Tips for Traveling In The Car With Your Dog

Tips for Traveling In The Car With Your Dog

Whether you decide to take your dog on your vacation or just want to take him to the park it is important that your dog be safe and comfortable while traveling.

Safety First

For safety purposes it is best to have your dog either in a seat belt harness or in a crate while you travel. While some dogs are perfectly calm and aren’t a distraction for you, other dogs can be nervous or anxious while traveling and can cause you to become distracted and possibly cause an accident.

Follow these steps in order assure a safe enjoyable trip with your dog in tow: 

    • Before your trip, take your dog on a few short rides. The earlier in his life that you begin these rides, the more likely he will be comfortable. Make sure that you take him to places he wants to go and not just trips that involve events that he sees as negative like going to the veterinarian or to the groomer. He will associate traveling in the car with a positive experience if the majority of the time it is a positive experience. 
    • Make sure you are properly equipped. Check to make sure that your crate is large enough for your dog. Your crate should be at least 3 inches higher than your standing dog. But, not too big for him. This insures that he has enough room to move around but, also not too large so that it is thrown all over the place. 
    • Your crate should be properly restrained inside the car. It shouldn’t be allowed to slide around or knock up against something that might cause your dog harm. Don’t have him nestled up against the box of china you just bought from a yard sale. 
    • Give him something to do. If you are planning to be in the car for long periods of time make sure your dog has a chew toy or a blanket. Boredom can cause him to cry and distract you while you are driving. 
    • Some dogs get car sick so you shouldn’t feed him right before you leave, try to let him eat several hours before you leave. Just because he doesn’t get sick on short trips doesn’t mean he won’t get sick on long trips, sometimes it’s better for him to have an empty stomach than to throw up and mess up his kennel. 
    • If you notice your dog becoming stressed or anxious, it is best to stop more frequently. He may need to stretch and move around a little to feel better, especially older dogs, they become stiff easier than puppies. Dogs are often just like children in that they seem to sense that they are on a long trip and will therefore need to go to the bathroom more frequently. 
    • If you have to travel with your dog and he develops diarrhea or carsickness there are medications that your veterinarian can give you to help prevent the sickness. 

One Last Precaution

Even though we see it all the time out here in the country, it is not safe for your dog to hang his head out of the window of your car. Other than the obvious chance of debris hitting him in the face, there is also the risk of ruining his eyesight. The wind from the ride can cause your dog’s eyes to become dry and irritated to the point of needing medical attention.

Traveling with your dog can be one of the most enjoyable experiences of dog ownership if done properly. Taking the steps to insure his safety can help you and your dog have the best vacation you’ve ever had.

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