Best motorway service stations for drivers travelling with dogs this Christmas

Best motorway service stations for drivers travelling with dogs this Christmas


Devoted dog owners plan to take their dogs on a road trip with them this Christmas to celebrate the festivities with friends and family – and have ranked the best dog-friendly motorway service stations to make a pit stop along the way.

The average dog owner will travel 111 miles across the country with their furry friends this festive season, according to a poll of 1,852 people.

And three-quarters of those (74%) worry about the best places to safely stop to let their beloved pet burn off some energy – with 72% making at least one stop every two hours for their pooch.

And the survey revealed that the best motorway service station for dog-friendly facilities was Killington Lake services in Kendal, on the M6.

This was followed by Telford services in Shropshire, on the M54, and Oxford services, on the M40.

And rounding out the top five was Tebay services in Penrith, Cumbria – also on the M6 – and Reading services, on the M4.

The study was conducted by CarStore, which also created a useful Pooch Pitstop Planner tool that automatically generates potential pitstops.

Kim Costello said: “Our dogs are our family too, and making concessions for them while travelling is important.

“We have no doubt that all the stops on our list of motorway services cater in some way to the needs of our four-legged friends – but other factors such as a calm atmosphere, space to walk away from the road and, importantly, places to go to the toilet, make some stations more suitable than others.

“The service station voted the best by dog owners, Killington Lake near Kendall, boasts picturesque green space purposely situated far away from the motorway, a pretty picnic area, and a dog-friendly approach.”

Of those respondents who plan to travel in the car with their dogs over the Christmas period, a conscientious 43% will plan their route with breaks in mind for their pups at reasonable intervals.

This is above and beyond the planning they would typically need to do – with 61% admitting they stop more often with their dog in the car than they would if they were driving alone.

Just over a third (34%) of drivers travelling with dogs this Christmas will make their trips with more than one furry friend in tow.

And almost two-thirds (63%) admit they often put the comfort of their dog ahead of their own when travelling.

This level of care is unsurprising, given that 71% of all respondents in the survey consider their dog a treasured member of the family.

Of those who travel with their dogs, a third (33%) will make sure their pet is secured in the back seat, while one in six (17%) will let them ride up front – something that’s strongly advised against by experts, due to airbags and proximity to the windshield and driver.

The study, conducted by, found 77% have concerns about stopping off with their dog at an unsuitable location.

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A wary third are worried their pet might accidentally get hit by traffic on a stop, and a further 33% fear their pup might feel anxious at all the noise at the services.

One in five fret that their dog might go to the toilet during a stop in an area where they cannot clean it up, and 25% have concerns about them experiencing sensory overload.

Kim Costello, from CarStore, added: “We hope that our tool can be of use to the millions of dog-loving Brits out there planning their travels over the festive season.”

The research follows the car sales brand’s partnership with the canine experts at Battersea, to make their centres more dog-friendly by training their Personal Advisors accordingly – meaning drivers can find the vehicle best for them, as well as their four-legged friends.

Rob Bays, canine behaviour and training manager at Battersea, said: “Christmas should be fun for all the family – including our pets, whose comfort and safety should be considered amongst the festivities.

“When travelling with pets, it's important to ensure you stop during your journey to allow your dog time for an all-important comfort break and chance to stretch their legs.

“Whilst each dog has their own specific needs, we recommend factoring in a break at least every two hours.

“Planning stops in advance will ensure your pets’ needs will be taken care of, and will give owners peace of mind so they can enjoy the festive season.

“Christmas time is also often filled with lots of festive treats and sweets. It’s important to make sure these are well out of your dog’s reach when in the car, as many of these treats can be harmful to our pets.

“Making sure that your dog has access to fresh drinking water throughout your journey – a travel bottle is great for this – is also important, and don’t forget to ensure they still receive their regular meals.”


  1. Killington Lake, M6
  2. Telford, M54
  3. Oxford, M40
  4. Tebay, M6
  5. Reading, M4
  6. Wetherby, A1(M)
  7. Chester, M56
  8. Norton Canes, M6
  9. Cherwell Valley, M40
  10. Northampton, M1
  11. Gloucester, M5
  12. Donington, M1
  13. Winchester, M3
  14. Woodall, M1
  15. Cobham, M25
  16. Fleet, M3
  17. Taunton Deane, M5
  18. Sedgemoor North, M5
  19. Hartshead Moor, M62
  20. Clacket Lane, M25
  21. Chieveley, M4
  22. Warwick, M40
  23. Tibshelf, M1
  24. Corley, M6
  25. Hopwood Park, M42
  26. Stafford North, M6
  27. Baldock, A1(M)
  28. Cairn Lodge, M74
  29. Peterborough, A1(M)
  30. Tamworth, M42
  31. Gretna, A74(M)
  32. Stafford South, M6
  33. Leigh Delamere, M4
  34. Michaelwood, M5
  35. Pease Pottage, M23
  36. Sedgemoor South, M5
  37. Exeter, M5
  38. Strensham, M5
  39. Burton-in-Kendal, M6
  40. Rownhams, M27

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