Driving with Dogs: Essential Car Accessories

From visiting the vets to taking them on holiday, many of us travel with our canine counterparts in tow at least semi-regularly. But whether you’ve got a long-established car routine, or are new to having a pet passenger, there are some things you need to remember—and some accessories that’ll keep both of you safe and happy along the way.

We’ve put together a checklist of the essentials, so that you can check you have everything you need to journey worry-free. But first, here’s a recap of what’s allowed, and what’s not, when your Good Dog joins you on a drive.

The rules

A dog sitting in a car looking out the window

Image source: Andre Zanelatto via Unsplash

Are you allowed to drive with dogs in the car? Sure. Do you have to follow certain rules when you’re doing so? Absolutely.

The Highway Code doesn’t mince its words when it explains how to approach travelling with a pet. Rule 52 says:

“When in a vehicle, make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
TL;DR: dogs can’t have free rein when you’re driving them around.

And there are two important reasons for this.

① Avoid distraction

Even a calm animal can react to something unexpectedly, and one moment’s distraction on the roads can lead to a serious accident. If you’re the culprit of a careless or dangerous driving incident, you might be fined, have points added to your licence—or worse.

② Limit potential injury

We invoke seatbelt laws in order to stop ourselves flying forwards if we crash; it's the same case for dogs. Even breaking sharply, or taking a corner a little too quickly, could see your dog hurtle through the car and hurt themselves or others in the vehicle.

You should:

Keep your dog secured, ideally in the boot or backseat

Feed them a couple of hours before the journey

Stop regularly on long journeys for comfort breaks

You shouldn’t:

❌ Allow your dog to overheat (use cracked windows, air con and water to avoid this)

❌ Let them hang their head out the window (where they’re at risk of being hit by debris)

❌ Leave them unsecured while you drive

Driving with dogs: car accessories checklist

Safety first

You’ve got a few options when it comes to complying with the regulations, keeping your attention fully focussed on the roads, and ensuring everyone stays safe. You can go for a seat belt clipped into a harness, a secured crate or carrier, or a mesh guard for the boot.

Seat restraints

Sharp braking puts a great deal of force through the seatbelt’s point of contact, so a harness provides much better protection than a collar in the car. Sleeypod Clickit Sport One of the few crash-tested models on the market, there’s no need for a special pet seatbelt with the Sleepypod Clickit Sport; just feed your normal seatbelt through the harness and you're ready to go.


Sleepypod Clickit Sport dog car harness

Image source: Amazon

Some owners warn that its comfort levels aren’t optimal for constant wear, so you might want to choose a different harness for day-to-day (see the ‘Out and About’ section for our top pick) and keep this for travel purposes only. Just Pet Zone adjustable dog seat belt

Just Pet Zone adjustable dog seat belt

Image source: Amazon

Some harnesses require an additional adjustable seatbelt, and you can strap in safely with this option. Compatible with most car models, it's designed to stay tangle-free, and keep your dog under control.

Crate or carrier

If your pet’s crate-trained, you might choose to use this method on the go too. Bear in mind that if your crate’s too big, it won’t offer such good protection. For smaller dogs, a secured carrier might be more comfortable. Remember that dogs should be introduced to crates slowly, with positive reinforcement, so that they consider it a safe space. Sleepypod Medium Mobile Pet Bed

Sleepypod mobile pet bed car carrier

Image source: Amazon

For puppies or small dogs, this carrier doubles as a car seat—perfect for vets visits or longer drives. It features washable bedding and a water resistant foam liner, so mess is no big deal, and its enclosed sides help to prevent your pet getting overwhelmed.

Boot guard

This is an alternative way to separate your dog from the passengers in the car, but it doesn’t offer the same level of protection for your pup as other restraints in the event of a crash.

Canine comfort

Depending on your pooch’s personality, your preference, and the driving situation (kids / vehicle size etc.), you might stick your dog in the backseat or resign them to the boot*. Either way, there are things that will improve their comfort, so they can be snug, calm and enjoy the ride.

