Early measures can ensure health and happiness throughout your dog’s traveling career while helping you avoid some messy situations.

Ideally when he or she is still a puppy, get your pet accustomed to sitting in a stationary car. Then take very short trips, gradually increasing the length of each trip until your dog is accustomed to traveling in the car.

One option that you may consider before traveling is the use of tranquilizers or sedatives. However, many veterinarians have begun to find most pets travel better without sedation.

Sedatives and Your Dog
The American Veterinary Medical Association recently released a statement cautioning against the routine use of sedatives for traveling pets. Sedatives can have side effects that modify an animal’s ability to adjust to the physical demands of travel. They may even worsen undiagnosed medical disorders that are further aggravated by the stress of traveling.

Most tranquilizers and sedatives are effective only for a short period of time. For long trips, its best not to sedate your pet as the drugs will only work for the first part of the trip. If you’re still unsure, talk it through with your veterinarian, you’ll probably find that tranquilizers and sedatives should only be used in severe cases of travel anxiety.

Long Road Trips with Dogs

Extended periods in the car can make life on the road tough for your canine friends. Apply these suggestions to make your dog more comfortable.

  • Always carry lots of paper towels and some form of disinfectant with you, in case your dog does have an accident.
  • Take favorite toys or comforters along to provide some familiarity in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Make a habit of stopping every couple of hours for breaks.
  • NEVER leave your dog in the car for more than a few minutes during the summer months. Even with the windows down, cars can heat up very quickly causing heatstroke, brain damage or even death.
  • It’s not advisable to let your dog ride with its head out of the car window. This can cause eye irritations and other ailments. There is also the very real possibility that your dog could jump out or be hit.
  • A harness for your dog may well be a wise investment. Many harnesses attach to an ordinary car safety belt.

Dog-Friendly Car Rentals

Now comes the easy part of planning your trip. Most car rental companies are willing to allow the use of their vehicles for transporting pets. Contact your travel agent or call the car rental company directly. Most are likely to charge you a modest fee to cover cleaning costs.

The following is a list of national car rental companies and the phone numbers for their reservations desk:

  • Advantage Rent A Car
  • Alamo Rent A Car
  • Avis Rent A Car
  • Budget Rent A Car
  • Dollar Rent A Car
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Hertz Rent A Car
  • National Car Rental
  • Thrifty Car Rental

A Cautionary Note: The listings contained on this site are drawn from many sources. The information is presented to give pet owners a starting point in their search, NOT as a recommendation.