Skip to Main Content

Skipped to Main Content

Riding in cars with dogs

Published on 17 May 2021

Golden Retriever Dog with Car Harness and Vehicle Hammock

If you’re bringing home a young pup or a dog that has never been in a car before, it can be a stressful experience for them. Start slow and increase the duration of your car rides as your dog gets more comfortable.


  • A harness or carrier can help contain your pet so they are not a distraction to the driver, and lessens the chances of injury for you and your pet. Start by introducing the harness or carrier at home, with lots of positive reinforcement.
  • Young and older dogs may be hesitant to jump in or out of the car. Consider a pet ramp or lifting them in and out of the car if you’re able to.
  • Never leave your dog unsupervised in the car on a warm day, even with the windows open.

Getting going

  • Once your dog is comfortable with your selected safety restraint, try it out in the car with the engine off, making it a positive experience with treats and praise.
  • Start the engine and continue this process without going anywhere.
  • Go for a short drive around the block, or shorter if needed, continuing to give treats and praise. You will need another person to drive or be with the dog for this step.  If your dog is showing signs of distress, go back a step until they are comfortable to progress again.
  • Gradually increase the length of the drive until your dog is comfortable hopping in and out of the car and is excited to see where the next adventure is!

Don’t forget…

  • Food and water! Having access to clean water and a bowl, no matter the length of the drive, is always a good idea. It is best not to feed your dog before a big drive, but consider taking a portion of food for when you arrive.
  • Frequency of toilet breaks depends on your individual dog. Young and older dogs may need more frequent breaks. Consider stopping every couple of hours for a leg stretch and toilet break. Don’t forget your dog waste bags!

Helping your dog to enjoy car rides opens up new opportunities for adventures and makes Vet visits and the like smoother and less stressful. Find what works best for you and your pooch to enjoy the ride!

Terms, conditions, waiting periods, limits and exclusions apply. is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and is promoted and distributed by PetSure’s Authorised Representatives (AR) Pet Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 38 607 160 930, AR 1234944 and Pet Culture Pty Ltd ABN 69 644 613 098, AR 001284860. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at .


Ilsa is a qualified dog trainer with her own business focused on helping dogs live a happy and fulfilled life.

Ilsa Ford Foreman


Ilsa is a qualified dog trainer with her own business focused on helping dogs live a happy, fulfilled life and improving the bond between dogs and their families. Bailey is her 6 year old border collie x kelpie who loves exploring and activities and helping with Ilsa’s business.

Ilsa Ford Foreman's Pets

  • Ilsa Ford pet ailey raising her Paw.Bailey

Sign up to our newsletter

For exclusive offers and promotions, the latest expert pet advice and 15% off your next order (maximum discount of $20)!

We care about keeping your personal data safe. View our Privacy Policy here to learn more.