesses, carriers and crates for travel so you can check out your preferred carrier and see for yourself how they hold up in a crash test scenario here.

Kilo the Pug has a Kurgo harness and we’d also like to try the Sleepy Pod harness and Pod (suitable for small dogs) in the coming months! He also travels in a secured crate for longer trips.

sleepy pod Kurgo journey dog harness for travel

Microchip and Tag Your Dog

Before taking your dog far away from home you should think about getting them microchipped and/or making sure the contact information is up to date. Should your dog get away from you this is the best safeguard for getting them back safely that you can have in place if they slip their collar or lose their tags.

Protect your Dog from Bugs and Diseases

Make sure all your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Investigate what bugs or diseases like heart worms, ticks, fleas, mosquitos or flu might be a threat where you are travelling and look into ways to protect yourself and your dog.

Kilo doing research on No Bite Is Right

Don’t Forget These Travel Essentials

  • Food – You may not be able to find your preferred brand on the road easily so carry a supply with you. Changing foods may cause digestive issues.
  • Water – Always make sure you and your dog stay hydrated – keep a supply of clean water handy.
  • Non-spill bowl(s)
  • Treats
  • Supplements and any medications.
  • Toys
  • Clean Up Bags 
  • Blankets
  • Cleaning Supplies- Because accidents do happen! 
  • A Camera to document your adventures
  • Crate/s and Bed(s)
  • Leash(es)- some places (like Toronto) require 6 ft leashes but you may also want long ones.
  • Collars and tags (Also check to make sure the collar you are using isn’t banned where you are going)
  • Bug protection
  • Sunscreen
  • Calming spray, chews, wipes and/or toys- This can be a big help if you have an anxious dog, we did a whole post about products that can be helpful for soothing reactive dogs found at the Global Pet Expo this year. Having a blanket or old t-shirt that smells familiar to lie on may also help some dogs.


  • Vet records and emergency vet and contact numbers – In case of emergency if you’re far away from home you want to be prepared to get your pet any treatment they may need. Pet MD has lists of Vets by location. There’s also the ASPCA poison control hotline which you can call 24/7 if your pet ingests something you fear might be toxic: (888) 426-4435
  • Life jacket- If you’re going near pools, beaches, lakes or rivers or trying paddle boarding or boating and your pet is not a strong swimmer like Kilo the Pug, this can be a lifesaver, check out our post on this here.
  • Kilo trying life jacket
  • Towel in case your dog gets wet
  • Grooming kit (as needed- Kilo’s needs are pretty minimal but a long haired dog on a beach trip or muddy hike…)
  • Maps and resources or lists of dog-friendly Hotels like the Red Roof Inn and Fairmonts, dog-friendly places to eat, to shop, to explore, to hike, to swim and to play and to take potty breaks on the road.  We have recently become affiliates of Red Roof Inn after paying for and enjoying their rooms several times last month and meeting their representatives at the BlogPaws Conference. We may earn a small commission if you book through our link which will help us keep our blog going.
  • Disaster Preparedness and Pet First Aid Kit – you never know when you could face a storm, an earthquake, a flood or some other disaster. Our friends Sara and the Super Collies are documenting their road trip on The Back Seat Barkers site and faced tornados and storms last week.

and we’re sure we missed something…

Above all you want to make sure that your pup can be as comfortable and relaxed as possible so bring anything they may require to enjoy the trip along with you!

Do you travel with your pets? Share your pictures to our galleries or share your stories or links to your Tips in the comments! What are your must-haves for travel with dogs?

Clean, comfy rooms from $49.99 at Red Roof Inn – Book a room now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *