At some point in your dog’s life, there is a high chance that it will need to travel in the car with you. It might be to the vet or it might be somewhere more fun like the beach. Either way, ensuring your dog gets from A to B safely is an important consideration.
Free and wild
Some owners choose to let their dogs roam freely around the car. There are a number of factors to consider if you are going to do this including the breed of your dog as well as the brand of your car. If you have a Mercedes S-Class with a cream interior, it’s probably not the wisest idea to let your Great Dane have free rein of the back seats. Unless you want a very expensive valet bill.
Slightly smaller dogs can fit quite comfortably in the boot and some of them actually quite enjoy it. If you have an estate car and are happy to buy a cage for it, you can make a spacious area for your pooch to travel in. The dog will have room to move around but can’t jump into the seats, giving you an element of control over the situation.
Some dogs love the feel of wind in their ears. Everyone has seen that car with the dog’s head hanging out the sun roof or lolling out the passenger window. If you make the decision to let your dog in the main part of the car with you, ensure they are very well-behaved. The last thing you want is a Labrador making a break for freedom when you approach traffic lights.
Bear in mind that not all dogs like to travel. Some of them get scared while others suffer from motion sickness. For those that have experienced this, it is not a fun situation to be in so try to make the journey as comfortable as possible. Dog crates are ideal for pups that are a little more nervous because it can make them feel a little safer. If they have a favourite toy, it’s always worth bringing it with you, particularly if they’re very attached to it. In the same way that you wouldn’t take your child on holiday without their teddy, don’t leave the house without the dog toy.
Adding a soft blanket to the cage also helps to increase the comfort of your dog. If they have a blanket in their bed at home, it’s worth using that one, or even having another one very similar that is just for car use. Whatever you do, don’t forget to take spares. If you do have a little accident, your dog (and your car’s interior) will thank you later for having replacement blankets and towels. Think of your dog as a toddler and it may help to remember what you need to take with you for outings.
It may be worthwhile using a cage or crate for the first car journey that your dog experiences. Their reaction will allow you to gauge whether or not they would be more comfortable being able to roam about the car or if their excitement is just too much to handle to make the journey a safe one. Always ensure that you put safety first, both for yourself and your pet. The last thing you want is a puppy jumping onto your lap for a face lick when you’re trying to navigate through rush-hour traffic.