Message Us

Is Your Dog Ready to Travel When Disaster Strikes?

By KathrynDurno. | Traveling with Dogs

It has been a crazy summer of devastating hurricanes, flooding, fires and other disasters. Is your dog prepared to weather the storm?

Is Your Dog Ready to Travel When Disaster Strikes? We just spent a week on the road with our three dogs after being evacuated for Hurricane Irma. It was extremely stressful and full of anxiety for us and our dogs. I felt prepared and ready to keep my dogs as calm as possible under the circumstances. Sadly, as we crawled down the highway in bumper to bumper traffic, it became clear that many dog owners were just not prepared to travel in an emergency with their dog. There are a lot of logistics to consider when you take a road trip with your dog that involves long distance and overnight stays. Throw in a mandatory evacuation or other emergency and the stress that both you and your dog experience can go way up. Here are my best tips for having your dog travel ready (emergency or not):

Keep a Bag Packed and Ready

Here is what I keep in mine all the time:
  • Vet/shot records stored in a plastic bag/zipper pouch
  • Extra roll of waste bags
  • Extra leash and collar set-up
  • Collapsible bowl
  • Brush
  • 1/4 roll of paper towels (accidents always happen)
  • 1 Week supply of dry food
  • Flashlight/light up collar
  • Medications/instructions
I use an old tote bag and it just stays packed in the laundry room at all times. I periodically refresh the food and the collapsible bowl doubles as both a food and water bowl. I treat this as a "diaper bag" for my dogs, always ready and it goes with me whenever we travel.

Water, Water, Water

Know how much water your dog(s) go through in a day and plan to have enough. My three medium sized dogs go through a little over a gallon a day. Warm weather and tough conditions are already enough stress on your dog, make sure hydration isn't one of them. Plan on taking more than you need and have a plan for getting access to more each day. Do you have a big enough jug to fill up? I also always keep an empty jug in the back of my car to fill up on the road in case I need it.


This one is so important! Not everybody has a car that will hold a crate, or a crate big enough to contain their dog. If the proper size crate for your dog won't fit into the back seat of your car find the best way to restrain your dog safely and get a collapsible crate. I always have a collapsible crate for each dog. Even though my vehicle is big enough to house the kennel type crates in the back. These crates are super bulky and hard to get in and out of the car, into a hotel, all while holding the dog at the same time.

The Best Set-Up

  • A car harness and collapsible crate
  • A kennel crate that stays in the car and a collapsible crate
Either of these setups will allow you to keep your dog secure while you get things in and out of the car and safely into a hotel room. When you are traveling alone or with multiple dogs (or both) it is really important to have the ability to keep your dog secure when you are loading and unloading. Even if your dog is great when you are going on little trips around town... it is a whole new ball game when you are stressed and your dog has spent an entire day on the road. Dogs that normally stay put in the seat may have a tendency to bolt or jump out. I saw a lot of this on the trip.

A Good Car Harness

There are lots of great harness systems out there that will keep your dog safe and secure in the back. Your dog is already nervous. Keep him harnessed in so that you and your family can get in and out of the car without risking your dog getting loose at a rest stop etc. or gas station. On this last trip I saw no fewer than 9 dogs loose at extremely crowded rest stops... frantic dogs and owners, don't let this be you.

A Collapsible Crate

Either a soft or wire collapsible crate that will fit in the trunk, back or luggage rack when folded up. The collapsible type is also easier to carry than the kennel type crate when you are trying to get yourself, your dog and all of your stuff into a hotel room. Once you get to your stopping place, this allows you to safely and securely keep your dog contained. Dogs are den animals and will find comfort in a crate especially when they are in unfamiliar places. Even if your dog is used to sleeping on the bed, when in an unfamiliar place, like a hotel room with activity outside the door/hallway, a crate will keep him safe. In the event that you have any type of vehicle problems, a crate will allow you to keep your dog safe and secure while you wait for help or get your vehicle fixed. If you get the soft crate - don't forget to use the locking zipper and never underestimate your dog's ability to get out of a hotel room - the crate is your friend.

Shine your Light

I keep these two things in my bag all the time - a small flashlight and a light up/reflective collar for the dogs. Small is the key word here... remember, you will be holding a dog in one hand, a waste bag and a flashlight in a dark place you haven't been before. Small with a bright light! I also have a light up collar for the dogs. I keep it sized big so I can just slip it over their head in addition to their regular collar when we have to walk at dawn or dusk in an unfamiliar place.

Planning the trip

Think about how you will handle the logistics of traveling with your dog ahead of time. Are you traveling alone? How will you handle bathroom breaks, meal breaks etc? It isn't so hard to plan this out if you have one small dog, but if you have more than one or a larger dog - you need to think it out in advance.

Is This a Good Place to Stop?

