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How to Travel With a Large Dog

Traveling is fun, but if you have pets, things can get a little more difficult. Traveling with a small dog might be quite easy however, the problems of traveling seem to increase as the size of the dog increases.

Traveling with a very large dog can be problematic, both for the dog and the humans. How to travel with a large dog, some great tips, is what we are here to discuss.

Traveling with a Large Dog

The Size of the Car Matters

One important consideration when traveling with a large dog is the size of the dog in question vs. the size of the car.

Simply put, if you have a large SUV, a station wagon, or a minivan, chances are that your dog will fit just fine no matter what kind of dog it is. That said, you probably won’t be fitting a Great Dane into a Mini Cooper.

Therefore, if you have a large dog and plan on traveling by car, the car better be big enough.

Now, if you have a small car and a large dog, instead of being able to put the dog in the rear or trunk, you may have to put the dog on the rear seat.

This then brings us to the next point of crates and harnesses for car travel, because a dog should never be allowed to roam free in a car.

Dog Crates and Harnesses

Going back to large dogs and small cars, if this is the case for you, you might not be able to fit a crate large enough to suit your dog inside of your small car.

Therefore, if you plan on fitting goliath into the Mini Cooper, you will want to use a dog harness for car travel. Dog harnesses for car travel are designed to hold your dog in place.

They look like normal dog harnesses which wrap around the chest and back of the dog, but can then also clip into the car seat.

The point of this is to stop the dog from wandering around in the car, and thus it is much safer. In the event of an accident, it will act as a seatbelt.

Now, if you have a large vehicle, you can always choose to go with a large crate. Just make sure that the crate is large enough for the dog to stand up in and turn around in.

However, that said, if you hit the brakes hard, the dog crate may fly into the seat, and the dog into the crate, which obviously is not ideal.

Therefore, if possible, when traveling by car with a large dog, go for a harness, as they are much safer and take up less room.

Of course, keep in mind that these harnesses are only effective when the dog is on the rear seat, but utterly useless if you have the dog in the rear of the vehicle.

How to Travel With a Large Dog

Watch the Food Intake

Something else that comes in handy when traveling with large dogs is to not feed them too much before traveling; this goes for both food and water.

Now, large dogs can hold their business in for quite some time, but still only for so long. If you feed your dog too much before embarking on the trip, it will have to do its business sooner rather than later.

If you feed your dog too much, it might end up doing its business in the car, and nobody wants that.

What is also the case is that large dogs often suffer from travel anxiety, especially when in a smaller car or even when confined to a crate.

If you feed your dog too much, all that food combined with travel anxiety, and God forbid motion sickness, can result in a pile of vomit. The larger the dog the larger the mess, so try to avoid this at all costs.

Plenty of Exercise

The next tip to follow when traveling with a large dog by car is to ensure that it gets more than enough exercise.

Generally speaking, the larger the dog the more exercise it requires on a daily basis. You don’t want to get up in the morning and put your dog in the car without any exercise.

A dog with plenty of energy is going to cause problems in the car, and it might also cause anxiety.

Of course, the larger the dog the bigger these problems will be. Therefore, especially with large dogs, ensure to give them plenty of exercise, good and high-paced exercise, before going on any sort of prolonged journey.

Harnesses and Muzzles

What you might also want to consider doing when traveling with your dog is to bring along special harnesses and/or muzzles.

The reason for this is because strangers often perceive large dogs as threats; large dogs are often seen as threats simply due to their size and for no other reason.

Now, you might know that your dog is friendly, but others do not. So, to avoid any arguments or confusion, you might want to harness and muzzle that big guy for trips.

It will help make life easier when you have to make pit stops with people around.

It’s All About Comfort

Something else to keep in mind is that large dogs tend to have a harder time getting comfortable than smaller dogs.

As an example, let’s take a look at the blanket, mat, or cushion you plan on bringing for your dog. Say if you have a very small dog, it will be fine with a small and thin blanket.

Small dogs don’t have much body weight, so a little bit of padding goes a long way.

However, large dogs need thicker padding and more support to be comfortable when being forced to lay on a hard surface. Therefore, a big dog not only needs a large blanket, but something relatively thick too.

Climate Control

The other thing you want to think about for large dogs is climate control, especially if you have a dog with a thick coat.

Dogs, just like people, need to be comfortable. Therefore, if you are traveling during a time of year when it can get hot outside, you will want to turn up the AC a bit and keep a breeze going in the car.

Large dogs can quickly overheat, and not only is that unhealthy, but nobody wants to hear that loud panting for hours on end.


At the end of the day, how you travel with your dog tends to be more important than what kind of dog you are traveling with.

It might be more convenient and easier to deal with if you have a mini poodle, but the basics are the same no matter the type and size of dog.

Make sure the dog has enough room so it isn’t cramped in, and make sure that it is safe and secure.

Try to provide plenty of exercise and cut back on feeding before the trip too. Also, try to keep your dog comfortable.