*There are no laws against driving with your dog on the front passenger seat, but you must deactivate your front airbag if that's where they're sitting.


High-Grade Vet Fleece Bedding

High quality vet fleece is machine washable, can be cut to size, and has a water absorbent backing, making it an ideal choice of bedding for the car.

Vet fleece bedding

Image source: Amazon

BLOBLO Dog Car Seat for Small and Medium Dogs


A white dog sitting in a comfy car booster seat

Image source: Amazon

This padded booster seat for puppies, small and medium dogs is conscious of both comfort and safety. Ideal for nervous canines, or those who can't get settled on the seat, it'll provide your passenger with a sense of security and well as style.


Old or less mobile dogs might well struggle to get into the car—and there’s a whole market of ramps or steps out there to choose from. This is the one that caught our eye: Pet Gear tri-fold vehicle ramp

Safe for dogs up to 90kg, this ramp will help your fluffster access the car without you having to risk your back. It's strong and durable, but folds small for storage: tick, tick, and tick.

Dog using Pet Gear tri-fold dog ramp to climb into car

Image source: Amazon

Keeping calm

ADAPTIL collar and calming spray

Before your puppy’s first journey back home, kit them out with an ADAPTIL collar, which releases calming pheromones. This should make it a less stressful experience—for all involved! Best of all, the collar lasts for a month, reassuring them about their new environment and helping them settle in.

ADAPTIL calming collar or puppies or small dogs

Image source: Amazon

ADAPTIL also produces a calming travel spray to help anxious pawed passengers. You can spray this in your car or your dog’s carrier 15 minutes before they get into the vehicle, and top it up every 4-5 hours on long journeys. Never spray your dog directly.

ADAPTIL transport dog calming spray

Image source: Amazon

Consult a vet

Travel sickness is brutal for humans, and it’s no more pleasant for your pooch. If your dog suffers symptoms, talk to your vet, who may prescribe medication to help settle their stomach.

Keeping clean

Dogs are as bad as kids for keeping your motor in pristine condition—but there are a few ways to avoid or tackle the inevitable filth-fest.

Protecting your interiors

AMZPET car seat protector and hammock Use this 3-in-1 padded waterproof cover to protect your seats from hair, mud and drool—or turn it into a hammock to keep your dog feeling cosy and calm. The material is scratch-proof and features slip-proof backing and seat anchors to secure it in place, even on the wildest of rides.

AMZPET dog car hammock seat protector

Image source: Amazon

AMZPET car boot liner

Heavy duty and waterproof, this functional boot liner will keep your car in good condition, whatever the state of your pup. Spot clean it with a damp cloth, or chuck it in the washing machine (inside a laundry bad) to freshen it up.

AMZPET car boot liner for dogs

Image source: Amazon

Dry them down

Lucky Paws extra large dog towel

You can use any old rag to wipe your dog down after a mucky walk—but if you want to invest in a hyper-absorbent option, this is a fast-drying towel specifically designed to keep canine companions snug and warm.

A dog draped in a microfibre towel

Image source: Amazon  

Lucky Paws dog towel robe

You’ve heard of dry robes for humans, but towelling robes for dogs (at, thankfully, a much reduced price point), are a thing too. Say goodbye to soggy doggies with this ultra-fast dog drying coat.

Lucky Paws dog driying robe

Image source: Amazon


You can’t avoid muddy paws, especially on a nice country walk—but you can stop them tracking all over your interiors and resting on your windows. Ideal for travel, this portable cleaner might seem gimmicky, but it’s actually invaluable for washing your dog’s feet with minimal water before getting back in the car.

Paw buddy cleaning mucky dog paws

Image source: Amazon

After the damage

MUDEELA Reusable Pet Hair Removal Roller

You might become blind to your dog’s mess over time, but we promise you that others won’t. If you ever fancy giving friends or family lifts again, consider purchasing a lint roller to make their journey significantly more palatable. Scraping away all that malted hair is pretty satisfying too.

