What is the best way to handle visiting the restroom at a rest stop when traveling with a dog on the US interstate system?

  • 2
    Make sure they have water to drink and a place to make #1 and 2. A more detailed answer will differ wildly between the UK and Vietnam for example. I'll mark this as 'too broad' until it's edited down to a manageable scope. Please edit.
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 13, 2016 at 16:06
  • 1
    Some ideas here: dogster.com/forums/Dogs_and_Travel/thread/666206
    – Berwyn
    Aug 13, 2016 at 16:13
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    Bear in mind it's illegal to leave your car with the engine running in various states
    – Berwyn
    Aug 13, 2016 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


There's no real best way, you have to adjust to circumstances. This is a bit complicated by various Good Samaritan laws which allow the rescue of a distressed animal.**

(Assuming you are traveling alone.) Here are some options depending on the prevailing circumstances:

  1. Leave the dog in the vehicle with the engine and AC running. If you have two keys, you can still secure the vehicle.

  2. Leave the dog secured in the vehicle with the windows open.

  3. Secure the dog outside the restroom with sufficient distance to not impede access. There may even be a pet relief area just for this.

  4. If the dog fits in a small carrier, you could take the dog with you.

Either way, you will have to evaluate each stop to determine which is best. Also, look out for signs that specifically prohibit pets in certain areas, such as inside the restroom or other facilities.

**For the "show me" nitpickers: Table of State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles

  • 3
    "For the "show me" nitpickers". Nitpicking helps to show the resilience of an answer and thereby improve its quality. Welcome nitpicking when it helps improve your answer's quality.
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 13, 2016 at 16:32
  • Thanks. The extra key method hadn't occurred to me. I think that should work well. Aug 13, 2016 at 16:33
  • @IanEagleson if this answer works for you please mark it accepted, thanks
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 13, 2016 at 21:40

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