View Full Version : Do you take long car trips w/your cav?

23rd May 2009, 02:49 AM
My sons and husband will be going to a tennis camp in Florida for two weeks this summer. I was thinking of taking Brian and going on a 7 day road trip while their gone, to the Tennesee mountain area. We'd stop for the nights at motels that accept dogs. But I'm wondering if driving all day with periodic stops to eat and stretch our legs may be too much for Brian. Its a dream of mine to someday drive across country with Brian.

I'm wondering if any of you have taken road trips with your dogs, and if so, do you recemmend it? Do they handle it well?

23rd May 2009, 10:16 AM
I havenít taken mine on a road trip. But when we travel up to Scotland itís a six hour journey. We have plenty of stops and once we get on the Motorway they all fall asleep.

Kate H
23rd May 2009, 10:26 AM
We've just spent a week camping in Northumberland. As I don't have a car, this involved a 9-hour journey each way using buses, trains and a couple of short taxi journeys. There were gaps when we changed trains or waited for buses, so that Oliver and Aled (and I!) could stretch our legs, but they had no problems about travelling for so long - just went to sleep (they are well used to travelling on public transport). I find Cavaliers are very philosophical - if nothing interesting is happening, they just switch off and go to sleep!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

23rd May 2009, 11:14 AM
My old dog Toby loved the car so much so that it was difficult to drag him past it when going for walks. He absolutely loved travelling in cars and handled 150 mile trips (with adequate exercise stops) no problem.
The UK is generally not dog very friendly so mostly it was day trips (often all day) or to cottages that we had hired in advance for a holiday.

23rd May 2009, 11:26 AM
lol i have the same with ruby she goes up to parked cars all the time on walks!! I dont drive but with friends rubes has been on short then long trips of around 4hours,lots of wandering,visiting family etc then 4hours back. she has always been absolutely fine except twice when she vomited after the car went over hills a bit fast-i guess it lurched her tummy.However she has never had this problem on motorways,she's usually fast asleep!

23rd May 2009, 11:59 AM
We just did a trip of 18days we camp, rather the use motels. There are always a few days that have a lot of driving. The dogs do fine in their Lookout car seats.


23rd May 2009, 01:09 PM
We drive from Florida to North Carolina (about a 12 hour drive) several times a year with the dogs. They sleep the entire time. I'm not going to tell you we've never had any problems, we have, but in general they love to go and settle right in. Let's just say Ollie has bouts of colitis and we had a flare-up incident in the car and had to stop for a very extensive poop clean-up. :eek:

23rd May 2009, 02:23 PM
We haven't taken long car trips, but I think Dixie would absolutely LOVE it. She, too, just loves being in the car and usually just goes to sleep. I definitely would take her.

23rd May 2009, 03:25 PM
I never have problems with my dogs on our 2 hour or 3 hour trips, but this summer will test out that answer for we are going on a day long ride to Texas. :eek:

23rd May 2009, 03:35 PM
My three love to travel with us. We've taken them to Indiana which is around 7 or 8 hours away, and Orlando which is about 6. They do just fine. If they see us pick up our keys, they race us to the car. Have a great trip ! :drivecar:

Brenda in SC
23rd May 2009, 05:28 PM
Love the carseat Chuck! Did you purchase it online?

We do trips to the beach (2.5 - 3 hrs) and Rudy does fine. He loves to go in the car, altho he would much prefer sitting on someone's lap than to be in a travel kennel. But he's happy as long as he's going!

23rd May 2009, 10:41 PM
Wow! Thanks for the replies! Now I'm really excited about this road trip! How lucky we are that cavs are such good travellers.

And I LOVE that carseat!

24th May 2009, 03:44 AM
I drove to and from Utah with Chelsea last fall about 9 to 10 hrs. Like the others she slept mose of the way. No problems stoped at about 3 or so hrs. She has a seat belt/harnes that I use in the back seat.

24th May 2009, 06:16 PM
We travel a lot with all five girls. We stop every 2 or 3 hours for a potty & stretch walk. The biggest problem we have had is that 2 of them had a bladder infection from not drinking enough water. For whatever reason they will not drink in the car. Now we carry bottled water, add some pedialyte and take them ino the trailer for drinks. :drivecar:

14th July 2009, 05:41 AM
I got my cav puppy the day after I graduated from college. The next week and a half we were on the road. I moved out of my place at school, loaded up and moved to my new job in New Mexico. It was 3 days of driving. We took our time going there. Once there, I moved in my new place and then left for a little trip to Park City, UT. That was another 8 hours there and back. Dutch did great. My breeder recommended turkey or chicken lunchmeat for on the road. I did that and gave him food. He slept most of the way.

