Driving with your new puppy is a daunting task, but by following these tips you can have a pleasant traveling experience with minimal risk to your new baby.
I just returned from a 15 hour road trip with my new baby, Rise. Over the years, I’ve learned some tricks for traveling with baby puppies. Thankfully Rise was the perfect driving companion!
Hopefully, the breeder has taken the pups for a few car rides so they are used to being in a car. If not, request that your breeder take the pups of a couple of short road trips.
Secure Your Puppy
When driving with your new puppy, safety should be your top priority. In many states, it’s illegal to travel with an unrestrained dog. Invest in a small kennel for your puppy. If you can’t fit a kennel in your car, a good seatbelt system can also work.
Put a couple of safe toys in the crate with your pup. I usually travel with a Snuggle puppy (a stuffed animal with a vibrating heartbeat) and some safe chew toys. Before we leave the breeder’s place, I will rub the Snuggle pup on the litter’s dam to comfort the pup on the way home. It’s likely your puppy will sleep the majority of the trip, but if he does wake up, having some self-entertainment will mean you can travel a little longer down the road.
Puppies do better with cooler temperatures and fresh air. Set your air conditioner to a slightly cool temp. If you don’t have good vents in the back, crack a window to ensure proper air circulation.
Avoid Common Dog Areas
When you stop to potty your puppy, don’t go to the rest stations because that’s where everyone potties their dogs. Remember that your puppy isn’t fully protected from common dog diseases, so you must keep the risk to a minimum. Find places where other dogs aren’t normally exercised. Often commercial areas will have places like banks with a lot of grass. A fast food parking lot surrounded by grass can also work in a pinch. If you potty the puppy while you fill up with gas, take him out of the way to a secluded area.
Sometimes hotel stays are unavoidable. Bring a crate with some interactive toys into the hotel room. Keep the temp in the room low. Do not allow your puppy to walk through the hotel lobby, hallways, or pet area. Instead, carry the pup in and out of the room. Find a completely separate place to potty.
Take frequent breaks from driving to give your puppy water and some exercise and entertainment. I let the puppy dictate when we stopped; when he started getting restless, I looked for a spot to exit.
Once you get home with your adorable bundle of fur, sign up for puppy class at Golden Paws Dog Training! Proper socialization is the best thing you can do to help your pup grow up to be a well-behaved confident dog. Want to learn more? Check out this blog on socialization!
I’ve driven to get all of my puppies, and journeys have been from 4-15 hours. With a little preparation and some thought, driving with your puppy can be a low-stress way to get your pup home!