riding in cars with dogsRiding in the car with your Golden Retriever

Many of our Wisteria Goldens family members have asked the best way to ride with their puppy and dog in the car.  We have created a Lifestyle Series to help our families and readers ensure their pets’ safe while riding in a car.
Here is a checklist of tips and cautions for scheduled trips, routines, habits, training, and important considerations to ensure the well-being of your travel companion.

Essential Equipment

When it comes to traveling with your dog in a car, consider investing in the following equipment:
1. Harness: Look for a harness designed to work with your seat belts. This will help secure your dog and prevent them from moving around excessively during the journey.
2. Carrier: If you prefer using a carrier, ensure it is secured with a seat belt or a dedicated mounted support system. This will keep your dog safe and prevent the carrier from shifting or tipping over during sudden stops or turns.
Visit your local pet supply store and ask knowledgeable staff members about the available carriers and harnesses suitable for car travel. Treat this as an opportunity to gather information and determine the best equipment for your specific dog. Keep the following factors in mind when making your selection:
1. Weight Limit: Check the weight limit of the carrier you are considering to ensure it is suitable for your dog’s size and weight.

2. Anchoring Method: Understand how the equipment will be secured in the car. Will it use your seat belt, a harness, or both?

We’ve used this harness and tether while traveling with our dogs and puppies: Kurgo No Pull Harness

Planning and Considerations

Before embarking on a car journey with your dog, consider the following dynamics and plan accordingly:
1. Time of day: Consider mealtime and naptime to minimize disruptions to your dog’s routine.
2. Weather: Consider the weather conditions for the day, such as heat, cold, rain, or wind, and make necessary adjustments to ensure your dog’s comfort.
3. Destination: Prepare for the destination by packing any essentials your dog may need, such as food, water, bedding, and toys.
4. Trip Duration: Depending on the length of the trip, whether it’s minutes, hours, or days, plan for different expected circumstances and ensure you have the necessary supplies and breaks for your dog.


Proper training and socialization are crucial to prepare your dog for car travel. Follow these training tips to familiarize your dog with the sensations they will experience:
1. Visualize New Sensations: Imagine the various stimuli your dog may encounter during the journey, such as movement, sounds, and visual stimulation. Gradually introduce and replicate these sensations in a controlled environment before traveling.
2. Start with Short Trips: Begin with short practice trips to acclimate your dog to the car. Gradually increase the duration and distance to prepare them for longer journeys.
3. Plan for Breaks: Remember to schedule regular breaks during longer trips, allowing your dog to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and have a break from riding in the car.

Establishing Habits

Establishing a routine is essential when introducing any new activity into your lifestyle. Create a habit around the following steps to include your dog in the preparation process:
1. Retrieve the harness and put it on your dog.
2. Put on your shoes and gather any necessary items.
3. Get the car keys and ensure everything is ready for departure.

Remember: Safety and Health Come First

1. Never Leave Your Pet Alone and Unrestrained: Avoid leaving your pet unattended and unrestrained in the car. There are potential dangers, such as pets accidentally knocking the car out of gear.
2. Avoid Leaving Your Dog in a Hot Car: Cars can heat up quickly, even during spring weather, when temperatures may seem comfortable outside. Always prioritize your dog’s comfort, health, and safety.
By following these guidelines and utilizing the appropriate equipment, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable car travel experience for you and your dog. Prioritize their well-being, make informed decisions, and cherish the time spent together on your journeys.

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