How To Travel With Both a Dog and a Baby in a Car

Traveling with a dog and a baby can be a lot of work. It’s crucial to find a way to keep you, your passengers, and your pet safe while driving. If you’re traveling a long distance, you’ll need to figure out how to arrange your bags, luggage, and other items in the car as well.

To travel with a dog and a baby in the car, you’ll need to try the following:

  1. Get your dog used to riding In the car.
  2. Decide where your baby and dog will sit.
  3. Lay your seats down, if possible.
  4. Put your dog in the back.
  5. Put your dog in the backseat.
  6. Crate your dog.

As you adjust to life with a new baby, your car rides will be a lot different as well. Luckily, there are several options and safety devices to keep your pet and baby safe in the car together.

1. Get Your Dog Used to Riding in the Car

One of the best things you do to create a peaceful car ride with both kids and animals is to get your dog used to riding in a car. You can get your dog acquainted with car rides by taking him on trips often. Try to put your dog in the car as much as possible to reduce your pet’s anxiety while traveling.

Many people take their dogs on small errands throughout the day to help their animals adjust to car rides. Make car rides a positive experience for your dog by offering treats and taking him to fun locations. The more your dog is used to riding in the car, the more smoothly it will go when you put your child in the car as well.

2. Decide Where Your Baby and Dog Will Sit

Knowing where your dog and baby will sit beforehand can make traveling less stressful as you attempt to pack your car. Don’t let your dog just hop in the car. Create a designated space for your animal that’s safe for you, your baby, and your pet. Calm and well-trained dogs might do well roaming freely in the backseat. Other times, you might need to secure your animal away from your child, particularly if you have a newborn or a rowdy animal.

If you’re pregnant and anticipate you’ll be traveling with both your dog and the baby in the car, then it’s essential to get your dog used to his new space in the car. Likely, your dog won’t have a free roam of the backseat anymore once the baby comes, so it’s beneficial to adjust your dog beforehand so that you can minimize problems later.

Go for a Ride With Your Dog in His New Seat

Identify where your dog will sit when you travel together, and make that space available to your dog. Allow your animal to sit and lay in that new space when you get in the car. You can encourage your dog with treats if need be. Allowing your dog to familiarize itself with its new territory will make a smoother transition when the new baby takes his old riding spot.

Once your dog becomes familiar with his new seat, start putting him there when you ride. Practice riding how you would when the baby comes to get your dog used to the new riding experience. You can keep the windows rolled up or adjust your car’s radio or your speaking volume in the vehicle.

3. Lay Your Seats Down, if Possible

If you have multiple rows in your car, laying the seats down can create more space in your vehicle and give your dog more room to move around or settle down. Putting the seats down increases the trunk room in your car, and you can store strollers, bags, and other necessities on top of the seats.

4. Put Your Dog in the Back

Putting your dog in the back is a good option if you can spare the extra room. Some people need that area to store a stroller and other large items, but if you can manage to put those in the back seat of your car, then the back area can be a safe and effective place for your dog.

Dog Car Barriers for the Back

You can put your dog directly in the back of your car, or you can put up a dog car barrier to add additional separation between your dog and your baby in the backseat. A barrier is a viable option if you’re concerned about your dog crawling over the back seat or jumping up and disturbing your baby.

Barriers come in various materials, including net, mesh, and wire. A wire barrier is a secure option that prevents your dog from intruding in your driving space or the backseat where your child is.

This rabbitgoo Dog Car Barrier (available on Amazon.com) is a suitable option for those traveling in large cars or SUVs. This barrier acts like a fence or a baby gate, and you should place it on the rear headrest to keep your dog away from children in the backseat. This sturdy dog barrier is easily installed without tools and is highly durable, and effective for large or strong dogs.

Cargo Liners for Your Car

Many people use a cargo liner when housing their dog in the trunk of their car. A car liner protects the car’s interior and covers obtrusions that aren’t safe for your dog. It also offers a comfortable space for your dog to relax and reduce car anxiety.

5. Put Your Dog in the Backseat

If your dog is comfortable with your baby, the backseat might be a safe place for both your pet and your child. If you choose to put your dog in the backseat with your baby, you have several options.

You can lean the seat back that your dog will be riding in so that he has more room to lie down, move around, and be comfortable. Or you can purchase car safety items like dog seat belts, hammocks, or car seats.

Dog Seat Belts

If you don’t feel comfortable with your dog freely roaming in the backseat with your baby in the car seat, you can purchase a dog hammock, car seat, or seat belt. Dog seat belts limit your pet’s movement in the backseat.

