Travel Safely with Your Dog

The picture I’ve added at the top of this post might fill your heart with nostalgic love, but for me it fills my heart with dread. As a former police officer I’ve seen far too many occurrences of heavy braking leading to broken hearts. You see, you don’t need to be involved in a serious (or even fatal) accident for your pet to suffer serious injuries when travelling in your vehicle. In the above photo, this unrestrained dog would have very little chance of survival in the event of an accident, even a minor one.

You wouldn’t let your children travel in your car unrestrained, so why should you let your dog? The normal response to this question goes something along the lines of ‘my dog likes to sit up / turn around / do the hokey pokey’.

We don’t let our children have a party / get up and down OR do the hokey pokey, so why do we let our dogs?

For me, I believe it’s simply a lack of education surrounding road safety. In fact, one of the first things that the Police Force will explain to all of it’s officers (when they attend road training) is that all items inside a vehicle should be secured. Why is that? Because in the event of an accident or even heavy braking, any loose items (including dogs) become potentially deadly projectiles. That’s right. Your unrestrained dog could cause you serious (even fatal) injury.


1. Crate your dog for travel. It’s little surprise that this is our number one tip. We sell crates, right? The reality is however, that a crate (any crate, it doesn’t have to be ours) is the safest option for your dog. Whether it is a five minute drive or you are heading from Sydney to Perth, we believe that crating is the safest way to travel. We do understand that many people feel bad about this. You personally wouldn’t want to be crated and humans tend to anthropomorphise where their dogs are concerned. We have dogs that we love and cherish too, but it’s important not to project your own feelings onto your dog. Most dogs don’t mind the crates, and some even feel safer when traveling inside one. We’ve even had some clients report a decrease in travel sickness by some canines when they are tucked safely inside their crate.

2. If you are 100% opposed to crating, then as a minimum, you should use a harness. Black Hound sells harnesses that have been crash tested in Germany by the same facility that tests child restraints. Most harnesses that are sold have plastic buckles / clips which are prone to breaking in the event of an accident or sudden heavy braking. The comparative monetary outlay for harnesses that have metal clips and protective padding is minimal compared to potential vet bills.

3. Allow your dog time to become accustomed to the crate. You may like to put some familiar bedding inside and a favourite toy. Keep your tone of voice and energy positive and allow your dog the freedom to go in and out of the crate as he pleases until he is comfortable. For your first trip hold off on feeding your dog for the day until he has been out in the car.

4. Ensure your dog has adequate ventilation and access to fresh water. Extra water if you are travelling some distance as some dogs can get an upset stomach from a change in water between different locations. Ice-Cubes (blocks) are a good way to control their intake of water, and are especially good if you can’t keep an eye on their water bowl (plane travel). A frozen drink bottle upside down in an airline crate will provide a steady source of water as it defrosts and through condensation on the outside of the bottle.

4. Don’t forget a spare lead and collar and, if you can afford one, there are a number of neat GPS tracking devices on the market. Perfect in the event that your dog escapes or goes missing in an unfamiliar environment.

5. Emergency travel kit. Here is a list of things we like to keep in our emergency kit. A record of microchip numbers, Purple Spray, a good organic Bug Spray, tweezers and petroleum jelly to remove ticks  (a piece of cotton if you are a confident tick remover), vet approved anti-histamines, a couple of spare towels, chux wipes and a packet of baby wipes. (Yes, we have owned a dog that loved to vomit every time we even looked at the car!) We always carry a flashlight – not sure if it’s a para-military habit or not, but it makes us feel prepared!

Other tips we like

Baking Soda – to help remove any urine stains from carpets

Packing tape, rubber gloves or a squidgee to help remove dog fur quickly from just about any surface

Finally, these tips will be of no surprise to people who care deeply about their dogs. At Black Hound we are very passionate about raising awareness surrounding the safety issues of travelling with your dog. We understand that not everyone has the available funds for suitable in car crating systems for their dogs. As a minimum, I really encourage people to use a crash tested harness. There are thousands of crashes every year, don’t let your pet become a statistic.

Please feel free to contact us anytime for any help or advice in regards to travelling safely with your pets. 

Shop Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *