Woman safely buckling dog in backseat

How to Travel with a Dog in the Car

By the Mercury Team

Whether it’s a short drive to the pet store or a long road trip, driving alongside your four-legged friend instantly makes your ride more fun and enjoyable. However, car accidents happen, and leaving your dog unrestrained becomes threatening to not only them but also you and other passengers. If you abruptly stop your vehicle or get involved in a crash, your dog can hurtle through the cabin as a dangerous projectile, causing injuries and damage. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your pup while driving. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car

With the right equipment, you can keep your furry friend safe and secure while driving on the road. Here are some ideas to consider:

Dog Seat Belt Harness

A dog harness is a padded chest piece that latches over the back of the neck and underneath the front legs. It secures your four-legged friend in one position with a strap that buckles into the seat belt. To find the right harness for your dog’s size, measure their neck, chest, and weight. This helps ensure your dog stays comfortable and secure in the car. 

However, you should check periodically to see how your dog is doing. They may try to chew through the harness if they’re getting antsy.

If you think a harness is right for your dog, these products below have been crash test certified by the Center for Pet Safety:

Dog Crates

Another safety option is a dog crate designed to fit in the back of a hatchback-style car or the backseat of a sedan. Take measurements of your car to ensure the crate will fit inside your vehicle. Also, ensure the crate is large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around. To help your dog relax and stay comfortable, cover the crate with a blanket and provide them with their favorite toys.

Here are the dog crates that have been crash test certified by the Center for Pet Safety:

Dog Seat Cover Hammock

A dog seat cover hammock is perfect for older dogs who might want to lie down. It also helps protect your dog from falling off the seat and prevent them from climbing into the front and distracting you while driving. Attach the fasteners to the rear and front headset to secure the hammock and protect your four-legged friend. 

Car Safety Tips for Driving with Your Dog

When it comes to dog safety in the car, there are some things you should keep in mind.

Get Your Dog Used to the Car

If you’re planning to take your dog on a road trip and they’ve never experienced a long drive before, it’s important to get your furry friend acclimated to your vehicle in stages before the big day arrives. First, have sitting sessions in your car and not drive at all. Then, after your dog gets more familiar with your vehicle, take them on short drives around the block and reward them with treats after each drive. 

Schedule Plenty of Stops

Schedule pit stops every hour or two to let your pup go outside. They can go to the bathroom, breathe fresh air, stretch their legs, and drink water.

Don’t Feed Your Dog Before Driving

Avoid giving your dog food right before you hit the road. Your pup will less likely get sick if you feed them at least three hours before they get in the car.

Don’t Let Your Dog Hang Out the Window

It’s a classic thing that dogs do, but it’s not safe. For one, it’s not good for their eyes since they can dry out. Also, you may expose your dog to flying debris. 

Bring a Lot of Toys

Bring along some of your dog’s favorite toys to keep them entertained and distracted from the car’s movement. It can also help them relieve stress if they get antsy in the car. 

Keep the AC On

Dogs can get easily hot in the car, so make sure the air conditioner is on so there’s plenty of air circulation in the vehicle.


Taking your four-legged friend on a trip is an exciting experience. But to ensure you have safe travels, you must take proper precautions before driving and while on the road. It’s also important to have car insurance if something does happen while you’re driving. Mercury Insurance provides reliable coverage at an affordable rate. 

Contact us for a fast, free quote!

Mercury Team

The Mercury Marketing Team is made up of professionals in the fields of Content Creation, Public Relations and Social Media. The team works together to deliver professionally written and researched content to provide information for consumers.

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