These seat belts restrict your pet from climbing into the front seat, intruding on your driving space, or even disrupting your child. A dog seat belt is flexible enough so that your dog can sit, lie down, or stand in the seat. Your dog will need a harness to use a dog seat belt. You can attach most dog seat belts to your pet’s harness to keep them still in the car.

This three-piece COOYOO Dog Seat Belt from Amazon is retractable and adjustable from 22 to 31 inches (55-78 cm) so that you can fit it to your dog’s unique proportions. The seatbelt comes with a fastener that hooks directly into your car’s seat belt and is guaranteed to suit all types of vehicles. It also features an elastic buffer that keeps your dog from choking in case of sudden stops or sharp turns. It’s available in 10 different color combinations, allowing you to match the color with your car interior or your dog’s preferences.

Backseat Hammocks for Dogs

If you have multiple rows in your car, a dog hammock might be an excellent choice for your furry friend. You can put your child in the second row of your vehicle and the hammock in the back. A car hammock not only protects your car’s interior from scratches, pet hair, and damage, but it also acts as a natural barrier in your car to keep your animal from climbing throughout the vehicle.

This PetSafe Happy Ride Seat Cover from Amazon is a great option. The hammock is waterproof and machine washable, making it perfect for spills, drool, and even potty accidents. The hammock has two storage compartments where you can stash your dog’s toys and necessities. All you have to do is slide it over your car’s headrests and anchor it to the seat.

Dog Car Seats

Dog car seats can be a significant space-saver for those traveling long distances or with many bags and luggage. There are many different types of dog car seats. Some car seats look like dog beds, others are similar to cardboard boxes, and some are booster seats for small dogs.

If you have a smaller dog, a booster seat can save you a lot of space because many attach to the headrest and offer space underneath the booster seat that you can use for storing bags or luggage. An elevated booster seat also puts your pet in your line of sight, allowing you to easily see what your dog is up to in the backseat.

This MARSLABO Dog-Car-Booster-Seat (available on Amazon.com) is like a cozy little box for your dog. This booster seat has a collapsible metal frame and adjustable straps that attach over the headrest and latch behind the seat for extra security. Your dog will stay cozy in this car seat because it has a double-sided pad and a removable plush liner. This booster seat is ideal for dogs up to 25 lbs (11 kg) and is a great way to keep your dog and baby in the backseat.

This Vamtnner Dog Car Seat from Amazon is an excellent option for bigger dogs or two small dogs. This car seat comes with an adjustable seat belt to secure your animal during car rides.

The car seat suits dogs while sitting, standing, or lying down. It has a high-density sponge that reduces the impact of bumpy roads and makes car rides smoother for your animal. This car seat is great if your dog is used to being around your child so you can keep them close together.

Dog Car Barriers for Your Backseat

Try this DYKESON Pet Barrier (available on Amazon.com) for a more flexible option. Well-trained dogs and older babies might do well riding in the back seat together. If you want to give your dog some more room in the backseat, then this net barrier is an excellent option.

The net barrier is multi-functional. You can use it to divide the back and front seats to keep your dog from hopping in the front seat or intruding in your driving space. Or, if you want to separate your child from your animal in the backseat, you can divide the left and right seats of the car.

6. Crate Your Dog

Depending on your travel time and your animal’s temperament, you might need to crate your dog. Crating your dog might save space if you’re traveling with many bags, boxes, or luggage.

Instead of letting your dog roam freely in the trunk or backseat, you can put your dog in a crate while you travel and use the extra room for storage. Crating your dog is also beneficial if your pet suffers from travel anxiety. A crate can act as a familiar space for your dog, so they feel safe and secure.

If your animal is rambunctious or rowdy, crating might be the safest option for both the dog and the baby. You can put the dog’s crate next to your child’s car seat or in the trunk of your car. If your dog tends to suffer from separation anxiety, setting your animal’s crate next to your baby might be an effective solution. Crating your dog beside your baby can help your dog feel close to the family and reduce symptoms of separation anxiety.

Final Thoughts

When traveling with a baby and a dog in the car, you’ll most likely need to purchase additional safety items such as a dog barrier, dog car seat, seat belt, or car liner. These tools effectively keep your animal safe while giving him the freedom to move around.

Putting your dog in the trunk is another viable option for traveling. Laying the seats down or using a crate or dog booster seat can help save space when traveling with large items such as strollers, bags, and luggage.

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