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Happy Dog Blog

Safely Traveling With Dogs in the Car

Safely Traveling With Dogs in the Car

As you drive down the road, you notice the happy head of a large dog hanging outside of the car next to you, tongue flopping in the wind. At the next light, you notice that the driver has her dog in her lap. You laugh to yourself as it clearly looks like this dog is driving the car.

Then you pause for a moment and think to yourself, “Is that safe?” The short answer is no – but the long answer is that, by teaching the right behaviors, you can travel with your dog safely.

We love to have our dogs with us at all times, and short trips around town are certainly no exception. However, there are a few things to keep top of mind as you consider bringing your dog along for the ride. At the top of the list is safety. Follow these easy to remember tips and you can keep your dog safe and happy during your travels.

Tips for safely traveling with dogs in your car

  1. As much fun as it seems to be for the dog, please refrain from allowing them to ride with his/her head out of an open car window. The risk of injury is simply not worth it. If this habit is already in place, try to break your dog of practice by rewarding new behavior. A small treat should do the trick.
  2. If you stop for a moment and plan to take your dog with you, be sure to put on a leash before you open the door to let your dog out of the car. As well behaved as your pet may be, you cannot control things like other drivers, other animals or people in the environment, and outside situations your dog might not be used to. Make sure you always have full control when you allow the dog to leave the vehicle.
  3. Bring something familiar for your dog to be near. Dogs are creatures of habit and respond well to routines and a sense of familiarity. Especially if your dog is a little nervous in the car, bring a beloved chew toy or a special blanket along for the ride. This can help create a sense of safety and comfort for the trip.
  4. Finally, never leave your dog in a car unattended without the windows opened. Actually, we suggest you refrain from leaving them unattended at all. Dogs don’t sweat, so it’s very easy for them to overheat. And that’s not worth the risk. But, if you must, only leave for a few minutes – and absolutely be sure to open the windows enough so fresh air can get in, but not enough so your dog can jump out.

Ultimately, you – not your dog - know best when it comes to your dog’s safety. Put your love of your pet as a priority and make safe travel habits a routine.


Are you planning a road trip soon? We’re located in Carmel and provide dog boarding, day care, and professional dog grooming for dogs all around Indy and Central Indiana. Visit us for a tour of our facility and say hi! Contact us.