Off on a long road trip with your furry pal?

We know organising a road trip can be stressful enough without having to worry about your dog too.  

And you might be wondering if long car rides are bad for dogs?

Well, a road trip can be tiring and nerve-racking for both the driver and the canine companion, so it’s important to make sure your four-legged friend is as comfortable as possible. 

While your pet doesn’t have to worry about directions and filling up the car with fuel, they may find the experience a little unsettling. In this article, we look at the top tips for long car journeys with your dog.

How to travel long distance with dogs

Prepare your dog for the journey

Before you think about any additional food or products for the duration of the trip, you’ll need to help your dog to prepare for the journey. Trina, writer at Wag The Dog UK, shared her top tips for car journeys with your dog: “If this is going to be your first long car journey with your dog, these simple steps will get you both prepared:

  • Acclimatise your pooch to the car in the weeks leading up to your trip, by taking your dog on short drives around town (not the vet, but fun places). This will help him/her get used to the doggy seat-belt or crate.
  • Make sure you don’t leave home without your dog’s medical and vaccine records, in the event of an emergency. Have their passport up to date.
  • Pet tags with your phone number and a local contact in case they get loose
  • Pack up your dog’s favourite toys, blanket or bed that will help them feel at home. Also bowls and plenty of waste bags!”

Make sure your pet is safe and comfortable

However you feel it’s appropriate to transport your four-legged friend, be it a dog crate or their favourite bed, making sure your pet is comfortable is paramount to a successful road trip. But it is also crucial to keep them safe. 

Trina added: “No one likes to be cramped while travelling, and that includes your dog too. They should have enough space to lie down, stand up and turn around. A roomy crate in the back of the boot works well or a hammock-type covering with a seatbelt for the back seat works best. Back seat hammocks also stop your dog from falling in case you have to break suddenly.”

As well as dog hammocks, it may be worth considering a dog car harness, which can be secured to the seatbelt of your lease car so that your pet can travel with you safely. If you’re setting out on an adventure and want to keep your seats clean, it may be worth investing in a pet seat cover. Online pet store Fetch has an excellent range of dog travel accessories, including dog hammocks, harnesses, crates, carriers and more.

Bring toys and treats

Keeping your pet entertained during a long journey can be tricky, so make sure you’ve stocked up on toys and treats. Bring their favourite toys from home along so that the environment is familiar for them. 

Why not try a hollow chew toy filled with treats? It's like a surprise for your furry friend to keep them entertained. 

Food is a crucial part of any road trip, even for your pooch. Trina at Wag the Dog UK shared some important advice: “Travelling is not the time to switch to different food for your pet. When I travel with Maggie, I put her wet food in single serving trays, freeze them and then pack them in a cool bag. Also one serving size of the food that your dog eats is better to keep while you are on the road.

“Remember some dogs do not travel well on a full stomach, so try to coordinate feeding and travel. I usually feed Maggie in the morning, then go for a long walk before hitting the open road."

When it comes to treats, there is so much choice for your pet. Billy + Margot, creators of the first ever ice cream specially designed for dogs, has an excellent range of delicious and nutritious snacks for your pet. 

With Omega 3 rich oils, proteins and vitamin and mineral-rich ingredients, the range includes venison treats, popcorn for dogs, fish snacks and iced treats for sunny days. 

For more meat treats, The Innocent Hound produces luxurious items as well as products targeting specific ailments. Treat your four-legged friend to venison sausages with chopped apple, turmeric and pepper treats for joint support and aniseed and citrus extract for dental support.


Take breaks

Just like humans need breaks on their journey, your dog does too! Stop for plenty of breaks where your pet can stretch their legs and enjoy a relaxing meal. Don't forget their dog bowls for a touch of home during pit stops.

Other practical items

  • Sun shades

It’s important to keep your pet cool, especially during long car trips in the summer. Why not invest in some sun shades to keep the glare away from your dog? Just as you would always keep the car well-ventilated, sun shades will help your pet to be more comfortable while on the road.

  • Booster seat

Are you travelling with a small dog who doesn’t want to miss out on the view? Pet booster seats are the answer. Your furry friend will be very comfortable in their seat and will be contained, so they can’t cause any distractions while you’re driving.

  • Dog guards

If your beloved pet is a slightly larger breed, dog guards are the best way to keep them safe and comfortable on the road. They will have plenty of space to move around and you’ll be able to relax, safe in the knowledge that they won’t leap onto the back seat and distract you. Keep in mind Trina’s advice above and make sure your pooch is familiar with the set-up before you embark on your journey.

Car journeys with your dog don’t have to be stressful. Follow these tips and make sure your pet is fully prepared for the trip for a pleasant driving experience.

Sarah Hunt

Sarah Hunt

Sarah is the Head of Marketing and she's tasked with keeping the fantastic marketing team in line. She's probably the reason you've heard of us, and her wealth of marketing experience means that no challenge is too big.