Your Survival Guide to Car Travel With Pets

Author: Tom Madison | September 19, 2022
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car travel with pets
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Traveling with your pet can and should be a fun experience. The key to ensuring that it all goes smoothly is proper planning. While many pets, especially dogs, love overnight trips or traveling in the car, it can be uncomfortable or stressful without proper preparation. Ensuring your dog has a comfortable Kip dog kennel can make the journey more enjoyable for both you and your pet. From packing easy-to-carry pet hair remover tools to grooming your dog, to putting together a pet travel kit for your cat, here’s your go-to survival guide to car travel with pets.

  1. Practice Before Any Big Trips — Before embarking on any big vacation trips, you’ll want to get your pet used to traveling by car. If you rarely drive with them, get them used to your car. Just sit with them in your car in your driveway to get them acclimated to the environment. From there, start going on short trips with them, like driving to the gas station or grocery store.
  2. Traveling with Dogs — Before you even hop into the car with your dog, remove any excess dog fur with a pet hair remover brush. That way, you won’t have to worry about traveling with the strong smell of dog hair everywhere. When traveling with your dog, make sure you pack food and water for them in collapsible bowls for easy transportation. Keep them preoccupied and entertained with games and toys like puzzle-type toys.
  3. Traveling with Cats — Before you put your kitty into the car, you’ll want to get them a carrier if you don’t already have one. You’ll also want to get them acclimated to the carrier by putting an interactive toy in with them. Get your cat used to the sound and feel of the car with the engine on. Start by taking short trips and test drives around your neighborhood.
  4. Prepare for an Emergency — While we never like to think an emergency will happen when we’re traveling, especially with loved ones, sometimes accidents do happen. Expect the unexpected. The American Kennel Club recommends that you program the nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital into your phone along with your regular vet’s number, just in case.
survival guide to car travel with pets


  1. Dog Crates — Before and after you put your dog in a dog crate during your travels, brush their hair and remove any hair from their crate with a portable pet hair remover. Crates act as a great way to keep your pup safe while you’re driving in the car. You don’t have to worry about them sticking their head out the window and you won’t have to keep one hand on the steering wheel and the other trying to keep your dog in their seat. The best crate for travel is one that’s large enough for your dog to stand, turn and lie down inside.
  2. Pack a Pet Travel Kit — Your pet’s travel kit should include their health records along with proof of any recent immunizations. Be sure to bring their medications and any supplies you’ll need to clean up after your pet during and after your travels. This includes waste bags for doggies and a litter scooper for cats. Your pet travel kit should include toys for their entertainment. And don’t forget about a pet first aid kit in case of an emergency on the road.
  3. Don’t Let Your Pet Stick Their Head Out the Window — As cute as it seems, you don’t want to let your dog stick their head out the window. They can injure their eye if something flies directly at them. Worse, they can get seriously injured if another car or vehicle swerves by them too closely. An open window and a cat are a recipe for disaster. Make sure your cat stays in a crate for the duration of the car ride.
  4. Identification for Your Pet — In the same way you want to bring your ID when you’re traveling, you’ll want to bring identification for your pet as well. Dogs should have a leash and collar so they won’t get away. The collar should have an ID tag with your dog’s name, your name, phone number and proof that your dog has had their rabies vaccinations.
car travel with your pet

annabelle l/Shutterstock.com

  1. Keep Your Pet Comfortable in the Car — When traveling by car, don’t let your pet travel on an empty stomach. Make sure they stay hydrated by giving them plenty of water. The car should also be well-ventilated so that fresh air can flow through to them, especially if they’re inside a crate.
  2. Pet-Friendly Lodging — If your car trip is going to take more than a few hours and you’ll need to stay the night somewhere, look into pet-friendly lodging. Even if you don’t anticipate the ride taking longer than a day, look into pet-friendly lodging near or halfway to your destination just in case. You never know when there will be a major accident, traffic or sudden, inclement weather that can affect your trip.

About the Author

car travel with pets

Tom Madison

Tom Madison is the Marketing Manager for Uproot Clean. Tom oversees Uproot Clean’s digital presence from the Miami headquarters. Before joining Uproot Clean, Tom was leading marketing at Jade Black. Tom loves water sports and is a marvel fanatic! [...] Author Details

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