A Guide to Driving Home with Your Mini Golden Retriever


Embarking on a journey with a puppy can be a thrilling adventure, but it comes with its own set of challenges. When you’re hitting the open road, you'll want to plan ahead. This will ensure a smooth pet travel experience for your furry friend. In this guide, we'll give you some tips for puppy car traveling with your young puppy. 

Preparing for the Journey:

Vet Checkup:

Before you even think about packing bags, schedule a comprehensive checkup with your veterinarian. Ensure your puppy is in good health and has received the necessary vaccinations. Discuss potential travel concerns, and obtain any required documentation, such as health certificates if you will be crossing borders. If you are purchasing your puppy from a breeder, they should complete this vet check for you before sending your puppy home.

Microchipping and Identification:

The world is vast and full of new scents and sounds that can easily captivate a curious pup. To ensure their safety, microchip your puppy. Additionally, affix a secure collar with an ID tag containing your contact information. In the unfortunate event of separation, this simple step can expedite a happy reunion.

At Big Hearted Breeders, we microchip our puppies before sending them home. Microchipping your pet is the best way to ensure finding them if they get lost. If you are going to drive your puppy home, we recommend bringing a collar and ID tag for them.

Road Trip Tips:


Not all puppies take to car rides immediately. Before embarking on a cross-country road trip, take short drives with your puppy to get them accustomed to the motion and sounds of the vehicle. Make these trips positive experiences by offering treats and praise.

If you have a long drive to get them home at the time of purchase, simply do your best to make the trip a positive experience by offering treats and praise. If possible bring someone else with you so that the puppy can be held and comforted throughout the drive.

Secure Travel Restraints:

Safety is paramount when traveling by car. Invest in a reliable and secure travel restraint system for your puppy. Options include travel crates, seat belts designed for dogs, or specialized car seats. These restraints not only ensure your puppy's safety but also prevent distractions while driving. This is especially important if you will not have a companion with you on your trip.

Pack Essentials:

Create a comprehensive travel kit for your puppy, including their regular food, water bowls, a favorite toy, and any necessary medications. If you are traveling with a young puppy, you will want to have them on a towel in case of accidents. If your breeder gives you a blanket that smells like home, do not keep this with the puppy for the drive home in case of accidents.

As your puppy gets older, you will become more aware of how long they can wait between potty breaks. Familiar scents can provide a sense of comfort, so bring a blanket or bedding that your puppy is familiar with. This not only helps with anxiety but also establishes a cozy space during the journey.

Regular Breaks and Exercise:

Plan frequent breaks during your road trip to allow your puppy to stretch their legs, relieve themselves, and burn off excess energy. When the puppy is very young (less than 4 months), you'll want to remember that they are not fully vaccinated. You'll need to be very careful where you let the puppy out and do not allow them around areas with other dogs.

You may want to consider bringing a pop up kennel (like this) where you can put potty pads to allow them to relieve themself. You'll also want to bring poop bags and wipes!

Once your pup is fully vaccinated you can have a little more freedom. Seek out pet-friendly rest stops or parks along your route for short walks and playtime. Regular breaks also provide an opportunity for bonding and reinforce positive associations with travel.

Health and Safety:

Regular Health Checks:

Keep a close eye on your puppy's health throughout the journey. Monitor for signs of stress, discomfort, or any unusual behavior. Try to keep your puppy as comfortable as possible.

Hydration and Nutrition:

Ensure your puppy stays hydrated during the journey, especially in warmer climates. Pack sufficient water and portable bowls for quick hydration breaks. Stick to your puppy's regular diet to avoid digestive issues.

Avoid Overexertion:

Puppies are bundles of energy, but it's crucial to prevent overexertion during travel. Balance playtime and exercise with ample rest to keep your puppy happy and healthy throughout the journey.

Be Mindful of Temperature:

Car rides can expose your puppy to different temperatures. Be mindful of the climate at your destination and during travel. Avoid leaving your puppy in a hot car, and ensure they are comfortable in cooler temperatures.

Training and Socialization:

Positive Reinforcement:

Use positive reinforcement to reward your puppy for good behavior during travel. Treats, praise, and affection go a long way in reinforcing positive associations with the travel experience.

Socialization Opportunities:

Traveling exposes your puppy to new environments, people, and other animals. Use these opportunities for positive socialization experiences. However, be mindful of your puppy's comfort level and don't force interactions if they seem anxious.

Remember that your puppy is not fully vaccinated, so you'll need to be cautious. We recommend the rule "Four off the floor" while in public spaces with your puppy.


Traveling with a young puppy requires thoughtful preparation and a commitment to their comfort and well-being. If you are hitting the road, following these tips will help ensure a smoother and more enjoyable journey for both you and your furry companion. Safe travels!

At Big Hearted Breeders we also offer a pet nanny service, so if you’d prefer to have your Mini Golden delivered to you, we would love to bring your new fur baby to your nearest airport. If you are interested in a Mini Golden Retriever puppy, please complete the form below to reach out to us and we’d love to chat with you about our available puppies and upcoming litters!

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