Top Tips For Stress-Free Travel For You And Your Dog

The journey to a boarding kennel like Penfield Kennels & Cattery can be stressful and upsetting for your dog if he's not used to travelling in your car.  Here are some top tips to keep your pooch chilled-out en route to his doggy hotel.

Travelling crates

The safest way for your dog to travel is in a special travelling crate in the back of your car.  If your dog is crated for his journey, he won't be able to cavort around the vehicle causing a dangerous distraction for the driver and risking injury to himself in the event that you have to brake sharply. 

A travel crate is essentially a large wire cage with a solid, waterproof floor and a door that opens to the front of the crate.  You can buy a canine travel crate from good pet stores, or your vet may be able to loan you one. 

For your dog's comfort, ensure that the crate is large enough for him to stand, sit and lie down in.  Remove collars and leashes while your dog is in transit in his crate.  Such items can present a dangerous choking hazard if your dog fidgets during the journey and a trailing lead becomes tangled.

Before embarking on the journey, allow plenty of time to familiarise your dog with his travel crate.  Don't just shove him in on the day of the trip!  Make going into the crate a game by using your dog's favourite toys to encourage him inside.  Leave the door open so that he can come and go as he pleases until he's relaxed and happy.  Reward your dog with a treat when he's inside his new crate.  It's also a good idea to make several short journeys around the block with your dog crated up in the car so that he's used to the experience before his ride to the boarding kennels, especially if you have to travel any distance to get there.

On the day of his journey, take your dog for a good, long walk before you crate him up.  If he's burned off any excess exuberance, he'll settle better for his car ride.

Dogs can overheat easily if they become stressed.  Make sure that your car isn't too warm by adjusting the air conditioning or cracking the windows slightly.


Dogs often get motion sickness when travelling in cars, especially if they're unfamiliar with the experience.  For this reason, it's important that you don't give your dog any food whilst he's in transit.  Give him a light meal four hours or so before you leave to reduce the risk of him vomiting while you're driving.  If you're concerned that your dog might get car sick, ask your vet for some anti-emetic tablets for him.  Remember to take one with you ready for your dog's return journey.

Similarly, give your dog the opportunity to relieve himself before you set off so that he's comfortable during the journey.  It's a good idea to invest in waterproof seat and floor covers for the back of your car, just in case of toilet accidents.  You can buy these at auto-retail shops.

Doggie travel kit

It's a good idea to assemble a basic doggie travelling kit to carry with you in your car when transporting your pooch.  This will cover you for eventualities like car breakdowns and traffic hold-ups, and may come in handy if you have a long journey to the boarding kennels.  Your pet's travel kit should include:

  • bowl
  • leash
  • bottle of fresh water
  • poop bags
  • medication
  • pet first-aid kit
  • favourite toys
  • food
  • flat collar with a tag bearing your telephone number
  • harness

In conclusion

With some careful preparation, your dog's car journey to the boarding kennels can be a safe and stress-free experience for all parties.  He'll arrive at his destination happy and relaxed, and you can then begin your holiday feeling the same!