Where will you walk your dog? Are there rest stops with a grassy area? If I am exiting the highway, rather than stopping at a shopping center or restaurant, I will usually drive just a bit in to find either a church or a school. They will typically have a parking lot with a grassy area and a lot less traffic. If your dog isn't used to traveling, a gas station or busy store parking lot can be very stressful. After each stop think about how long your dog can comfortably go before you will need to stop again. Use your smartphone and check ahead for exits, rest stops or other dog-friendly places to stop to give your dog a quick break. Proper planning ahead gives your dog a potty break at a nice quite, grassy place. Lack of planning and you are pulled over on the interstate with your dog off the shoulder of the road... again, don't let this be your dog.

First Aid

Do you have a first aid kit for your dog? We always keep one in the RV and another in the car. Just the basics - but be ready to handle a minor cut, insect sting, upset stomach or other minor health issues. You can purchase one already put together or just make one yourself from things you have. Here is a good list of things to put in your First Aid kit for your dog.

Don't Forget

  • Double check all your information on your dog's microchip record. Have you changed your phone number or address since your got your dog chipped? It is a quick and easy update!
  • Make sure you have a tag on your dog's collar
  • Put a name tag on your crate
Skip the fashion collar and stick with a durable snap-on collar. Make sure you have a nameplate or tag securely fastened to the collar, with your name and cell phone number. I have the word "Microchipped" on the back of the tag so they will know my dogs are chipped. Most crates have a plate on the front for a name tag. Even just duct tape and a permanent marker on this plate will work.

What If You Can't Take Your Dog?

If circumstances dictate that you cannot take your dog in the event of an evacuation have a plan in place. Check with your vet or local shelter. Many are evacuation shelters with generator back-up, and you can take your dog there. However, you most likely will need to have all these arrangements in place ahead of time. If you know you won't be able to take your dog - make these emergency plans now so that you have a safe place for him during the emergency. I saw so many dogs in distress on this last trip... don't let this be your dog! Have a disaster plan in place for your dog. Get everything ready and in place now, so that in the event that you need to use it... your best friend will be well taken care of. Dog Ready to Travel and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers

Kathryn DurnoKathryn Durno

Kathryn Durno's passion is canine sports, nutrition and fitness. She is a freelance writer, the owner of Dog Mamma's Organic Dog Treat Company and is owned by three Brittanys - Biddy, Tristan and Nate. Visit her on the web at


Signup/Login to post a reply


Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

Cordura seat cover

Great product. Have them on all my seats to protect them from water sand and nails of from all the dogs that travel with me in my camper van to the beach, rivers and woods.



We liked the first cover so much that a few days later we purchased a second one. The cover installs very, very easily, fits and covers the rear seat and the back of the front seats of our Subaru Tribeca perfectly, has flaps that cover the door-side edges of the rear seat, and stays perfectly in place. Spilled or tracked water beads up on the material and can be easily wiped off. At first our dog did tend to slide just a little on the new cover, but he soon learned to stand, sit, and lay just as well as he did before on the uncovered seat. The hammock portion seems like it might provide some little bit of protection in a sudden stop (our guy will chew apart any "doggie seat belt" type of restraint in very short order - so that option is out of the question for us). As to keeping him out of the car front-area - well, our long-legged Standard Poodle has no problem in still looking closely out the front windshield by putting his front feet on the center console - straddling the hammock - with no problem whatsoever. But we did discover that having the hammock in place does allow us to safely keep his water bottle and dish, his leash, and an old towel on the floor under the hammock - where he can no longer get at them (especially the leash and towel) to chew on them. All in all, an excellent seat cover.


My furbabies don't like leather seats!!!! But they love this seat cover!!!

Very hard to find a split bench seat cover at a reasonable price, this one fit the bill. Easy to install, very durable and looks to be easy to clean. Wanted something that would protect the leather seats and was pet friendly (hate it when the material of regular seat covers snags toenails and collars). I don't think I will have to buy another for many years!!!

Jackie Carter

My Doodle approves!

Received on time, fits great and easy to install. Color is a great match. So far, so good. Durability? Time will tell. It appears to be well constructed.

Donald Fish

Fits my 2018 VW Tiguan perfectly

Very happy with our purchase. Fits perfectly, was easy to install and keeps the leather seats in our brand new vehicle perfectly clean.

Chris Campbell

great cover

This is actually a replacement for my original 4 knines cover which was 4 years old. I used it daily (bringing my pup to work with me) and washed it weekly, so the backing finally started to flake apart and come off. This newer version is easier to put over the headrests, great improvement in the strap and closures. Also the best improvement is the side flaps, the old cover didn't have these. These flaps help to catch the dirt from dogs feet when they are jumping up into the car, instead of it going on the side of the seat.

Diane Breland


This is my 2nd seat cover from 4knines and love them both. The product and service were both fantastic.


Repeat customer VERY satisfied.

We have made several purchases from 4Knines and are VERY satisfied with products (cargo liner, back seat cover, bucket front seat cover...). I volunteer at a shelter and take dogs offsite daily. Always a Pleasure doing business with 4Knines. Highly recommend.

Cristina Jones

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy