Travelling With Your Pet

Bob drove to work every day with his bud Spot, a Jack Russell Terrier. Spot loved to sit on Bob’s lap to look and sniff out the window, but never really had an interest in sticking his head out– like most dogs.

One day something must have caught Spot’s eye because he suddenly jumped out the window! Bob was able to reach out and grab Spot, unfortunately by the ‘fat pad’ on his behind, and hang on to him while he corrected the vehicle and pulled to a stop.

Thank goodness both were ok, but for every trip after that, Spot travelled in a carrier in the back seat. There are plenty of ways to keep your pet safe in the vehicle whether going to the park for a jog, the pet store for a new chew toy, or a 2-week camping trip.

Lots of people travel with their animal loose in the vehicle, not thinking about a possible accident. I, for one, am a firm believer in “IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.” Sure, you’re the best driver you know, but what about every other driver out there…

To help keep your pets safe there are many forms of restraint; a carrier, seatbelts, a guard to go across the back of the SUV.

If you’re going to use a carrier, it does help to strap it down. Either bungee cords or a ratchet strap can keep it securely in place, this way it won’t jostle around in the case of an accident. Seatbelts are another great way to keep your pet in place, and if they’re larger dogs they can still see out the window. There are also booster seats for your little furry friends, so they too can still see out the window.

It’s also a good idea to check on your local municipality by-laws for travelling with your pets. There are plenty of restrictions out there, know what’s safe and legal. Some dogs do like to nap in the car, others can get quite stressed. If your pet is the anxious type and won’t settle no matter what, you can always see your veterinarian to discuss items available to help calm them for trips in the car.

Toys are a great way to keep your pet busy while travelling! Though, likely nothing that squeaks- no matter how much they beg you for their favourite squeak toy! You don’t need that while you’re driving. Using a Kong with peanut butter is a great way to keep their minds busy too. It’s also helpful to take them for a long walk, or play ball before getting them into the vehicle, making them a little tired first doesn’t hurt anyone. Rewarding them for travelling is another tip to make it easier. Whether it’s a treat just for going to the park or a 5-hour drive- always give a reward once you’ve reached the destination- and water, keep water handy to give your pet when you reach your destination or take a break to stretch your legs.

Having your pet’s vaccinations up to date is essential, especially their Rabies vaccine. Rabies itself is in Ontario and is a zoonotic disease – it can be transferred to humans. As well, you need their rabies vaccination current to travel to the U.S.A.

Microchips are also a great idea if you’re travelling with your pet. In case you have a ‘Spot’, or a wanderer. If they get away from you and someone finds them and takes them to a local shelter or veterinary clinic, they will be able to call you immediately to let you know where to pick up your furry friend. You can get a microchip anytime at your local veterinary clinic. For more information on microchips visit

Lastly, a great idea to help keep your pet healthy and safe is to have a Pet First Aid Kit in your vehicle at all times. Just like us, accidents can happen. Click on the link here for a free list of items that are handy to have just in case.

Written by Amanda Chamberlain, Animal Care Attendant