How To Travel With a Puppy In The Car

How To Travel With a Puppy In The Car

 The closed space, the car movement and even the engine sound can trigger alarm bells for a puppy not used to travelling. But there are a few things you can do to make car trips easier to bear for your pup. They may even start looking forward to them! Here are the basics of car travelling for puppies. 

Travelling with your puppy can be an exciting adventure but requires careful planning and consideration, especially regarding car journeys. Whether a short trip to the vet or a long road trip, ensuring your furry companion’s comfort and safety is paramount. Here’s a comprehensive guide on travelling with a puppy in the car to make the experience enjoyable for you and your four-legged friend.

How to Teach a Puppy to Ride in a Car

When taking your dog in a car, the secret is to make them feel confident. The more confident they are, the more comfortable and less stressed they’ll be. As with so many things with dogs, the sooner they experience travel, the better. Ideally, you want your puppy to get used to cars when you bring them home.

What to do if your puppy is anxious about car travel

What to do if your puppy is anxious about car travel

How To Travel With a Puppy In The Car If your puppy gets particularly nervous in the car, ask your vet about using synthetic pheromones, available in different formats – including dog bandanas! The scents are believed to be similar to the reassuring pheromones that mum will have emitted naturally when they were a puppy, so it should calm them down and keep them relaxed for around four hours.

Also, try to provide them with some familiarity in the car to make them less stressed, such as a favourite toy or a rug that smells like home. This is especially helpful for young puppies.

Car sickness in puppies

Car sickness in puppies is very common, although some dogs grow out of it. If your furry friend gets queasy in cars, putting down waterproof sheeting where they tend to sit or lie and always carrying lots of paper towels and a cleaning spray in case they’re ill makes sense.

A car-sick puppy is an unhappy puppy – and no one wants that – so don’t travel when they’ve got a full stomach. As a precaution, it’s best to hold off feeding your dog for two to three hours before you travel and always give your dog a walk just before you set off so they’re not anxious about having an accident. If car sickness becomes a frequent problem, ask your vet for their advice.

Remember to be patient and aim for gradual progress. Soon, your puppy will become familiar with the car and know what to expect when they hear the door shut and the engine running – a great journey with a travel companion they love and plenty of off-key sing-alongs.

Discover more useful guides for welcoming your new pup home, and make sure you’ve got all the basics right, from vaccinations to neutering and puppy microchipping.

Motion Sickness when Traveling with Puppies in a Car

How To Travel With a Puppy In The Car Car sickness in puppies is very common, although most dogs grow out of it. Patience and gradual progress are the keys to preventing and overcoming car sickness in puppies. Follow the steps mentioned above, and gradually introduce your puppy to the car. The more comfortable and confident they are in the car, the less likely they are to experience motion sickness. 

If your new puppy seems to get queasy in cars, putting some waterproof sheeting down where they tend to sit or lie is a good idea. Just in case they are sick, carrying lots of paper towels is handy.

Preparing for the Journey

  1. Acclimating Your Puppy to the Car

Before embarking on any car journey:

  1. Help your puppy get used to the vehicle gradually.
  2. Start by allowing them to explore the car while it’s parked, offering treats and positive reinforcement to create a positive association.
  3. Once they are comfortable being inside, start the engine (without moving) to familiarize them with the sounds and vibrations.
  4. Crate or Restraint System

Invest in a suitable crate or restraint system designed for puppies. This will not only keep them safe but also prevent distractions while driving. Ensure the crate is spacious enough for your puppy to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably.

  1. Identification and Documentation

Ensure your puppy has proper identification, including a collar with an ID tag containing your contact information. Additionally, carry essential documents like vaccination records and health certificates, especially if travelling across state or country borders.

Safety Measures for Car Travel

  1. Secure Restraint System

Whether you opt for a crate, harness, or carrier, ensure it is securely fastened to prevent movement during the journey. This prevents the puppy from getting injured during sudden stops or turns.

  1. Never Leave Them Alone

Never leave your puppy unattended in the car, especially in extreme weather conditions. Cars can quickly become too hot or cold, posing serious health risks to your pet.

  1. Regular Breaks

Plan for frequent breaks during long trips to allow your puppy to relieve themselves, stretch their legs, and stay hydrated. Stop every few hours to allow them to move around and release any pent-up energy.

Comfort and Well-being

  1. Familiarity and Comfort Items

Bring familiar items such as their favourite blanket, toys, and bedding to create a sense of comfort and familiarity. Having these items can help reduce anxiety and stress during the journey.

  1. Temperature Control

Maintain a comfortable temperature inside the car. Avoid exposing your puppy to extreme temperatures by using climate control or opening windows slightly for ventilation.

  1. Hydration and Feeding

Ensure your puppy stays hydrated by providing fresh water at regular intervals. Avoid feeding them a large meal before the journey to prevent motion sickness, but offer small snacks to keep them comfortable.

Handling Motion Sickness and Anxiety

Handling Motion Sickness and Anxiety

  1. Gradual Introductions

For puppies prone to motion sickness or anxiety, gradually introduce them to car rides in short, positive experiences. This helps build their tolerance over time.

  1. Desensitization Techniques

Please work with your puppy to desensitize them to the car environment by rewarding calm behaviour and gradually increasing the duration of car trips.

  1. Vet Consultation

If your puppy experiences severe motion sickness or anxiety, consult your veterinarian. They can recommend appropriate medications or techniques to ease your puppy’s discomfort.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Journey

  1. Exercise Before Travel

Before the journey, engage your puppy in some exercise or playtime to help them burn off excess energy, making them more likely to rest during the trip.

  1. Training and Commands

Basic obedience training can be incredibly helpful during car travel. Teaching commands like “sit” and “stay” can assist in keeping your puppy calm and well-behaved.

  1. Practice Patience and Positive Reinforcement

Stay patient and use positive reinforcement techniques throughout the journey. Reward good behaviour with treats or verbal praise to encourage a positive association with car travel.


How To Travel With a Puppy In The Car Travelling with a puppy in the car requires careful planning, patience, and consideration for their comfort and safety. By acclimating your puppy to the car, ensuring proper safety measures, prioritizing their comfort, and addressing any issues like motion sickness or anxiety, you can make car journeys enjoyable and stress-free for both you and your furry companion. Remember, every puppy is different, so be patient and attentive to their needs when travelling together. With these tips, you can create wonderful travel memories with your puppy.


What is The Safest Seat for a Dog in a Car?

For a stress-free ride with your furry friend, the back seat is always the safest place for pet travel. However, to ensure optimal security during road trips and car rides, never risk placing them in an unsafe spot – like front seats where airbags have been known to cause severe harm or even death.

Can Puppies Go Outside Without Shots?

Technically, you can take your puppy outside when you bring them home. However, keeping them away from areas where they could get sick until they have been fully vaccinated at around 16 weeks old is best. Some places to avoid before then include places where many dogs congregate.

Can a Puppy Stay in the Car?

But once you reach your destination, you should always leave your dog in the car with others. Dogs are highly susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration, which can occur quickly in hot temperatures. Even on a moderately warm day, the temperature inside a car can rise to dangerous levels in just a few minutes.

How do you Potty Train a Puppy While Traveling?

Potty Cues

To teach your dog a potty cue, choose a word you will be comfortable saying in public, such as “hurry up” or “go potty.” Then, join your dog outside and watch for signs he’s about to go to the bathroom. Right before he goes, say your potty word, then reward him when he’s done.

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