Petstock logo
HomeRight caret
BlogRight caret
Article Featured Image
December 2022

How to Travel with a Dog in the Car


Travelling with Dogs

If you ask us, taking your dog for a road trip is the perfect way to spend free time! Whether you’re going for a day trip, a weekend getaway or a full-blown vacation, research and forward planning is key to a smooth, stress-free adventure. Before you leave, you should have a good idea of what vet services are available on your journey and destination, as well as what needs your dog has for the road trip ahead. Don’t worry, PETsmarts is your one-stop information hub – we’ve got you!

Hot Tip

When planning your holiday or camping trip, always find out where the closest veterinary clinic is to your destination and their operating hours. This way, you can quickly contact them if your dog is involved in an emergency.

Checklist for travelling with a dog:

✓ Car harness

✓ Dog bed

✓ Collar with up-to-date registration information

✓ A spare collar and lead

✓ Travel bowls

✓ Plenty of extra water

✓ Enough food for the trip

✓ Treats

✓ Anti-anxiety products

✓ 2-3 of their toys

✓ Brush

✓ Blanket

✓ Vaccination records

✓ First-aid kit

✓ Poo bags

Everything you need to know when travelling with a dog

Dog Travel Harness

First thing’s first: you’re going to need a doggy seatbelt. It’s important your dog is restrained in the car – for both their safety and yours. Unrestrained dogs could launch themselves into the front seat, plonk into your lap or get under your legs and generally distract you from what you should be doing – driving safely!

Unrestrained dogs are also at serious risk if there’s a collision – don’t put your dog at risk, get them a harness for the car! Shop our car harnesses here.

Dog Car Seat

Does your dog like to look out the window? Think about getting them a car seat! Not only will your pooch be able to check out the view, they’ll also be kept secure without impairing your driving abilities. Whether you opt for a car seat or harness or both – you must ensure your dog is restrained in the car. This is in keeping with Australia’s laws and regulations for travelling in cars with dogs as driving with an unrestrained dog in the car is an offence and can carry hefty fines. There are additional fines you can be charged with if you’re in an accident and your unrestrained dog is injured.

Article Image

Travel Dog Bowls for Food and Water

One of the most important checklist items is just the everyday essentials: food and water, plus portable bowls and bottles that are easily transportable.

Travel Bowls for Dogs

Lexi & Me Collapsible Travel Bowl

Beco Travel Bowl

Lexi & Me Collapsible Travel Bowl with Lid

Portable Water Bottles for Dogs

DOOG 3-in-1 Bottle & Bowl

Buddy & Belle Dog Water Bottle Feeder 400ml

Lexi & Me 2-in-1 Portable Travel Bottle

Hot Tip

Make sure you bring along plenty of extra water for your journey – dogs overheat easily and keeping them hydrated is important for temperature control.

It’s also recommended to bring along your dog’s usual food, as it’s possible they’ll react adversely if you change their food suddenly while away from home.

Best Dog Toys & Treats for Travel

It’s a good idea to bring treats and toys for the journey with you – both to reward good behaviour, keep them calm and to ward off boredom.

What Can I Give My Dog to Keep him Entertained?

Snuffle Mats for Dogs

Snuffle mats are interactive feeding mats which feature a raised fabric design that traps and hides kibble or treats in their soft folds of material. They encourage foraging behaviour and help keep your dog occupied with a problem-solving activity. Get one here.

Treat Dispenser Chews for Dogs

The perfect toy for chewers! Whether you opt for Petstock’s own Toppler or go for Kong’s iconic design, treat-dispensing toys can provide hours of entertainment! Simply fill the dispenser with a mix of your dog’s kibble, some treats and bind it together with peanut butter to encourage further licking and chewing!

Boredom Buster Mats for Dogs

Like snuffle mats, boredom busters are designed to make your dog work for their meal! They feature an indented maze-like design which encourages your dog to lick once you place wet food or peanut butter over them. Licking is also a relief strategy for dogs suffering from bouts of nervousness or anxiety. Get a boredom buster from Petstock here – and enjoy the added bonus that the proceeds from your purchase will go to the Petstock Foundation’s charity partners.

Long-Lasting Chews for Dogs

It may seem obvious, but dogs love chowing down on bones or chews. This keeps them entertained and distracted, meaning you can focus on the long drive ahead! Shop them here.

Hot Tip

It’s a good idea to bring a few of your dog’s favourite, regular toys on journeys away from home to give them a sense of consistency and normalcy in a strange new environment.

Dog Car Sickness Help

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from motion sickness in the car. There are natural remedies that can relieve symptoms associated with travel-related anxiety and thus help with nausea, such as calming collars, supplements , chews and treats. You can also style your dog with calming travel shirt to soothe their stress. If problems relating to travel sickness or nervousness occur, it may be worth consulting with your vet to discuss alternate medical options.

Article Image

FAQs For travelling in a car with dogs

What do you do if your dog gets anxiety in the car?

It’s a good idea to give your dog treats to create positive associations with the car. You can also practice by directing them to enter the car and rewarding them for doing so without going anywhere to desensitise them to car journeys. Try our calming treats and supplements with L-Theanine, which helps with anxiety.

How often should I stop for bathroom breaks when driving with my dog?

Your dog will need frequent breaks to stretch, sniff, use up some energy and go to the toilet. You should plan to stop every two hours or so – but be mindful of your dog’s behaviour in the car. If they’re getting restless or agitated, they may be signalling to you that they need a break.

What should I do before taking my dog for a road trip?

Make sure your dog is up to date with all their vaccinations and take them to a vet for a general check over. If you don’t have a regular vet, use our PETstock locater to find your nearest vet.

How to travel long distance with a dog?

They key to travelling long distances with a dog is to take frequent breaks and bring along enrichment toys to keep your dog entertained. A good strategy for a stress-free journey is to work up to a long-distance trip – take your dog on increasingly longer trips to get them ready for a long-distance drive.