It’s time for a ride in the C-A-R. Cue the excited barking and tail wagging. Whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip or just a quick spin around the block, we have some paw-some tips to turn your car into the ultimate canine-friendly cruiser!

Floor Mats

Face it. Our fur babies can be messy. Dogs can track mud, sand, and debris onto your car’s floor. Protect it with rubber floor mats that are waterproof and easy to clean. They cover your car’s carpet and shield it from dirt. You can get floor mats that are custom fit to your car, ones you can trim to fit, or universal mats. Avoid mats made with harsh chemicals such as lead, cadmium, latex, and PVC, as they will have unpleasant odors.

Seat Covers

As any dog owner knows, fur floats everywhere. It can easily get into crevices and stick to seats. Plus, if car rides stress your dog, he will shed even more. Seat covers will help keep your seats fur-free and mess-free. Cover the seats where your dog will be. Choose tightly knit fabrics that also will be scratch proof. Some covers are padded for shock absorption; some have nonslip designs with a rubber base. Still others have pockets for storage. Look for ones that are washable so you can periodically clean them.

Pro-Tip: A felt blanket is a simple alternative to a seat cover. It attracts fur and it’s easy to remove and wash. Just make sure to tuck it in the crevices of your seat.

Cargo Liners & Hammocks

If you put your back seats down for your dog, consider a cargo liner or hammock that extends from the back of the front seats. These are larger than traditional seat covers, and they give your dog a chance to spread out and lay comfortably. Look for one that is non-porous, water resistant, tear resistant, and easy to clean. Make sure it is comfortable for your fur baby.

Window Protection

Nose prints on windows are just a fact of life, right? They don’t have to be. Try a magnetic window shade, which also protects against UV rays. Alternatively, you can buy shatter resistant window film to add another layer of protection to your glass. In a pinch, clear plastic wrap works too.

Scratch Protection

Paint and surfaces can be easily scratched. You can help to prevent scratches with some paint protection film on doors and trunk sills where your dog usually enters your vehicle. If your dog will wear them, nail caps can work too.


While our dogs may want to ride in the front seat, it’s not a good idea. In the event of an accident, your front seat airbag could deploy. Safety is important, and you want to keep them from jumping into your lap when you’re driving. That’s where barriers come in. They keep your fur baby safely in the back. Barriers come in various materials, from breathable mesh to heavy duty fabric to plastic or metal.

Safety Belts

Just as we wear seat belts, it’s a good idea to secure your dog. Some safety belts hook right into your car seat belts. Others attached to your seats. Choose a harness that goes around your fur baby’s body. Never secure them by their collar as the leash can pull unnecessarily on their necks.


You can also travel with your fur baby in a crate or pet carrier. They come in a range of styles. Some are soft mesh and others are hard. Some come with wheels for easy transport. Make sure the crate is large enough so that your dog can stand, turn around, and lie down in it.

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Follow these additional tips for traveling with your pet.

  • Start with short trips to get your dog used to the car before driving long distances.
  • Feed your dog 3 hours before you leave.
  • If you need to feed your dog on the road, stop the car to do it.
  • Stop regularly along the way so dogs can stretch their legs and go to the bathroom.
  • Give your dog access to clean water. Riding in the car can be stressful for dogs and if they pant, they can lose water.
  • Don’t let your dog hang their head out the window.
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car. Hot cars are dangerous, but even in cool weather, a well-meaning passerby may try to release your dog.
  • Pack an emergency kit for messes. Include gloves and cleaning supplies. (A moistened rubber glove is great for picking up pet fur.)
  • Don’t forget your dog’s favorite treats.

Finally, protect your fur baby with pet insurance. You can easily add coverage from Pet’s Best to your California Casualty auto or home policy.  Find out more about what pet insurance can cover by talking with a California Casualty customer service representative today.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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