Taking your dog in the car: avoid these common mistakes

Author picture Pawshake

Most dogs love travelling by car! That's because there's usually a fun walk or an interesting destination at the end of it. A trip to the vet or pet sitter might also involve a car journey. Although this sounds simple enough, dangerous situations can arise when entering and exiting the vehicle, and during the car journey itself. Which is why we've conveniently listed the essential do's and don'ts for you below.

Allow your dog to get accustomed to the car
Not all dogs enjoy travelling by car. It's therefore important to allow him to get accustomed to being in the car gradually. You can do this by first getting the dog acquainted with the car while it's stationary. Reward him with snacks and encouraging words. Gradually build up his time spent in the car, until you can take a short, introductory drive. Dogs who are at ease in the car and remain calm throughout the journey are less likely to suffer from car sickness or stress.

Pawshaker Delphine's dogs love travelling with her in the car

Safety first!
Dogs can be quite boisterous and enthusiastic creatures and, as such, sometimes make unexpected movements. Which is why it's not a good idea to allow your faithful friend to sit unrestrained in the car. If you were to brake suddenly for example, he wouldn't be protected. In addition, your dog might distract you while driving. So, always secure your dog with a harness and a dog seat belt. That way he'll not be able to move around and you'll both be safe if you need to perform an emergency stop. If he's firmly secured, he'll feel calmer too, and this offers additional peace of mind when opening the door: dogs often jump out of the car before you know it, which can lead to dangerous situations. Got a calm dog that's used to being in the car? Then make use of a crate or, if you have one, a dog guard for the boot.


  •     Allow your pooch to sit in the car without a harness or crate
  •     Let your dog look out of the car window
  •     Place several dogs that don't know each other together in the same car
  •     Leave your dog in a locked car
  •     Make long journeys without breaks
  •     Allow your dog to jump out of the car unleashed

This Airedale Terrier is securely fastened. Right! Off to the woods!


  •     Ensure your dog is microchipped and registered, in case he accidentally escapes
  •     Secure your dog with a leash or place him in a sturdy crate
  •     Bring sufficient water, as well as snacks, poo bags and towels if required
  •     Make the car a pleasant place by bringing his favourite blanket and treats
  •     A long drive ahead of you? Make frequent stops and allow your pooch to stretch his legs
  •     Put your dog's lead on before exiting the car

In summary: always consider the safety and wellbeing of both driver and passengers, as well as your dog. That way you'll be able to enjoy countless trouble-free adventures with your (pet sitting) dog! Prefer travelling by public transport? This must also be done in a safe and sensible manner. You can read more about it here.

Happy travels!