Dog Tested. Dog Approved.™ Tips for Driving with Dogs

I have been traveling a lot lately, and with that comes traveling with the two pups, Teemo & Raynor. They are a huge part of our little family, and we love being able to bring them along on vacation. Subaru has a lot of dog friendly car tips in their new campaign which inspired me to write about some of my own. They have a little Facebook app with helpful tips for choosing a car specifically available here, but these are my tips for actually getting them on the road with you!

Learn Your Dog's Style
Teemo is a lap dog / needs to be with the humans. Raynor is a backseat sleeper. My mother in law's dog panics and does circles on the passenger seat floor or is in a crate. Each dog will be different - try a few short trips with your dog before a long trip, maybe to a far away dog park, so see where they do best in the car.

Lint Rollers / Mini Vaccuum
Let's talk about how TERRIBLE our car looks after we drive in it with Teemo. Our Fiesta looks like we sheared a sheep in the front seat with all the corgi fur across it. This tip is so true but easy to forget - this little Subaru video bring it up - this is totally how I am EVERY time I get out of the car with Teemo. Dogs shed - and it isn't so easy in the car!

Use Dog Beds as 'Car Seats'
We take a nice bolster stlyle dog bed from Frontgate (I used to work there and got stuff on the outlet since it was a few steps away from my cubicle) and use it as a sort of car seat for the dogs. It helps Raynor stay stabilized and in one spot, and it keeps Teemo on even ground and from running around the car.

-65 : it's a rough life in the baglehood

Keep Stops To a Minimum
One of the main reasons you never find me coming back with photos taken at scenic overlooks or cool places off the road is because we love our dogs, and that's not what is best for them.  Keeping stops to a minumum means less stopping and going, and less getting excited and worked up. Our pup does very well if she can stay on smooth drives and sleep for longer, then get a nice walk and potty break every 4 hours. Any drives like Cincinnati to Akron where we can make it in one fell swoop, we do.

-92 : asleep at the wheel

Water / Food
This is ALL depending on your dog. For Teemo, I would bring along snacks he could eat with me (like puffed rice or something) and feed him with me so he wasn't starving by the time we got there. I also brought along water and maybe a bone for him, keeping the water in a specialized pet bottle like this one. For Raynor, any food or water makes her sick, like the bad way that ruins your car sick. So for Raynor, it's no food until we get there, and minimal water towards the end. Depending on your dog, you will know whether or not to feed them while in the car, but having a pet water bottle is great for a long trip.

Let Your Dog Influence Your Car
Subaru does a really god job of selling cars to dogs. I love this commercial where their sales guy Grant sells to the dogs instead of the humans - it's really brilliant ad quite funny. Seriously though, there are definitely some things I wish I would have considered more in choosing a car, but alas, things come up you wouldn't have thought of.  I suggest really looking into flat folding seats, gear shifts that have a button you have to press in order to change gears in automatic cars, and windown up/down buttons that are not easily accessed by dog paws.

peek a boo

I hope these help for those of you who travel with your pets. I wish I could give tips on cats, but since we are allergic and I've never owned one, I'm not a good resource! Guinea pigs though are easily to travel with - we've brought our two up and down the coast a few times now. Just pick up their cage (or travel cages as we used to have) and put them in the car.

This post was written on behalf of Subaru. While I received payment for this post, the opinions and ideas expressed are my own. For more information - read the disclosure of this blog.


  1. My dogs get nuts in the car...they just can't contain their excitement! The only time they're well behaved is if it's on the way home from the dog park after they've run around. I've tried the doggy seatbelts (that hook into their harnesses) but they often get tangled up.

    The Tiny Heart
    Necklace Giveaway!

  2. I don't have dogs, but my mom does and I'll be sure to pass these tips along to her! xx

  3. Huh, interesting! All our dogs like car trips and behave pretty well, though, admittedly, we don't usually do 8+ trips. Our terriers have my parent's back area to play in, but usually go to sleep after about twenty minutes in the car. They like to be walked and taken out a bit but are fine waiting in the car too. My boy's dog, Maxloves to come because it gets him on adventures. We have to take him out periodically because he gets antsy.

    I'd never thought of dogs having different travel styles so I'll have to take that into consideration now.

  4. Our basset Cheese does great in the car, in the backseat. But he's not a fan of my Camry. He likes to lay on the edge of the seat and rest his chin on the front arm rest, but in my Camry there's too much leg room for humans and he can't comfortably reach the arm rest (his neck isn't quite long enough). He gets noticeably grumpy about this and pouts.

