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Traveling with a dog by car can be fun and uneventful. My dog loves to travel by car and she wants to go everywhere I go, except for anywhere that has fireworks.

First, make sure your dog rides well in a car. Any issues your dog may have with riding in a car need to be solved before you travel a long distance with your dog. In the near future, I will be writing about challenges your dog may have with riding in a car.

Traveling With My Dog

Freckles always ride in the car with her travel harness as she lays on the back seat and sleeps the whole time we are moving in the car. When we stop, she gets up and I take her for a walk and give her water.

I am writing this post as my husband and I, along with Freckles, are traveling from south Florida to Buffalo, NY. Since the trip is 1365 miles each way, we will be staying in a motel overnight during our trip north.

It’s a good idea to plan your trip if you are planning on spending the night in a motel. We are choosing a point about halfway and I have researched motels in the area to see which one best suits our needs.

Find out what restaurants are near the motel you chose and you will be able to order takeout food before you go to the motel. I find this to be the easiest way since you can’t leave your dog alone.

When we stop at the motel is when I will feed Freckles. The first thing I do is set up her food and water bowls. She will sniff around the room first and then she will eat. While she is sniffing we will be eating our food.

After everyone is fed, we will all take a long walk and stretch our legs for a while. If she still has energy, we will play with her until she tires and lays on the bed. We will watch a little TV while relaxing and get a good rest before the next day of driving.

Your dog may not travel by car as well as Freckles does. Below are some things you should do and things you should not do.

What to Bring

Below is a list of things you should bring along on your trip with your dog.
• Collar or harness and leash
• Paper towels
• Bags to clean up after your dog when walking
• Water bowl, water, food bowl, food, treats
• Travel harness or crate
• An old sheet to protect your car seats

If you will be spending the night, also bring along bedding and toys. Bringing along some of your dog’s things will make them feel more comfortable.

I always take a cooler and ice also, but this is optional. I place water bottles and drinks inside. It’s nice to give your dog a cool drink of water instead of warm water, especially during hot weather.

Things to Avoid

dog in carSome dogs can get car sick just as people can. It’s best to have your dog travel on an empty stomach. Feed your dog 3 to 4 hours before you are planning on leaving.

A sick dog in your car can ruin a trip real quick, for you and your dog. I will give my dog a small treat after she takes a walk during the trip.

When you stop to take your dog for a walk and give them water, choose a quiet area as to not upset your dog. I find those rest areas are a good place to walk your dog. Most rest areas have very large grassy areas to walk your dog away from other people.


Make sure you choose a pet-friendly motel to stay in. You may want to call ahead and ask about restrictions they may have on pets. There are many national chains that are pet-friendly.

As you are driving up to the motel, look for grassy areas where you can walk your dog. I always ask for a quiet first-floor room close to an outside door if you can’t enter the room directly from outside.

Planning in advance can make your trip more enjoyable for you and your dog. Take breaks along the way and walk your dog for exercise because if you don’t they will be full of energy when you get to your destination.

Feel free to leave a comment or share a story about your dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.

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