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Top 5 Ways to Minimize Car Stress with Your Pet

The open road conjures feelings of freedom and possibility, but that isn’t always how the animals in the car feel about it. The prep work for traveling with your pet is as important to your success as the drive itself. Take advantage of our top five ways to have a safe and happy ride with your best four-legged friends. So, who wants to go outside?!

Keep Your Pets Secure

While it's not illegal to have a pet in your lap while driving in Texas, it's not recommended to let them sit with the driver or a passenger. The safest option is a securely-fastened kennel. Some drivers (and animals) may prefer tethers or other harness options, but nothing is as safe during the drive or a crash as a kennel, especially for cats. And, you’ll want to keep them in the back seat, as the front airbag could be dangerous upon deployment.

What to Ask Your Vet

Before the first time in the car with your animal, or after a trip that left with you with any questions, or before a long drive, ask your vet if you need to pay attention to anything or avoid any habits. If your pet is on a certain medication, make sure they can stay on schedule and get what they need. If your pet tends to lick their paws when they get nervous, or perhaps it’s a different nervous tic, talk with your vet about preventative measures you can take.

Keep Anxious Pets Calm

In addition to any nervous habits like licking or chewing, some pets’ anxiousness manifests itself vocally or in other physical ways. You can continue treat-training your dog when they are being good in the car, and you can make sure their kennel is lined with their bed or blanket and armed with their favorite toy(s). If you know that your pet could benefit from a prescription, talk with your vet about which one is best before heading out.

Take Breaks


Grab their collar, leash, and ID tags before hopping out of the car and be sure that you’re stopping enough to give them time to stretch their legs, take a break from any stress, and find a patch of grass. It may take you longer to get to your destination when you travel with a pet, but it’s worth it to arrive happy and healthy.

Additional Safeguards

Don’t let your dog(s) hang out of the window of your car, as this could lead to injuries related to any flying debris and/or sickness from too much air going into their lungs. Also, try to share the responsibilities with another person in the car. It will make breaks easier, as well as helping to keep an eye on them in the car. Remember never to leave your pet alone in the car either. There’s no way to control the temperature, their reaction, or the safety of your car when left alone.


If you or your pet are ready to talk about getting a new car for your adventures, apply for your doggone auto loan today at UFCU.org/MyAuto.