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Tips for Taking a Car Ride With Your Critters

gray kittens in carrying case

Traveling with pets can be a fun-filled experience – or utter insanity. Here are some directions from AAA for driving with your four-footed passengers.

Get Ready

To help prevent car sickness, feed your pet a light meal four to six hours before departing. Do not give an animal food or water in a moving vehicle.

Get Set

Proper animal restraints keep our pets secure in case of a crash. It’s best to restrain your pet in the back seat of the vehicle to protect it and other passengers in the event of a collision. Restraint options include harnesses and crates that can be strapped down.

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You shouldn’t let your pet stick its head out the window; road debris and other flying objects can injure delicate eyes and ears, and the animal is at greater risk for severe injury should the vehicle stop suddenly or be struck. Run the air conditioner instead of opening the windows, and make sure the airflow reaches your pet.

Never allow your dog to travel in the bed of a pickup truck. The animal might jump or be thrown out, and if harnessed, could be dragged along the road or the harness can become a noose. Avoid placing animals in campers or trailers as well.


Drivers should stop every two hours during a trip to stretch their legs and take a quick break from driving. Plan to visit a rest stop every two hours or so to let your pet have a drink and answer the call of nature.

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Be sure your pet is leashed before opening the car door, so it cannot unexpectedly break free and run away.

Never leave an animal in a parked car regardless of whether the windows are open. Even on a cool day, the temperature inside a car can soar to well over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, placing your pet at risk for heatstroke and death.

Do you have a funny or helpful story about taking a pet on a road trip? Tell us about it in the comments.

Find more useful information from AAA about traveling with animals and search for pet-friendly hotels and restaurants at AAA.com/PetTravel.

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