Most dogs love to go for a ride in the car. Believe it or not, dogs actually love to be with their owners more than just being in the car, which can be a lot of fun as long as you keep your pup safe as he rides. Just remember that it’s important to keep your dog from being a distraction as you drive, which can mean having him ride in a dog car seat or the cargo hold. Here are a few tips to help you travel with your dog safely.
Do Not Leave Your Dog in the Car Alone
While we shouldn’t have to say it, it is important to remember not to leave your dog in your car alone. Especially on a hot day. A dog can easily get heatstroke from sitting in a locked car. And this can be fatal! It’s also important to note that in many states, it is against the law to lock your dog in your car and can even be considered animal abuse.
And the same can also be said during the winter. When it is cold outside, it can be considered dog abuse to leave your dog in a freezing car, so make it a year-round rule to not leave your dog alone in your car.
Dog Carriers and Crates
A dog may actually feel safer in a car if he is in his own carrier or crate – this article goes through some well-built options. Plus, if he is settled in a carrier, it will be less distracting for the driver as well as safer.
A dog crate is one of the best solutions for traveling with a dog in a car since a lot of dogs love them. They feel safer and calmers in a crate, and it so much easier to transport a dog in a carrier. Plus, you can use that same crate when you get to your destination.
Remember that not all dog carriers and crates will work with a car. Look for crates that are designed specifically for car use and are travel-friendly. This type of crate will not only be more comfortable for your pup to ride in, but also more secure.
Deal With Your Pup’s Travelling Jitters
While there are many dogs that enjoy a ride in the car, it’s not true for every dog. Some pups find it scary, which can be difficult when you need to go to the vet.
It’s important that you accept that your dog has a real fear. You will need to desensitize him slowly with positive, but short trips to the park. And don’t forget the treats!
Remember that if you and your dog only travel to the vet in the car or to the kennel, why would your dog be excited to get in the car? The car has a negative association as far as your dog is concerned. So, it’s important to make the car ride experience enjoyable by rewarding him as soon as he gets into the car.
Don’t push too hard at first, or too fast. If you force your dog, it’s only reinforcing the negative association. You may want to only play near the car at first, and then in it before you actually go on a quick trip. That will allow him to acclimate.
Believe it or not, dogs are able to remember landmarks, streets, and the directions that a car turns at certain locations. A dog can get excited if he recognizes the drive to the dog park while he may be scared on the ride to the veterinarian’s office. In these situations, it’s important to use more rewards and positive training.
It really just comes down to training your dog in the process of riding in a car as well as how to adjust to the environment. Remember if you dedicate the time to train him, you will soon see the benefits that will last the rest of his life.
Don’t Wait For An Emergency
Emergencies can be stressful enough without having to deal with more than you have to or taking longer than necessary. If you prep your dog for riding in the car before an emergency happens, it can save you a lot of time and stress.
If you haven’t trained him before an emergency happens, it may be better to just leave your pup at home or leave him with a dog sitter or neighbor. It’s not worth putting your dog through more than he is ready for since a bad association can be harder for a dog to deal with than if he was just an inexperienced car rider.
Buckle Him Up
An airbag can be dangerous for a dog, just like they are for children. Make sure you anchor your dog’s carrier or crate with a seatbelt or use a restraint harness to help prevent the carrier from shifting in the event of a sudden stop or accident. Remember that in some states it’s against the law for a dog to move around a vehicle freely.
Fortunately, there are also seat belts that are specifically designed for dogs. You can use them to restrain your dog so he will stay secure. Some of the harnesses will attach to the harness your dog is wearing while others work with the carrier or carte to keep them securely in your car.
Remember An ID Tag
Make sure your dog is wearing a proper ID tag when you travel. You will need to stop on a long trip and let your dog out of the car in case he gets away from you. Always keep your dog on a leash when you are in an unfamiliar place but having the ID tag is just another level of insurance that will give you peace of mind.
Dog Carrier or Backpack
It’s important to have certain items with you when you travel in a car with your dog. You should always have a water bowl, leash, and bags to pick up poop. A dog carrier or backpack can be a handy way to carry all these items as well as anything else your dog may require.