Now whenever we drive to the park, he loves to sit in my lap. That is fine now since he is only 10 pounds. Sometimes he gets in the way and I have to keep him in the other seat.

He loves to ride in the car. He knows how to load up and he loves sticking his head out of the window. I am afraid he will fly away with his big ears!

I flew with him recently. I went ahead and and gave him the tranquilizer, only half of one each way. It was Acepromazine. It kind of messed up his eating pattern for the week but still behaved the same after a few hours.

14th July 2009, 10:54 AM
Now whenever we drive to the park, he loves to sit in my lap. That is fine now since he is only 10 pounds. Sometimes he gets in the way and I have to keep him in the other seat.

Welcome to the board :).

You have raised two really important, health and safety-related issues here. They are of real risk to your obviously much loved cavalier. :) I know you would never wish to put him at risk but he is truly at risk in ways many of us don;t think about but I'll explain why as I know you want Dutch with you for as long as possible! :)

First off: having a dog on a lap is a real danger -- to you, to your cavalier, and to others on the road (think in terms of a child being there!). It may well also be illegal as it is in many states. The problems are the same as holding a baby/toddler in your lap while driving.

First, if your airbag deploys your dog will be dead -- just as with small children, dogs should never be on the front seat, setting aside all other concerns. A dog can be crushed or decapaitated if the airbag went off, as has happened to babies and toddlers. A small cavalier would never survive the force of an airbag impact.

Also if a dog is on a lap the driver is unable to focus entirely on the road. If the dog moves around or climbs under to your feet your car could jam in acceleration or braking mode. I know of instances where both these things have happened, causing serious injury to the driver but obviously someone could be killed in a collision, including you. Also, if you have to brake suddenly (even at low speeds!), physics laws mean your dog will slam into the dash at crushing speeds or become airborne at same. A 10 lb dog in a collision at 35mph is thrown forward with hundreds of pounds of force! This is enough to decapitate you or passengers, or turn them into a vegetable on a head impact. Your dog will easily break its neck.

Also if you are in a collision or accident and the dog is loose it will likely run, with all the horrible possibilities after -- getting hit by other cars or running away being most likely. Also most emergency services in the US are trained NOT to go near a dog in a car accident unless safely crated! Which means an injured dog may end up left in the car in pain, instead of getting help.

The safest place to carry a dog is in a hard plastic crate that is belted into the back seat, or use a proper restraint harness in the back seat. There are lots of threads here on this and recommended products too that will keep you and your dog safe. :thmsbup:

There's good info on travelling by car with dogs here:


Part of which:

Use a safety harness, barrier, or crate to restrain your dog. If you use a crate, secure it so it doesn't slide around the car.

Some people think this is a bit obsessive, but think about what happens if you brake suddenly or crash. A restraint will:

Protect your dog, by keeping him from hitting the windshield or flying out of the car
Protect you and your passengers from being hit by a flying dog
Prevent the pile-up that could ensue if your dog flies out of the car and on to the road
At the very least, keep dogs out of the front seat, and definitely out of your lap. Not only can they distract you and cause an accident, small pups can be killed by a deployed air bag.

Also: http://www.kdbc.com/Global/story.asp?S=10022877

On tranquilizers -- most vets would never even consider administering tranquilisers to healthy flying animals. I have flown several times with my dogs, including transatlantic, and a crate trained dog is comfortable and quiet in transport. Tranquilisers are always a high risk and are only used in the most exceptional circumstances (eg a very ill and injured dog). In particular, tranquilizers are specifically warned against for flying for short-nosed breeds such as cavaliers by the American Vet Medical Association, and every good vet should know this.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in most cases, dogs should not be given sedatives or tranquilizers prior to flying. An animal's natural ability to balance and maintain equilibrium is altered under sedation, which can be dangerous when the kennel is moved.
Whether your dog is flying in the cabin or as a checked pet, he will be exposed to increased altitude pressures. This can create respiratory and cardiovascular problems for dogs which are sedated or tranquilized. Snub-nosed dogs (American Staffordshire Terriers, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Brussels Griffins, Bull Terriers, English/French Bulldogs, English Toy Spaniels, Japanese Chins, King Charles Spaniels, Lhasa Apsos, Pekineses, Pugs, Shar-Peis and Shih Tzus) are especially affected.

While sedation is generally not advised, the decision on whether or not to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet should be made by your veterinarian. If your veterinarian decides that tranquilizers are medically necessary, the name of the drug, the dosage, and how the drug was administered should be indicated on the dog's carrier.


