When my people say “car” I’m ready to go! In the past five months, I have logged over eight thousand road miles…I’ve been a dog on the go! During my travels, I’ve noticed some other dogs that don’t seem as thrilled to travel. I thought I would share a few tips for dog owners on how they can make their pooches as comfortable as my parents make me. Of course, you know, it IS all about our comfort!
The first concern is our safety. We like to ride any which way we can, but we depend on you to ensure our safety. While I personally do not travel in a crate, it is the safest means of transportation for your dog. In the event of an accident, or even a sudden maneuver, your dog will not be tossed about the car. In fact, to ensure even greater safety, buckle in the crate if at all possible.
If you cannot/do not wish to crate, then utilize a dog harness to buckle us in! My mom most often uses a harness, with ample leash to allow me access to the window, but not so much that I would be ejected from the car if an accident occurred. Leashing me in the car also ensures I cannot jump out as soon as the door is open, giving my parents time to properly leash me for an exercise and potty break.
When I am not harnessed, I am still secured. My mom attaches my leash to my collar and then runs the seat belt through the leash handle, to provide some level of protection. Again, this will help your dog from being tossed about or ejected in an accident.
The second most important concern is our comfort. I am generally afforded the entire back seat, which is covered with my seat cover, dog bed and my blanket. At first I didn’t understand the seat cover and tried to get in the car underneath of it! My parents love it because it protects the seat, but also provides a barrier between the back and front seats, which is intended to limit my desire to ride up front, but also provides a barrier, so in the event of a sudden stop I am not thrown forward.
Regardless if your dog rides in a crate or in the open car, provide a comfortable sleeping mat, maintain a nice temperature, and from time to time let us have some fresh air.
The most important aspect of our comfort is to provide us ample exercise and potty breaks! Keep us as close to our regular schedule as is possible, and pay attention to our behaviors. Travel can upset any dog’s system…when we have to go, we have to go! Let us stretch our legs, check out who has been there before us, and do our business. If we eat a little grass, know that we may be getting car sick and need more frequent breaks, fresh air, or more consistent driving on your part. (Before you travel a great distance with your dog, you may want to visit your vet for some medication to ease motion sickness.)
While exercise breaks may be the ideal time to feed us, know that some of us may not eat while traveling and that’s ok. However, do provide us ample opportunities to have water! We can quickly become dehydrated and sick. My parent’s have a great watering contraption that includes a refillable bottle that snaps into a holder which becomes a drinking bowl. Whatever you use, just make sure your dog has fresh water often.
Finally, know that we like routine. If you normally have a quiet home, don’t suddenly blare your music in the car or argue, it will unsettle us. If it’s our bedtime, help us settle in by creating a pleasant environment.
And one more thing…if you smoke in your car, please provide your dog plenty of fresh air. We were not designed to sit in a closed car trying to breath in a cloud of smoke.
Once you arrive at your destination, be patient with us as we settle in and find our place. We will find comfort more quickly if you bring our belongings in, let us know where you expect us to sleep, eat, and show us where to play and do our business.
We love to spend time with you and most of us enjoy riding…I hope you and your dog(s) have many safe travels together!