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Puppy Essentials You Need For The First Car Ride Home

Puppy Essentials You Need For The First Car Ride Home

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Autotrader; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

In celebration of National Dog Day on August 26th we’ve once again teamed up with Autotrader to help celebrate the best day of the year!

This year, our friends over at Autotrader have teamed up with Adopt-A-Pet to help dogs find a family through Not only is Autotrader helping you find adoptable pets in your area but they are also offering tips on the best pet friendly cars and accessories to help keep your pet safe and comfortable on a car ride.

Bringing home your puppy is an exciting time.

I’ll never forget the trip we took to bring Sherman home.

It was the first time my husband and I would leave our children for more than a few hours and head up to Northern Michigan in the middle of winter.

Since we would be gone overnight, I started packing a few days ahead of time.

Sherman’s puppy bag had more contents than my little duffel bag.

Being a pretty new mom, this was a trip that sent my anxiety through the roof. I was nervous leaving the kids alone, I was worried about the weather and I was hoping I wouldn’t forget anything that Sherman would need for the car ride home.

Since the weather wasn’t looking ideal, the night before we left,  I drew up a living will.

I could see the headlines in my head.

“Parents Parish in Car Crash on the Way to Get Family Dog. They Leave Behind 2 Young Children Who Will Never Know the Love of a Newfie. “

The only thing that made me feel a little more comfortable was that the Newfie Mobile was brand new and if any car could make it through horrible Ohio/Michigan weather and transport our newest family home safely, it was her.

Well, the trip did not disappoint. All was good until we hit Michigan.

It started off with rain, then sleet and last a blizzard.

We had to pull over several times and wait for the weather to settle down but every time we would get back on the road, Mother Nature would hit us with something else.

I was sitting in the passenger seat holding my breath the entire time.



Eventually, we made it safely to our hotel and the next day Sherman was in the seat next to me in the car.

Our trip back home was uneventful and the weather cooperated which was great because it provided Sherman with a nice, calm car ride home. He didn’t have any accidents and he didn’t make a peep.

In fact, I don’t think he even looked at me.

His puppy bag hardly got touched even though it had all essentials.

These are a few accessories that we packed for Sherman’s first car ride home:

First aid kit.

You never know when you might need it and since I was expecting us to crash, I made sure to have one.


The safest way for a puppy to travel in is a crate.

However, a crate may not work for all puppies because they are scared and nervous.

It’s great to have one just in case. I held Sherman on my lap for most of our trip.

The times that he wasn’t in my lap, he was next to me on the seat. 

Poop bags.

Accidents happen and if the puppy has recently eaten there might be poop.

Paper towels.

A roll of paper towels for car sickness and potty accidents. 

Odor neutralizers.

Accidents happen and they are going to happen somewhere in the car. 

Puppy pads.

Puppy pads are great if you have a long car drive and will need to stop for potty breaks.

If possible avoid rest areas.

You don’t want to be exposing your puppy to any diseases that they may be exposed to on the ground of a rest area.

If you can’t avoid a rest area, place a puppy pad down on the ground first. 


Important if you’ll be stopping to take potty breaks

Towel/blanket/cooling pad.

Depending on what time of year that you’ll be traveling in, it’s nice to keep your puppy as comfortable as possible.

A towel to dry off if it’s wet outside, a blanket if it’s chilly and a cooling pad if it’s warm. 

Water/shallow bowl.

If you’ll be traveling for an extended period the puppy should have fresh water. Not a ton because you don’t want accidents happening. 


You’ll want to use treat or food sparingly because you want to limit accidents and upset tummies. 


Some puppy might be a little too nervous to play but you might get one that is all about that play time so it would be nice to have a toy or two on hand. 


In celebration of National Dog Day, Autotrader and I are inviting YOU to share a story about the day that you brought your dog home. What accessories did you bring for the car ride? Did you forget anything?

I can’t wait to hear your stories!

And if you’re searching for a dog to adopt, we encourage you to check out where you can search for pets looking for a home in your area and learn more about dog-friendly cars to accommodate them.

Check out Autotrader’s 10 Great Cars For Dog Lovers


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Cathy Armato

Tuesday 28th of August 2018

Wow, what a crazy ride! I can't believe you hit a blizzard, that must have been so scary. These are excellent tips. We were pretty clueless when we brought our Husky Icy home. She was about 12 weeks old. We just picked her up 10 minutes from our home so we didn't think we needed a thing other than the new collar and leash we bought for her. In hindsight she could have become sick in the car and made a mess so we should have had cleaning products! I rode in the back seat with her in my arms, but ideally we should have had a carrier, crate, or at least a travel harness for her safety. It was 9 years ago so the awareness wasn't really there, not for us anyway! Love & Biscuits, Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

Tails Around the Ranch

Sunday 26th of August 2018

Most of the 'first' trips with a new pup have been local so nothing particularly interesting there. Sam was picked up a few hours from home so it was all done in a day. I was lucky enough to have a friend accompany me should anything have been so freaky for him to handle for the ride home. I think he was for the most part confused as to why his family gave him up. Then he realized I had a couple other dogs waiting at home and super comfy furniture and never looked back.

My Golden Life

Friday 24th of August 2018

For me, August 24th is a sad day. Three years ago today, Callie got her angel wings and halo. The only reason I don't break down is that my darling girl is cancer free and happily watching over us.


Thursday 23rd of August 2018

When we visited the animal shelter we didn't know we were coming home with a puppy. We had been looking for dogs on for over a month when we found Linus a little Aussie mix. We weren't prepared and we didn't have any accessories. Luckily after we decided to adopt they needed an hour to vaccinate and microchip him. We ran to PetSmart and bought a bunch of stuff, but nothing for the car ride. Luckily we had a small box and blanket that he slept in the entire car ride home.


Thursday 23rd of August 2018

How can you not come home with a new family member when you visit a shelter? Hahaha. That's why I've been banned from going. Also, how great that Linus slept the whole way home! I swear Sherman was terrified, he stared at the car door most of the ride. I was so bummed that he wouldn't look at me!

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