Lurcher dog being strapped into a seatbelt in a car

Travelling with your dog by car

Car travel can be stressful for your dog, especially if they’re not used to it. The best thing to do is to slowly introduce them to the car to get them used to it. 

Training your dog to go in the car

  • To begin with, you should introduce your dog to the car in short bursts
  • Start by walking them by the car with the engine turned off and then on once your dog is okay, giving them treats to positively reward them for being calm. Avoid walking the dog around the back of the car, as the fumes will be too potent and right at their nose level. It’s best to turn on the engine once the dog is inside the car.
  • When you feel that your dog is comfortable being around cars, you should let them sit in a car with the engine off, again rewarding them for calm behaviour so that they learn the car is a nice place to be
  • Once your dog is comfortable in the car you can turn the engine on and start your first journey
  • Try to keep the first journey in the car as short as possible, taking no more than a 15 minute drive around the block to see how your dog deals with it
  • Once your dog is happy to go on short journeys, you can slowly build up the amount of time they spend in the car with you – from there, happy driving!


  • Start training your dog as young as possible
  • Pairing new experiences with something nice is always a great way to reinforce calm behaviour

Signs that your dog is unhappy travelling by car

If your dog displays any of the following behaviours, you should closely monitor them and make a decision on whether or not to remove them from the situation if the behaviour persists or increases: 

  • panting excessively
  • travel sickness
  • pacing
  • tail tucked between legs
  • vocalisation
  • lip licking
  • excessive yawning
  • ears back 
  • whites of the eyes show excessively 
  • paw raise
  • chewing the lead, which can be a stress reliever
  • displacement behaviour/distracting themselves using normal behaviours that they wouldn’t usually display in that particular situation. This can be things like excessive sniffing or scratching themselves.

Can I take my dog in a taxi or cab?

Every taxi company and driver will have a different stance on allowing pets in their vehicles. The best thing to do is to call your local company and to double check before you book that your pet is allowed.

If you live in an area where Uber or Addison Lee is operational, the mobile app used for booking will give you the option to choose a ‘pet-friendly’ cab. Alternatively you can call and ask them.


Every cab and taxi has to accept assistance dogs.

Safety and courtesy

If you decide to take your dog in a cab then you should take all precautions to ensure their safety.

This should include:

  • making sure your dog is secured by a harness or barrier and that there is plenty of ventilation
  • gently lifting your dog into the back of the cab with you (check whether the cab driver is happy for your dog to be on the seat or would prefer them on the car floor)
  • always carrying water for your dog
  • taking a clean blanket with you to place on the cab driver’s seat for your dog to lie on

Travel in the heat

Dogs should never be left in a car on a hot day, they will quickly become overheated and this can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety.

When travelling in the heat with you they should be monitored carefully.

More information on travelling with your dog in the heat.

— Page last updated 26/05/2023