Taking a Car Trip With a Pet and a Baby

Pet Travel Center

Car trips can be very stressful when you are traveling with a child. They are also stressful when you are traveling with a pet. Now imagine adding those two things together: It’s double the stress! Luckily there are steps you can take to make the situation more tolerable for everyone involved. Follow the tips below to make a car trip with a pet and a baby less stressful.

1. Keep Your Pets in Their Carrier

As tempting as it may seem, do not let your pet roam free in the car. You may think that your animal will stay with your child, but that isn’t the case! Not to mention, babies don’t always know how to interact with pets appropriately just quite yet. This could trigger an incident during your trip. Save yourself the stress, and keep your animal in their carrier or crate. If space permits, you can put it by your child and let them help you keep an eye on your pet. 

2. Have a Pet Travel Kit Prepared

If we haven’t already mentioned it enough yet, traveling with a pet is stressful. Make sure you have breaks scheduled for feeding, bathroom breaks, etc. Also, have extra blankets with your pet’s scent on them to put in their carrier. Bring extras in case they have an accident and soil their initial one. Prepare wipes to clean your pet off if they have an accident or get too stressed in their carrier. Consider using a calming color of a calming diffuser as well. 

3. Practice Traveling With Your Pet Before the Big Day

The more your pet does something, the less aversion and stress they should have towards it. Travel is no different than anything else. Acclimate your pet to their crate and the car before you embark on your journey. This way, your pet will feel less stress on the travel day and hopefully have fewer outbursts during your trip. Fewer outbursts from your pet will hopefully lead to fewer outbursts from your baby. Those two will play off of each other’s moods. 

4. Bring Entertainment for Your Child

Depending on the age of your child, there may not be age-appropriate entertainment you can give them to occupy themselves while you drive. But if your kid is old enough for books or games, provide them with something to do while you drive. This way, they don’t bother you or your pet during the trip.

On a car trip with a pet  and a baby schedule enough breaks for both to get out  and stretch their legs.
On a car trip with a pet and a baby schedule enough breaks for both to get out and stretch their legs.

5. Be Planful About Feeding Times and Stops

There is no doubt that things will come up on your trip. That’s just the way things go. But the more you plan, the less likely you are to run into problems. Small things, like do not feed the dog too close to the time you leave or your dog might get sick all over your car. Or make sure your kid takes a potty break at every stop to lower the chances of them soiling themselves. Accidents can still happen, but little foresight makes them less likely.

6. When Flying, Schedule an Appointment for Your TSA Check In

Picture this: you arrive at airport security to catch your flight. As the agent checks your pet’s carrier, your child starts screaming. The screaming freaks out your cat, who bolts away from the agent. Now your cat is loose in an airport. You could try to catch your animal, but then your kid could run away from you in a large airport. Both situations are awful. To avoid this, book your check-in with TSA in advance. You will get your security screening in a private room away from the gate. If anybody tries to run, they won’t get any further than the room you are in.

7. Pack Anything Your Pets and Child Could Need on Your Trip

Bring a bag with anything and everything you may need in case of an emergency. Extra Goldfish crackers for the kid? More coloring books? Put those in the bag. More treats for the dog? More toys for the cat? Put those in the bag. The more stuff you have h andy, the less time you spend digging if something goes wrong. Keep medical papers for everyone in there, so you have them if needed. 


Taking a car trip with a pet and a baby can be stressful without any planning. Proper preparation can go a long way in making your trip a smoother experience. Even if events take an unexpected turn, you’ll have the resources to h andle that hiccup in your travel plans. 

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