Hey, we’re not the only ones with great ideas to make traveling with your pets easier and more fun. Today we have a guest post from Sonia Charry, author of the Big Dog Blog at PawPosse.com. If you’ve finally worked up the courage to try a trip with your dog or have added a new pooch to your family recently, these tips are like gold. Start here and your dog will be ready for his first road trip in no time!
Do you have visions of hitting the road with your dog? Whether your car rides together are to the vet or on a cross-country adventure, there are plenty of ways to make the trip enjoyable and safe for both you and your dog. Try these 4 tips to make car rides exciting for your dog and easy for you:
1. Make them positive
For many dogs, a car ride automatically means they’re going to the vet. If that’s the only time he gets in the car, he’ll quickly associate car rides with stress and pain. Instead, take your dog in the car for other reasons:
- Visit friends and family for an evening
- Explore a dog park on the other side of town
- Go for a day trip to a scenic stop nearby
- Head to the farmer’s market or any other dog-friendly event
You get the idea. Start with short trips and extend the distances as your dog gets more comfortable. Once a ride means adventure, your dog will be excited to get in the car.
2. Travel on an empty stomach
Dogs who get car sick will not enjoy the ride, no matter where it takes them. You won’t enjoy the clean-up either. To prevent car sickness, don’t feed your dog soon before you hit the road. (For more tips on preventing car sickness, read Causes And Cures For Car Sickness In Dogs.
3. Plan for your dog’s needs
If you’re planning on traveling a long distance, be sure you’ve planned for your dog’s needs. Schedule potty breaks, map out pet-friendly stops so your dog can stretch his legs, and check for ordinances that restrict or ban certain breeds. Work your dog up to longer distance drives so he’s used to spending more time in the car. If your dog gets nervous or antsy in the car, take him for a long walk before you take off – he’ll be tired out and more likely to sleep along the way.
4. Use the right equipment
Did you know that in an accident at 30 mph, an 80-pound dog becomes a 2400-pound projectile? That spells trouble for both you and your dog. Use safety equipment such as a crate or harness to keep your dog from flying around the cabin or being ejected in an accident.
You can also minimize your dog’s risk by using a hammock or barrier to keep your dog safely in the back seat. This reduces his risk of being thrown out of the car and eliminates the distraction of a dog trying to get attention while you’re driving.
And, don’t forget to protect your seats, too. A car seat cover or back seat hammock protects your upholstery from hair, nails, and muddy paws. It’s easier to clean a removable, washable cover than it is your nice interior.
That’s it! Having a car-adjusted dog is pretty simple once you put these four tips into practice. As a dog owner myself, I love that I can take my dog with me to various places and know that she’s just as excited to explore as I am.
Good luck and happy trails!
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