If you need a more accessible version of this website, click this button on the right. Switch to Accessible Site


You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Close [x]
3000 Roane State Hwy Harriman, TN 37748

Ready for a road trip? 

Here are some tips for a smooth ride!


On the Road:

When riding in a car, your pet should be safely secured in a seatbelt or crate.

  • An unrestrained pet can become a flying projectile of unimaginable force in aseat_belt.jpg car crash, which means your 60-pound dog becomes a 2,700-pound missile during a 35 mph collision.
  • Having your pet sit on you lap can cause him to interfere with your steering and, if he jumps or slides down to your feet, with the gas and brake pedels.
  • A loose pet is dangerously distracting.  The safest place cat_crate.jpgfor a seatbelted dog is in the middle back seat.  If the airbag were to deplow it would come out of the dashboard or steering wheel at more than 100 mph.  Make sure crates are securely fastened also.

Look for these features when purchasing a crate:

  1. Large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down.
  2. Strong, with handles and grips, and free of interior protrusions.
  3. Leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material.
  4. Ventilation on opposing sides, with exterior rims or knobs to prevent blocked airflow.
  5. "Live Animal" label, arrows upright, with owner's name, address and phone number.
  6. Stock the crate with a comfortable mat, your dog's favorite toy, and a water bottle, and your dog is ready to go.

Health and Safety:

thCAG1XL1F.jpgHealth Checks. Bring your dog to the vet's for a check up before going on an extended trip. Make sure all his vaccinations are up to date; shot records with you. You can print a copy of your pet records from your Pet Portal.  Health certifications are required for airline travel.

  • To keep your dog healthy as you travel, bring along a supply of his regular food and some local, or bottled, water. Be sure to bring any medications he needs.

In the event that your dog gets away from you on your trip, you can increase the chances of recovery by making sure he can be properly identified:

  • Make sure your dog has a sturdy leash and collar. The collar should have identificationthCABDSLUU.jpg tags with the dog's name, your name, and your home phonethCA5V8AL0.jpg number, as well as proof of rabies shots.
  • Consider a permanent form of identification, such as a microchip .
  • Bring a recent picture of your dog along with you.

Traveling by Car

  • Get your dog used to the car by letting him sit in it with you without leaving the driveway, and then going for short rides.
  • Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he has plenty of water at all times.
  • Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate. 
  • Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog.
  • Car rides are boring for everyone, so instruct your children not to tease or annoy the dog in the car.
  • Never, ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in the summer. See Summer Safety Tips for more information. If you must leave the car, designate a member of the family to stay with the dog.
  • On long road trips dogs need a potty break more often than when left home alone. Ideally stopping every 3 hours for a 30 minute break gives Fido time to do hiswind_in_my_face.jpg business, stretch his legs, get some water and take in some fresh air and scenery.
  • Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries.
  • Never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.

By Plane

Each airline has its own set of rules for canine air travel. You should call for information and make arrangements well in advance of your trip.

  • All airlines require health certifications and proof of vaccinations.
  • Some airlines will not transport animals when it is extremely hot or cold.
  • Dogs must be in an airline-approved crate when transported as cargo. Small dogs may ride under the seat in a crate or carrier.

By Train, Bus or Boat

  • If you plan to travel by train or bus, you may be disappointed. Dogs are not permitted on Amtrak trains or on buses operated by Greyhound and other interstate bus companies. (Service dogs are permitted.) Local rail and bus companies have their own policies.
  • You may fare better if you're taking a cruise. The QE2 luxury cruiser, which sails from New York to England/France, provides special lodging and free meals for your dog. However, you should check the policies of the cruise line or ship you will be traveling on before making plans to take your dog on a cruise with you.


  • Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or have size or breed restrictions.
  • If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff and the property.
  • Keep your dog as quiet as possible.
  • Do not leave the dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place.
  • Ask the management where you should walk your dog, and pick up after him. Do not leave any mess behind.
  • Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.


After an Accident:

  • Rely on emergency cards and crate labels: In case you are injured and can't attend to your dog make sure you have an emergency card as well as a label on the dog's crate with the following information: Your name, address and cell phone number, your dog's name and breed as well information on who to call to come care for your dog.
  • Check to see if you have coverage for dog assistance: You should also check with your insurance carrier to see if you have coverage for dog assistance in the event you are injured and can not attend to your dog. For example, The Hartford provides coverage for dog sitting and dog walkers while you recover.
  • Consider a Pet ID: Most importantly, make sure your dog has a collar tag and a microchip should he get lost or sent to a shelter after a car accident. His tag should have your cell phone number and emergency number.

Veterinary Topics