Dog car travel can be either fun or challenging for you and your dog. To have fun, you first need to get your dog used to riding in the car. The best way is to start with short trips to places such as pet stores, the dog park, or other fun places for your dog. Your dog will learn that car trips mean great fun, and you will have much less hassle when traveling longer distances.
How Will Your Dog Car Travel?
Decide how your dog will travel in the car. If your dog is crate trained, and your vehicle is large enough, consider crating your dog during car travel. The crate prevents your dog from roaming around the car and offers some protection in case of an accident. The crate will also help keep your dog safe and happy once you arrive at your destination.
You may choose to use other forms of restraint, such as a dog seat harness that hooks on to your car’s seatbelt. You can choose in which seat to put your dog, who will remain restrained in that seat just as you are in yours. Canine seatbelts offer excellent protection in an accident.
If you prefer to keep your dog loose in the car, you may want to consider installing a divider. Metal dividers and mesh dividers are available for all budgets. These devices let your dog have some roaming space in the back of the vehicle without interfering with your driving.
Whichever way you prefer to travel, it’s best to have a plan well in advance of a trip to get your dog used to the method of restraint you will be using.
Dog Car Travel Supplies
The next thing to consider is what supplies you need to take with you. Make sure your dog has plenty of water available at all times. You may not be able to find clean, drinkable water at rest stops along the way, so it is important to have an ample supply of your own. Some dogs will drink directly from bottles, but if your dog does not, make sure you have a bowl for dog car travel. If your dog will be crated, you can purchase a water bottle that attaches to the crate, just like those used for small animals such as gerbils.
Make sure you have an ample supply of food. A dog’s digestive system gets used to his regular food. You do not want to run the risk of not being able to find your dog’s usual food or you may be dealing with loose stool or vomiting.
You also want to take favorite toys to help keep your dog occupied during travel. It’s a good idea to take your veterinary records with you. Some places where you may stay require up-to-date records proving vaccination history. If your dog gets sick, you will need your records. Some states require health certificates for interstate travel; check with your veterinarian if you need a certificate.
You may also want to have grooming supplies with you.
Other Dog Car Travel Tips
Make sure to take frequent potty breaks along the way as sometimes the motion of the car and stress of traveling makes a dog need to go more often than usual. Dogs also need to stretch their legs frequently, just as you do.
If you will be staying in a hotel during your travels, make sure in advance that they allow dogs. There are many resources on the Internet to help you find dog friendly accommodations.
Some dogs get stressed out during travel. If this has been your experience in the past, make sure you talk with your veterinarian before travel. Medications are available to help calm your dog during long car trips.
By following this advice and the advice of your veterinarian, dog car travel can be a great experience for both you and your dog, if you have additional tips or advice not mentioned in our dog car travel page, please share them with us.