  5. Dawww!! Cute sleepy puppy faces.

    We have a Subaru Impreza and a Pit Bull. Tiny car, big dog. Snow (our pup) is really good in the car. He gets super excited at first and likes to look out the window for a while, and then will just curl up in the back seat and sleep for hours - waking up occasionally to check on us. Our last car was pretty big, and with the smaller car, he's much closer to us and will gladly rest his head on my husband's shoulder while he's driving.

    The only problem we have is his shedding. He's all white and sheds like crazy. Our entire interior is dark grey and black so we have to cover the whole back sheet. We use a queen size sheet and then put a canvas-type seat cover over top of it. It's a hassle - it takes about 20 minutes to get the whole setup done. But Snow's happy face in the car ride is so worth it.

    I made a blog post about taking him to the park (in our current car) - and you can see just how close he is to us when riding:

    - Rewynd

  6. Aw, this is a great post! I've always had dogs that love to be in the car and are just happy to sleep in the back seat.

  7. My dog is a bad traveler but since being with Izzy it's easier because he has Izzy's dog with him too. They usually just hang out in the backseat with a blanket and some toys and they're good to go. And thank goodness neither of them sheds, that would drive me nuts!

  8. What a fabulous post! I really think that is amazing of Subaru to take the time to do such a great thing with dog tips! Thanks so much for all your tips too! I always feel I learn so much from your blog!


  9. When travelling with dogs a lint roller is a must! Also, in the "Subaru Dog Tested: Last One," the dog in the video looks just like my dog Joker.

    ♥ Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

  10. I'm lucky I can lock the window buttons. Lilly rolled them down one to many times for my comfort!

  11. I'm lucky that my god loves car rides, and I agree that lint rollers are a must have.

  12. Great post Katherine! I also love the last picture of Teemo, so cute! My dogs don't get into the car too often but they tend to be well behaved. I never thought of using their beds as car seats, great idea!



    Southern (California) Belle

  13. Great tips! If my dogs look at my car it ges dog hair in it! Hahaha! Camping with them, although fun, is a nightmare because of all the FUR!!
    Hope you had fun on your trip!!

  14. Great tips! If my dogs look at my car it ges dog hair in it! Hahaha! Camping with them, although fun, is a nightmare because of all the FUR!!
    Hope you had fun on your trip!!

  15. This is a really useful post. Now I just wish I had a puppy to put these tips to use. haha

  16. great tips!! currently don't own a dog, but we do have a subaru! cool! :D

    Click me for my NEW BLOG

  17. Your dogs look so cute! My dog likes car rides, but he's a nightmare in hotels...

  18. I love that Subaru has tips for dog owners - but yours from real experience are even better. Those photos are too cute :)

  19. Very helpful tips! I need that lint remover because we have 2 dogs and 5 cats roaming around the house and there's not a day I won't see a feather on my clothes! I want those buckled booties! ^◡^

    P.S. How about following each other? ^◡^



  20. your pup is just way too cute. I wish I had one just like that running around my place :)

    Lady à la Mode

  21. Great tips :) But I would add one: the dogs, or at least the most active one must be arrested with a special leash for cars. For example, I have an Yorkie, and when she was very young she wouldn't stop on the car, she wanted to go to the front, then to the back, and so on. But there is danger if the animal is little as she was and try to get to your feet or lap while you are driving. But is as you say, know you dog style. I know my cat style, he loves go at the window, see the street passing by.... like a dog :)


  22. Great tips! I usually travel for work, so will have to keep this in mind when I travel for leisure with our dog. :) Happy weekend.

  23. oh, how cute is this post?! your puppy is beyond words to describe! :) i am a cat lady myself, and have never taken my cats in the car with me (except in a box.. with lots of tape and holes because they are very scared!)

    lindsey louise

  24. Your doggies are so cute! These are great tips, we don't have any dogs but hopefully we will someday and I'll definitely keep these in mind!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  25. Sooooo cute~ Aw this makes me miss my dog!


  26. Loving the pics, these Subaru posts are fun!

    Corgi On!

  27. I wish they had those Subaru adverts over here, my mum would probably have bought her car based on them haha!


Thank you for visiting and reading this post! We're excited to read your comment - and even if we aren't always able to get back to you, we read these together. Definitely feel free to hit us up on Twitter also - @kmuchadoo or @jamcadoo