Pet hair removal roller

Image source: Amazon

Shark Handvac Cordless Pet Model

If you’re looking for a household solution that doubles up as a car cleaner too, there are rave reviews about Shark’s cordless hand vacuum. Specifically designed with dog hairs in mind, you can also use it to rid your vehicle of rogue paw prints. The only downside seems to be that, as with most handheld devices, it takes a while to fully charge.

A woman cleaning her car with the Shark Handvac Pet Vacuum

Image source: Amazon

Food for thought

Some dogs love travelling; the unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds make for a stimulating experience. But if your pet is less keen, they may need some positive reinforcement to get them settled on the back seat. The way to a dog’s heart is through its stomach, and these tasty treats will help you train your dog in getting used to travelling. Please note: You shouldn’t feed your pets a full meal less than two hours before a drive; we recommend these treats for training purposes only.



Great for getting your pooch to settle in the car, use some dog-friendly peanut butter (the 100% stuff) to entice a nervous or reluctant pet into settling quietly.

Lickimat Image source: Amazon

Feelwells liver training treats

There’s nothing like moist liver to get your salivary glands going – if you have four legs and are called Buster, at least.

Feelwells dog training treats

Image source: Amazon

Harringtons training treats

Hypoallergenic wholesome treats suitable for pups over 8 weeks? Yep, it’s drooling time again.

Harringtons fresh bakes dog treats

Image source: Amazon


Keeping dogs cool and hydrated seems like a full-time job in the summer, but you can make life a little easier with a doggy water bottle and collapsible bowl.

MasiPree dog water bottle

This leak-proof option dispenses water into the feeding section and avoids waste by filtering unused water back into the bottle.

MalsiPree dog water bottle

Image source: Amazon

Bonza collapsible dog water bowl

They’re functional, lightweight and won’t take up much space when not in use. Pop them open and fill with water to quench that thirst, then clip them onto your bum bag or belt as you make your way home.

Bonza collapsible dog water bowl

Image source: Amazon

Lesotc water bottle and bowls

This 2-in-1 bundle features a well-designed bottle that can be used alone or alongside the collapsible bowls. Perfect for a big day out.

Lesotc dog bottle and bowl bundle

Image source: Amazon

Out and about


Once you’ve reached your destination, your dog might be happy to entertain themselves, but for some, a toy wouldn’t go amiss. Here are some of our favourites.

Ruffwear Gnawt-a-Stick

For canines who love to use their canines, Ruffwear specialises in durable dog essentials that really do stand the test of time. This floating stick ‘bounces erratically’, drifts on water and initiates endless fetching fun. And bonus: no costly vet bills for dogs who like to swallow sticks or tennis balls (we know a few!).

Ruffwear Gnawt-a-Stick dog toy Image source: Amazon

West Paw Zogoflex Bumi

West Paw bumi dog toy

Image source: Amazon

As indestructible as they come, this tug, fetch and float toy flexes as it's pulled, and has a guarantee offering you a free replacement if your mutt does ever manage to do it damage.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, there are just two more words you need to hear… Dishwasher. Safe. Case closed.

Other essentials

Ruffwear Web Master dog harness

We covered crash-tested harnesses earlier on, but for day-to-day comfort, the Ruffwear Web Master is hard to pass by. Its rugged design does not compromise on comfort and even the most unscrupulous escape artists will have trouble wriggling out of it.

Ruffwear web master dog harness

Image source: Amazon

Halti double-ended lead

Back to basics with this one, but a good lead is essential for peace of mind. There are two points of contact on this option, making it perfect to use with a harness.

Hali double-ended dog lead

Image source: Amazon

Whether you’re looking into purchasing a pup, getting to grips with your lockdown pooch or a longtime owner of (wo)man's best friend, this list should have you covered for taking them travelling.

For a deeper dive into the rules about driving with dogs, check out our comprehensive guide.


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