Traveling With Dogs In The Car Safely


Last Updated: January 24, 2024 | 4 min read | Leave a Comment

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Cocker riding in the front seat of a car.

Road trips can be a lot of fun, and staying safe while traveling in your car is a priority. We all think about wearing our seatbelts and following the rules of the road. But how often do you think about how to keep your dog safe in the car? Focusing on traveling safely with your pup in the car will help you all have a better time and enjoy your trip.

Traveling With Dogs Safely

While it may be fun to have your pup riding shotgun while you cruise down the highway, it isn’t the safest choice for you or him. You may want to consider easing your dog into a car trip and securing your dog in a safe place in the car. Below are our recommendations on how to travel safely with your dog in your car.

Never Leave Your Dog Unattended In Your Car

It’s unsafe to leave your dog in the car alone, especially in the summer, when he could easily overheat in a matter of minutes in a car. Even slightly cracking your car windows isn’t safe.

Start Small

Quote Form Widget

Small trips can give you a feel for how your pup does in the car. It can also help you figure out if your dog is dealing with car sickness or anxiety before you work up to a longer trip.

Your Dog Is Safer When Restrained

Along with dangers if a crash should occur, your dog runs the risk of putting his head out an open window. He could even lower the window on his own or move into a seat near an airbag, which can be very dangerous in an accident.

It’s the law or a potential law to buckle up animals in cars in a growing number of states. More states are regulating the transportation of dogs in cars for the safety of both dogs and humans.

Fewer Driver Distractions

A restrained dog will reduce driver distractions. If you’ve ever had a dog suddenly hop into the front seat, into your lap, or even down near the gas or brake pedal, you know the risk of distracted driving. A Kurgo /AAA survey showed that 29% of drivers admitted to being distracted by their dog.1

Dog Restraints Protect Human Passengers

Kurgo reports that an unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure. In comparison, an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of force. Imagine the pressure exerted at freeway speeds! 1

You Can Unload Secured Dogs From The Car More Safely

On arrival, you can safely put the leash on your dog before unbuckling and removing him from the car. Regardless of prior training, an unsecured dog can become excited on arrival and quickly bolt when the door is opened.

Secured Dogs Are Safer For Emergency Responders

If you should get into an accident and need the help of emergency workers, having a secure dog in the car allows emergency personnel to enter the vehicle quickly without concern of an unsafe situation.

Traveling With A Puppy In A Car

Traveling with a puppy can be stressful for you and him. Try not to start with a long trip. Get your pup acquainted with your car and test things out. You don’t want to learn that your little guy gets carsick, anxious, or that your plan to secure him isn’t working out when you’re in the car for hours.

How To Secure Your Dog In The Car

Whether you’re planning a dream vacation or just an afternoon of errands, a few moments spent securing your canine can be a lifesaver in the event of an accident. Securing your dog in the car will depend on several factors, including your dog’s size and the layout of your vehicle. Here are some options for you to consider:

Dog Car Booster Seat

A booster seat is a semi-enclosed kennel seat, some of which include a seat belt. Our top pick is the Flow.month booster seat, which can keep your pup cozy and safe.

Dog Carrier or Crate

Small dogs (as well as cats) are also often transported in carriers. You can secure the carrier so they can’t become projectiles if a sudden stop occurs. For larger dogs, secured dog crates provide a safe option.

Dog Car Harness

A dog car harness that buckles into a seat belt or clips to cargo tie-down is an option that works for most dogs and vehicles. A car harness for dogs can create a safer, more comfortable ride for your pup. When it comes to picking a dog harness, we recommend the PetSafe Deluxe Harness. This harness works with any seatbelt and can also be used to walk your dog.

Dog Barrier Or Seat Cover

If you have an SUV and a large dog, a dog barrier could be a good solution. There are also dog seat covers that create a hammock for your dog.

What Do I Need To Travel With My Dog?

When you’re thinking about how to travel with a dog, remember that traveling with dogs isn’t only about keeping them secure. It’s also about making each trip safe, healthy, and comfortable. Here are a few tips to make your trip a success:

Need A Dog Ramp?

Do you have trouble getting your pup in and out of the car? A dog ramp can be an excellent addition to your travel experience to provide a convenient and safe way for your pup to get in and out of the car without injuring themselves or their owners.

Keep Your Pup Hydrated

Bringing a dog water bottle is a travel-friendly alternative to a water bowl and can help you hydrate your pup on a trip without a lot of mess.

Take Breaks

It’s so important for you to take a break from driving for your pup to potty and get a bit of exercise. These stops will prevent accidents and keep your pup from getting bored in the car.


If your dog gets away while you’re out of town, you want to make sure he can get back to you. Make sure your pup has an ID tag or a microchip so people can easily identify him if gets lost.

Snacks And Treats

Don’t forget to bring some treats for your pup to snack on in the car. He may get hungry, especially if your travel disrupts his regular eating routine.


Dog toys can be a lifesaver on a long trip to prevent boredom and entertain your dog.

Keep Your Dog Clean

Adventure can be messy. Keeping a paw cleaner or dog wipes in the car can help you clean up your pup before he gets in the car.

Adventure Awaits

This seven-minute video from Mojo Travels gives you some great ideas on the best places in North America to take your pup. You’re sure to be inspired for your next road trip.

Be Prepared However You Choose To Travel

Making sure you know how to travel in a car with a dog is essential. But if you love to travel and you want to bring your pup along, you’ll want to know how to prepare for all types of travel no matter what your destination.

Sources: [1] Kurgo

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top