Sometimes, you have to take your dog for a trip in the car. Whether it's down the street or across the country, it can be a hassle if your pooch is not a fan of riding. These tips for traveling with dogs should help make your journey safe and comfortable for your pup and your passengers.
Think of how strange it must feel for your dog to ride in the car. He can't understand what is going on or why he's moving. He doesn't even know where you're taking him. There are a few ways to help your dog feel more safe and secure in the car, leading to a more pleasant experience for everyone.
Most dogs will warm up to riding in the car very quickly, and they'll grow to enjoy it very much. However, if your Fido suffers from anxiety it may be a bit harder to get him to come around. These tips for traveling with dogs will help, no matter which situation you may be in.
4 Essential Tips For Traveling With Dogs
1. Safety First
Many people think it's okay to drive around with their dog loose in the backseat. This is NOT safe – not for your or for your dog. It's also dangerous for everyone else on the road.
When roaming the car loose, your dog could get into trouble by getting stuck in-between seats, under seats or even in the trunk. Even worse, he could get under your foot and potentially push on the pedals.
Your dog may knock the gear stick, making you stop suddenly. This could easily cause an accident while driving. There are numerous ways that your pet could unintentionally cause a serious accident, harming you and others on the road.
To prevent any issues when traveling with dogs, your pooch should be secured while riding in the car. Not only will this keep everyone safe, it can also help him to feel more comfortable.
Never feel badly about crating your pet while in the car – many times, it provides him with a sense of security. When using a dog travel crate, make sure it's large enough for your pup to stand up and turn around in.
The dog crate should be well-ventilated. Make sure it is secured in the backseat so that it won't slide or move due to sudden stops.
If you don't have a crate, you can still secure your dog using a seat belt harness. This will allow you to hook him to the seat belt, ensuring he can't move too much. For smaller pets, special dog booster car seats that attach to the seat belt can also be used.
When going with this option and putting your dog into a booster car seat, make sure everything is properly connected and is stable before you head out. Your dog should be safely secured in the car seat before you set off.
When in the car, even if you are just on a quick jaunt, you never know what could happen. Most people keep a first aid kit in their vehicle for themselves, so why not put together a first aid kit for your dog as well?
Having an emergency kit for your dog ensures you are prepared in case there is an accident, traffic, or car trouble that results in a breakdown. It's easy to keep this kit in your glove box or trunk so it's out of the way.
An emergency kit for your dog should contain several things. The most important is water. If you get stuck in traffic or breakdown, you may be stranded for hours. In this time, your dog will need water (you probably will too!).
Keeping a gallon jug in the car is an easy way to keep you and your dog hydrated. It also ensures you have clean water available no matter where you stop.
A spare dog collar, leash, and dog ID tags are other good things to keep in your kit. This means you're ready in case something breaks or gets lost. Another no-brainer is poop bags. You never know when your dog is going to have to go, and it's not cool to just leave waste wherever it drops!
Food and treats are another thing to keep in your vehicle. You don't need a lot, but just a few, well-preserved options ensures your ready in case of emergency. Treats are also a great way to lure your dog back in case he gets loose.
Make sure you keep any food and treats well sealed and packed away in a covered spot in your car. Check to see the quality of the food often; replace anything spoiled immediately.
3. Gradual Introduction
Do you know you have a big trip coming up? A vacation or a big move? If so, don't expect to just throw your pup in the car the day you leave. Take your time and get him used to the car well in advance.
This will help your canine companion become more comfortable with car rides. This will help to decrease the amount of whining, howling, and squirming you'll have to deal with on the long trip.
To start, take your pooch on trips in the car just down the street. Make sure to give a lot of praise and treats! If you can go somewhere close by that you know your dog loves, like the dog park or a pet store, make this trip often so he associates car rides with something good.
As your pet gets used to the short rides, start going farther and farther away. Keep up with the praise and treats so your dog knows there is a reward for behaving in the car. Eventually, he'll enjoy long or short vehicle trips.
READ MORE: Dog Travel Tips – How to Vacay with Your Pet
4. Hot Car Warning!
Although everyone should know this, when traveling with dogs, never, ever leave your pooch unattended in a car. Cars act as insulators – they can heat up to exorbitant temperatures very quickly, leading to serious issues with your dogs' health.
A dog can die after only a short time alone in a hot car. If you need to stop quickly, take your dog with you.
To a lesser extent, cars in cold weather can be the same. Temperatures in the car can drop, and your dog may freeze. No matter what the temperature is when you are traveling, don't leave your dog in the car!
Traveling with dogs is never something to look forward to, but with these tips, you should be able to make it manageable, whether you are going across town or across the country. Just remember that for your dog, traveling in the car can be very scary.
It's a new experience that he may not be comfortable with. Instead of getting frustrated, rely on praise, treats, and love to get you through!