Contact: | 410-353-5505
Find us on

How To Travel With Your Dog

  • The Never Manual
  • Planning
  • Restrained in the car
  • Comfortable car travel
  • Symptoms
  • Tips
  • Traveling with Airplane
  • Support our projects
How To Travel With Your Dog

The Never Manual

Never leave your pet move freely, unsecured in the car.

Never allow your pet to ride in the front passenger seat (especially one that is airbag equipped).

Never let your pet out of the car without proper restraint.

Don’t allow your pet to ride with their head out the window; they could get hurt by flying debris.

Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. He or she will be vulnerable to heat stroke or theft.

If you are traveling out of town, stop regularly so that your pet can stretch his legs and have a drink of water.

Planning for Emergencies or Unexpected Issues

Even with proper planning, emergencies or issues can happen on a trip. You could be in a car accident; your pet could get sick, you could be delayed, the weather could be bad, or a hundred things could happen. However, you can plan for emergencies to make it easier to deal with them if they arise. As mentioned above, making sure your pet has current identification is very important. Having extra supplies, including medication, food, and water is a great way to prepare.

If unexpected issues arise, especially if you are on a long trip, it is important that someone not traveling with you knows where you are going and all the important information about your pet in case they are lost or you cannot get in touch. You should also prepare by checking the weather, road conditions, and pet accommodations. You should know how to find an emergency vet. If you are involved in a car accident, you should immediately tell any first responders that you have a pet with you.

Why do pets need to be restrained in the car?

Airbags are as dangerous for your dog as they would be for a child. Anchor any dog crates or pet carriers with a proper seatbelt or use a dog restraint harness when traveling with dogs in cars to prevent them from shifting around if there is an accident or sudden stop. There are lots of really important reasons to keep your pet well-secured while you’re driving:

Their safety. A pet seatbelt or carrier will help keep your pet safer from serious injuries if you’re in a car accident.

Your safety. If your pet is loose in the car, it could seriously hurt you and your passengers in an accident.

Preventing accidents. A loose pet could distract the driver from the road and cause an accident. They could even get in the way of the steering wheel or the brake pedal.

The law. If you’re in an accident because you were distracted by your pet this could be counted as dangerous driving.

Making car travel more comfortable for your pet

Some pets have no problem traveling in the car and others will hate it! Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to make the journey more relaxed and comfortable for your pet:

Start young.

Pets who are used to traveling in the car from a young age are much more likely to be relaxed and happy during car trips. This is part of ‘socialization’. Introduce them to the car as early as you can. Start out by introducing them to the parked car and getting them used to sitting in it with you, then start making short trips. Build up to longer journeys, but make sure they usually end in something fun like getting a treat or a walk.

Give them time to digest.

If your pet gets car sick it’s best not to feed them right before a trip in the car. Give them plenty of time to digest their meal or don’t feed them until after the car journey. You can also talk to the vet to see if they can have medication to settle their stomach if they get car sick even on an empty tummy.

Symptoms of motion sickness in dogs range from the obvious to the more subtle:


Extra drooling




Vomiting (in the car
or shortly after arrival)


Take a break.

If you’re taking your pet on a longer journey, make sure they have a chance to stretch their legs and have a drink.

Keep them cool.

Cars can warm up really quickly and our pets are wearing warm fur coats all the time! Be aware of your pet’s temperature and pop the air conditioning on or open a window a little to keep them cool while you’re on the go.

Don’t leave pets in the car.

Cats and dogs can’t cool themselves down in the same way humans can. They can overheat very quickly if they’re left in a car, and get into a critical condition. Winding the window down or parking the car in the shade is not enough to keep them cool.

Don’t let dogs stick their head out the window.

They could knock their head on something, fall out of the window or distract other drivers.

What in your pet’s traveling kit?

In addition to travel papers, food, a bowl, a leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.

Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area he’s not used to could result in a tummy upset for your pet.

If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, available at auto product retailers.

If you are traveling with your pet by air:

Know that last-minute air travel with pets is not always possible, and each airline and destination may have its own regulations, including for vaccinations and quarantine.

If your pet is small, you may be able to carry him or her on board with you (in a crate—check airline rules).

If your pet must travel in the luggage or cargo area:
a) take a direct flight;
b) travel on the same flight as your pet;
c) don’t travel when temperatures are above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit; and
d) ask to watch your pet being loaded and unloaded.

Notify the captain and at least one flight attendant that your pet is in the cargo area.

If the plane has to taxi for a long time, ask that a temperature check be taken on the cargo area. Pets have been harmed because cargo area temperatures got too hot or too cold while the airplane taxied.

Was our information helpful to you?

If you want to support our projects, you can contribute with a donation in the following ways:

● You can donate directly on our website here.
● Join ROLDA Global Parents network.
● Buy a virtual gift from our online shop.
● Become a Teamer and donate 1 EUR / month.
● You can fund an entire project.
● Include a gift to ROLDA in your will.

Terms & Conditions

The information, guidance and recommendations contained on website or printable materials (in brief, “info”) are based on ROLDA understanding of good practice for animal welfare emergency planning.

ROLDA uses all reasonable efforts to ensure that the info is accurate at the time it is published.However, ROLDA makes no guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the Information and does not commit to keeping the Information updated.

ROLDA excludes all liability of any kind whatsoever (including negligence) for loss, injury or damage (whether direct, indirect, or consequential, and whether foreseeable or not) suffered by any person or animal resulting in any way from the use of or reliance on the info.

The info is of a general nature only and is not intended to cover every emergency situation. In no way should the info be seen as a replacement for specialist advice. Please contact your vet for specific advice regarding your pet(s).

Contact our