Taking your dog on a car ride? Read more about how to make your car ride a pleasant experience for both you and your dog! Read on for car traveling tips you need to know!
Spring is here and the days are getting more enjoyable for being out and about. The nicer weather means road trips. Why not take your best friend (of the 4-legged kind) with you! Before you do, there are some do’s and dont’s when it comes to dogs and car travel.
Most dogs love riding with you in the car. Just picture the world through your dogs eyes as he takes in all the scenery, smells, and sounds of the world around him. It can be utterly exciting, and overwhelming, at the same time. Imagine how thrilled he will be when he gets to go wherever you go.
However, if you find that your pet is anxious about the car at first, try introducing it slowly. Allow them to get into your vehicle while it is parked and not running. Give him ample time to adjust to the new space and be comfortable with it. Sit in the car with your dog and reassure him that it is a positive experience. You may need to do this a few times.
After you feel he has gotten comfortable with that, you can introduce more such as starting the engine and turning on the radio while you stay parked in the driveway. Once you feel that your dog has reached a level of comfort with this, try taking small trips around the block or the neighborhood. Remember to praise your dog when you complete each exercise. This builds his confidence and his trust, while also creating a positive experience. Before you know it, you and your canine BFF will be on your way to more trips together!
Note: You shouldn’t limit your dog’s car experience with only trips to the Veterinarian. Doing so creates an association of car rides and dread. Dogs and cars only work well together when you make them enjoyable for your pet.
Once you have a comfortable and confident roadie by your side, remember there are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to riding in the car with your dogs.
Here are the TOP 5 tips for car rides with your dog:
#1. Avoiding car sickness:
If your dog tends to get car sick there are some ways you can help alleviate this issue by having them travel on an empty stomach. Try to eliminate feeding your dog for up to a few hours prior to the ride. It is essential to always provide fresh water to them at all times though. Also, keep the car well ventilated. If your dog is crated, make sure the air can flow through the crate.
It may also help to keep extra supplies of rags, doggie waste bags, and cleaning products in your vehicle for such emergencies. If it remains a frequent issue, you should consult with your veterinarian to see if a sedative or mild tranquilizer would be helpful.
#2. Make frequent stops:
If your car ride will be a long one, you should plan bathroom breaks for your dog. Stopping frequently gives your dog the opportunity to relieve himself, get out and stretch for a bit, and get some exercise. Long trips can cause your dog to become restless, so by planning pit stops he can release some energy and keep him calmer in the car.
#3. Avoid boring rides:
Lengthy car rides can become boring for everyone, including your dog (unless he’s a sound sleeper)! If it will be a linger than usual ride, consider bringing some new toys along. Providing new toys will alleviate the boredom and keep your dog mentally stimulated and occupied. Much like keeping your child content and occupied in the car, the same goes for dogs. And if you are traveling with kids, be mindful that they are instructed not to tease or annoy the dog while in the car as well.
It is vitally important to keep your dog properly restrained during a ride, no matter what the length of the trip may be. Unrestrained dogs run the same risks as humans do in the event of an accident. Loose dogs can also cause serious distractions for the driver. Driving with your dog on your lap is also extremely dangerous for the dog and for the driver. Doing so causes drivers to be distracted, can cause accidents, and your pet can be seriously injured, or worse, by a deployed airbag.
Never allow your dog to ride with its full head out of the window. This is a very common cause of eye injuries. We all know that dogs love to smell the fresh air on a car trip, but I would suggest allowing a smaller opening. This way he can still enjoy the fresh air, but also avoid risk of injury or potentially jumping from a moving vehicle. And finally, it should go without saying, but never let your dog ride in the back of an open truck.
Never leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle. As an example, for instance, on an average 70°F day, the temperature inside a vehicle could reach over 100°F in only an hour. On an 80°F day, the internal temperature of a vehicle can reach over 100°F in only 10 minutes. Think about that for a moment. Dogs in a hot car is an absolute no no. Cracking the window is not enough as it will do little to offer any relief. On the other hand, be mindful of freezing temperatures as well. Hypothermia could be the result if your dog is left unattended during the bitter winter months.
Hope these tips gave you something to think about and will help to make your trips in the car a positive experience for both your dog and for you. After all, we all want what is best for our canine companions. If you can think of other tips or tricks that were useful for you and your dogs, let me know! Or if you find this article useful, drop me a comment below! We can all learn from each other.