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Traveling with Pets: Tips that will help keep your pets safe

How to keep your furry friends safe and happy, and your vehicle fur-free!

Reflection of a golden retriever in the driver's side mirror of a car


Traveling with pets in your vehicle can be a tricky balancing act whether you are taking Fido to run an errand, bringing Garfield to see the family over the holidays, or toting the whole gang on a roadtrip.  Whenever you’re traveling with pets, you should always make preparations for your pet’s comfort and safety.

Many of our staff members have pets of their own, so we asked them for their best tips for traveling with pets!


When pets are not properly restrained, they can roam the vehicle, causing a distraction. Some states even require that dogs are restrained during travel. Luckily, there are many options, including harnesses and restraints, pet carriers, and cargo barriers.

**Never let a pet ride in the front seat as they can be seriously injured or killed if an airbag deploys.**

James Mahoney's cute dog named Clark

James Mahoney’s dog, Clark

Runde Chevrolet salesperson James Mahoney uses this pet seat belt to travel with his two-year-old husky/lab mix Clark.

“I typically only use it if we are going out of town,” James says. “Otherwise he sits pretty well.”

It clips right into the seat belt buckle in his Chevy Colorado, and then connects to Clark’s harness.

“I read not to use it with a regular collar because if something happened, like an accident, it could hurt their neck,” James says.

Other options include a pet barrier, pet car seat, or travel crate, depending on the size of your vehicle and pet.

Never leave your pet unattended in the vehicle. On warm, sunny days, even with the windows cracked, a parked vehicle can become dangerously hot very quickly. And on a cold day, pets can experience hypothermia.


Provide a distraction when traveling with pets, like a favorite chew toy, for animals who are anxious about travel.

Identify dog-friendly restaurants, hotels, and dog parks on your travel route. If you are an OnStar subscriber, advisers can help you with finding pet-friendly establishments.

Tressa Miller, office manager at Runde PreDriven, packs food, treats, and bottled water in a puppy bag for her Basset Hound, Gunner.

Tressa Miller's basset hound named Gunner

Tressa Miller’s dog, Gunner

“With the truck, we fold the seat up and he lays on the floor,” Tressa says. “He has his own blanket so I throw that down for him.”

Sherri Peterson, an office staff member at Runde PreDriven, and her husband, Rod Peterson, process manager at Runde Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, have two Poochons and a Poodle: Buggers, Lucy, and Sadie. They often come along for trips in the couple’s GMC Acadia.

“Our dogs love to travel and we have been taking them everywhere we go since they were puppies,” Sherri said. “We have found that providing them with all the comfort of home helps them travel better. We have dog pillows for all the girls to lay on and we always bring treats for them.”

Sherri also recommends bringing along collapsible bowls, hand sanitizer, potty pads for emergencies or hotel rooms, medications, and it if is cold, a spare heat blanket and dog sweaters.


Photo of Sheri Peterson's vehicle when they're travelling with pets

Sherri and Rod Peterson’s dogs, Buggers, Lucy, and Sadie

And don’t forget the poop bags!

“A lot of places provide them, but a lot don’t — especially rest area dog walk sections,” Sherri says.

At your destination, be sure to keep your dog leashed while they explore the new location as they may feel uncomfortable and try to dart away.

Cleaning Up

As for cleaning up after a car ride? Sherri said a lint roller has worked better than a vacuum for removing dog hair from their car seats.

“We are lucky that our dogs don’t shed, but we do occasionally have a stray hair so we use a lint roller sold by CVS, the Total Home Giant Lint Roller for pet hair,” Sherri says.

Tressa has found that using a squeegee on the carpet of her truck to gather all the fur together makes it easier for her to vacuum it up.

Jessica Robbins' dog named Wilber

Jessica Robbins’ dog, Wilber

There are also options to reduce the amount of fur on carpeting, such as seat covers and floor liners.

Or you could take this advice from Jessica Robbins, finance manager at Runde Chevrolet Buick GMC in Platteville, who has a half beagle/half black lab, Wilber:

“Get leather seats — it makes dealing with dog fur on the seats so much easier,” she says.

This site has a wide variety of seat covers, pet barriers, cargo/floor liners, harnesses, ramps, hitch steps, and more.

Long Trips

Here are some other pointers for long trips traveling with pets from DMV.org:

  • Before a trip is an excellent time for a checkup at the vet.
  • Make sure your dog has its tags properly attached.
  • Pack all daily medications, if applicable, and, if headed into flea and tick country, ask the vet about one of the prescription preventives on the market.
  • Pack a favorite toy so they are never far from home.
  • If you have small kids, tell them to go easy on the dog while in the car.
  • When traveling with pets, stop often for quick stretches and bathroom breaks.
  • Pack plenty of food and treats and also make sure to fill water bottles with your home tap water. You can also purchase bottled water. Tap water from the places you visit may not sit well with the pooch.
  • Call ahead to make sure any hotels or motels you plan to stay at allow dogs.

There is also a wealth of information about traveling with pets at the American Veterinary Medical Foundation website.

Airplane Rides

Leaving on a jet plane with your furry companion? Do your research to know kennel restrictions, rules regarding checking pets and airline regulations for traveling with pets.

Here are some resources regarding flying with animals:

American Airlines pet regulations

Delta pet regulations

Allegiant Air pet regulations

Southwest Airlines pet regulations

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