I know many people don't realise they are putting their loved pet at risk as a tranquilizer might seem calming -- but is truly, not the choice to make. I'd change vets if this was a vet who recommended using a tranquilizer, because a vet should be the first person to warn against doing this and should be well aware that we could lose our pets or seriously injure them by using a tranquilizer. :(

14th July 2009, 12:49 PM
I always took Harry on long trips...the poor thing didnt know any different! AS it was always just the 2 of us, I had fantastic one sided conversations...id say anytime i was stuck in traffic people prob thought i was cracked :) Its great travellin with cavs tho..no arguments over the music, no naggin....enjoy and safe travels :)

14th July 2009, 03:27 PM
Ours have been on many long and short trips and always do very well. The longest of which was when we moved from California to Carolina. I'm sure he will do great on a trip to the mountains! :)

14th July 2009, 03:29 PM
As a point to the post about the colitis - we always travel with our dogs to my in-laws beach place and they do wonderfully in the car. We lay down a blanket, attach harnesses appropriately to seatbelts (ours have gotten too big for car seats), and watch the cav pile begin sleep and snore. There have been night trips that we haven't had to stop because they slept all the way through.

Now, about the colitis, we too have had that experience and now travel with an emergency clean up kit...when you travel just prepare for an accident. Our kit includes a gallon of water, a small bottle of soap/cleaning solution, a couple towels, plastic bags for dirty towels, and we keep it all in a plastic bin that a dog could sit in if needed.

We have only needed it twice (one time before we started carrying it :) ) but we also have a dog prone to having colitis flare ups.

14th July 2009, 05:40 PM
We ofter do a 4 hour car journey with Ellie, stopping half way. She love her crate in the car, and usually just sleeps the whole time:)......thank goodness for air conditioning..

15th July 2009, 04:21 PM
Not meaning to critisise but isnt it also very dangerous to let a dog stick its head out of car windows? I read somewhere that theres a danger they could get hit in the face at speed by any object you are passing ie;over hanging branches, sign posts etc. Doesnt bear thinking about

15th July 2009, 05:41 PM
Both of my dogs love the car. Most trips have been an hour or less one way. This weekend we are going on a five hour drive to my youngest's place. Mindy has done the drive before and done well (although she doesn't eat well when she is away) so hopefully Max will do as well. We will be able to stop and give them a break and a walk halfway there.

15th July 2009, 09:10 PM
:) Lucy loves being in the car and travelling: she is now just over one year old and has travelled to the west of Ireland, a journey of about six hours. With several stops en route she has been quite happy and spent much of the time curled up and sleeping.

16th July 2009, 04:16 AM
Anna traveled with us from Dallas to Galveston and back. It is a six hour drive each way and we typically stop twice. She was a dream. She sat in her bed the entire time with her harness on and a special attachment that I made that buckles into the actual seat buckle. It lets her move around but also keep her securely attached to seat should anything happen. It was a good idea.

Worst case senerio, buckle to seat belt in and then tie a rope from their harness to the buckle length wise with bowline knots and your good. Use a good rope!

Anna loved looking out the windows and if we were driving at low speeds or through a drive through, sticking her head partially out the window and smelling the world around her.

I've also read that it is bad for them, but because of the high speeds and their ears. I don't remember exactly what the vet told me, but it had to do with their ears being big and flappy.

Best of luck on your journey.:w**h**:

PS Anna is 5 months old.

16th July 2009, 10:49 AM
My lot are great in the car and they love it. One of mine freaks out up to about 5km away from the house (maybe 10-15 mins in the car) because he thinks he is going to the vet, but after this he is a dream. We usually stop every 2 to 3 hours to let them (and us) out to stretch their legs and have a drink. We also keep the back windows open a crack ot let air in and cool the cr down (even in winter, it's surprising how warm the car can get with co many bodies in it). They all just lie down and go for a snooze or have a look out the window. Every so often one fo them will try to get into the front (we keep them secured in the back seat) but generally they are brill!

We put towels on the back seat to protect them and bring plastic bags, poo bags, baby wipes and a few extra towels just in case there is an accident. Always better safe than sorry in these situations ;)

16th July 2009, 12:39 PM
We've driven with our dog for about 5/6 hours before, with about 3 stops and he was fine, he's just like a baby falls asleep straight away lol

maggeroni and cheese
30th July 2009, 07:13 PM
We take our sweet girl from Florida to Maine and home again every summer..She loves the car ! She cuddles with one of the kids in the back seat and sleeps most of the time. We stop periodically for walks etc...it's been great...can't imagine leaving her home.