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Safely Transporting Puppies

Published on: October 26, 2023  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel


German shepherd pupppy

Transporting puppies can be a stressful experience for both the puppies and their owners. Whether you are bringing home a new furry family member or taking your puppy to the vet, it is important to ensure their safety during the journey. In this article, we will discuss some tips and best practices for safely transporting puppies.

Why is Puppy Transportation Safety Important?

Puppies are small and fragile creatures, and they require extra care and attention when being transported. A car ride can be a scary and overwhelming experience for a puppy, and it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety and well-being.

Preventing Injuries

Puppies are curious and energetic, and they may try to explore their surroundings while in the car. This can lead to injuries such as falling or getting stuck in small spaces. By taking the necessary safety measures, you can prevent these accidents from happening and keep your puppy safe.

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Transporting puppies can be a stressful experience for them, especially if they are not used to car rides. This stress and anxiety can lead to health issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even heart problems. By ensuring their safety and comfort during the journey, you can help reduce their stress and make the trip more enjoyable for them.

Avoiding Distractions for the Driver

A puppy that is not properly secured in the car can be a major distraction for the driver. This can lead to accidents and put everyone in the car at risk. By following safety guidelines for puppy transportation, you can avoid distractions and ensure the safety of everyone in the car.

Tips for Safely Transporting Puppies

Here are some tips and best practices for safely transporting puppies:

Use a Crate or Carrier

The safest way to transport a puppy in a car is by using a crate or carrier. This will not only keep them secure but also prevent them from getting into any dangerous situations. Make sure the crate or carrier is the appropriate size for your puppy and is well-ventilated.

Secure the Crate or Carrier

Once your puppy is inside the crate or carrier, make sure it is securely fastened in the car. This will prevent it from sliding or tipping over during the journey. You can use a seatbelt or secure it to the car using straps or bungee cords.

Keep the Temperature Comfortable

Puppies are sensitive to extreme temperatures, so it is important to keep the car at a comfortable temperature during the journey. If it is too hot, turn on the air conditioning or open the windows for ventilation. If it is too cold, make sure the car is warm enough and cover the crate or carrier with a blanket.

Take Frequent Breaks

Puppies have small bladders and may need to go to the bathroom more frequently than adult dogs. Make sure to take frequent breaks during the journey to allow your puppy to relieve themselves and stretch their legs. This will also help reduce their stress and anxiety during the trip.

Avoid Feeding Before the Journey

It is best to avoid feeding your puppy right before the journey. This can lead to an upset stomach and cause discomfort for your puppy during the car ride. If you are going on a long trip, make sure to feed your puppy a few hours before the journey and provide them with water during breaks.

Keep Your Puppy Calm and Comfortable

Puppies can easily get overwhelmed and anxious during car rides. To keep them calm and comfortable, you can play soothing music or bring their favorite toy or blanket with them. You can also give them treats or use calming sprays or pheromones to help reduce their stress.

Safety Precautions for Air Travel

If you are planning to transport your puppy by air, there are some additional safety precautions you should take. Please note that Starwood will not transport puppies unless they meet all of the age and health requirements set by the airline and destination. In general, they must be at least 16 weeks old.

Choose a Pet-Friendly Airline

Not all airlines allow pets, so make sure to choose a pet-friendly airline for your puppy's journey. You should also check their policies for pet travel, such as crate size, vaccination, and health certificate requirements.

Get Your Puppy Familiar with the Crate

If your puppy is not used to being in a crate, it is important to get them familiar with it before the flight. This will help reduce their stress and anxiety during the journey. You can start by leaving the crate open in your home and gradually introduce your puppy to it by placing treats and toys inside. We have more tips for kennel acclimation in this blog post

Label the Crate Clearly

Make sure to label the crate with your puppy's name, your contact information, and any special instructions for handling your puppy. This will ensure that your puppy is properly identified and taken care of during the journey.

Provide Food and Water

Make sure to provide them with a small amount of food and water before the flight and during layovers. As mentioned above, they should not eat right before departure, so feed them a small amount a few hours prior. You can send a ziplock baggie with a few servings of food if they have a layover or if there are flight delays. You do not need to restrict water, so always ensure they are well-hydrated.

Check on Your Puppy After the Flight

Once you have arrived at your destination, make sure to check on your puppy as soon as possible. They may be anxious and need some reassurance and comfort after the flight. You should also take them for a walk and allow them to relieve themselves before continuing your journey.

Be Careful of Pet Scams

Puppy scams have become increasingly common, and it is important to protect yourself when looking to bring a new furry friend into your home.

Be Cautious of Online Ads

One of the first things to be cautious of is online ads with unrealistic or too-good-to-be-true prices. Scammers often use stolen photos and fake listings to lure unsuspecting buyers. It is essential to research the breeder or seller thoroughly, checking for reviews and contacting them directly to ask for references or visit their facility if possible.

Pay Attention to the Method of Payment

Avoid making any payments upfront or through wire transfers, as scammers often request these methods. Instead, opt for a secure payment method such as PayPal or a credit card that offers protection against fraud. Request to see the puppy and its parents in person or through a video call to ensure they exist and are in good health.

Do Your Research

Thoroughly research the breeder or seller as well as the transport company they claim to use. Many scammers pretend to be legitimate pet transport companies but they create a fake website and/or email address. Pay attention to the small details like differences in the name of the company, the font and language they use, and differences in email addresses and website urls. When in doubt, search for the name of that pet transport company separately to see if they have a different, legitimate website.

Starwood Disclaimer 

Starwood does NOT work with unvetted breeders, people on social media (such as Facebook or Craiglist), ask for last-minute fees, offer "refundable services", or require special insurance or special crates that do not exist (like a "thermoelectric crate").

Please refer to our pet scam resources if you are concerned you are the victim of a puppy scam.


Transporting puppies can be a stressful experience, but by following these tips and best practices, you can ensure their safety and make the journey more comfortable for them. Remember to always prioritize your puppy's well-being and take the necessary precautions to keep them safe during the journey. With proper planning and preparation, you can safely transport your puppy and enjoy many happy adventures together.

Photo by Alexander Naglestad on Unsplash

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.