My family and I have an upcoming vacation, traveling by car. The trip is going to be about 12-13 hours, and we plan on rotating drivers so we don't have to stop overnight.

We will be taking my parents' 4-year old boxer with us because he is such a handful for dogsitters and does not do well in the kennel. He is normally a very good dog in the car, and does not move around much, but for the safety and comfortable of everyone, he will be riding in his crate in the tailgate area of the SUV.

We plan to stop every 3-4 hours to allow him to exercise and relieve himself but we are worried if that is too little. We are also concerned about water in a moving vehicle. Should we be stopping more often to allow him to drink?

1 Answer 1


I doubt that there is an answer that fits all circumstances. While it might be OK for the dog to have a break every 3-4 hours, chances are that your dog needs to get out earlier. Try to keep an eye on your dog while driving. If he seems to get nervous and starts moving around a lot, it might be best to stop and let him out of the car.

When we did longer trips with out dogs, we added a break every 1-2 hours. These were only very short breaks. Let them jump out of the car, wait near the car for five minutes and let them do their business on their own (they don't need a leash) and then return to the car. Some of the breaks were prolonged rests were we offered them something to drink.

How much and how often does the dog drink under normal circumstances? There is no need for a water container right beside him in his crate. It will only spill and wet his compartment. Instead offer him something to drink each time you stop. If possible use the water bowl he is used to from his home. Carry some bottles of water, just be sure that the bottles were not used for anything besides water before (the smell might confuse him and he could reject the water even if thirsty).

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    For young energetic dogs it might be best to plan for longer breaks and really burn their energy (eg by playing fetch). With old dogs it might be problematic to have them jump in and out of the car too often, but I wouldn't advise to take such an old dog on such a stressful trip.
    – Baarn
    Oct 11, 2013 at 10:32

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