It can be a real struggle getting your dog used to the car, some are perfectly relaxed but our pup, Otto definitely did not like being in the back. It has taken a few months to get him used to it. He still has a few moans if he has the energy but on the whole is now quiet and relaxed. Here are a few ideas and tips and advice from others we have brought together for you:
It’s all in the preparation...
Make sure you have packed up your dog's items before leaving the house:
- Lead, collar and tag. Make sure you pack the gear for when they get out of the car. Most dogs are now chipped however you may also have an ID tag.
- Food, water, bowls. Make sure you have lots of water, especially if the weather in warm. Along with their bowl and the food they normally eat. Sometimes people take food that is easier to transport like dried, but note that changing your dogs diet can affect their tummy especially combined with possible motion sickness. We found it easier to stick with his raw food, and put in a cool bag with an ice block - to keep fresh. Also worth having some treats on you to reward good behaviour.
- Blanket toys and poo bags It is worth bringing along bedding or blankets for comfort and warmth in those colder months, as they will settle easier, but not essential. However Poo bags are essential and we like the biodegradable ones. Accidents can happy with puppies as they need to go to loo a lot more often, however stopping every 20/30 mins can help. Regular stops for toilet breaks are essential for dogs of all ages and will definitely make your car journey smoother. Bringing their favourite toy will also provide them with comfort.
- Old towel. Handy to have on hand for wiping muddy paws.
If you need something to put all the pooch items in, get yourself a funky doggy bag. It will definitely get you some comments!
We found that Otto did not like to be restricted to the back of the car and was keen to be roaming around with his head out the window. (if you do put your dog in the back make sure your boot is a good enough size for your dog to be able to relax)
Despite wanting to relieve him of his stress of being in the boot, it is extremely dangerous to allow your dog to roam in the car, so avoid bad habits. If your dog is crate trained or likes being in the crate, then it is worth having this in the car. It is also worth investing in a guard to stop them jumping over. Check that the guard you select can be securely attached to the interior framework of your vehicle, and that it’s rated to restrain the weight of your dog in an accident.
You have all heard the saying ‘dog die in hot cars’, this is something to take seriously in the warmer months. As opening a window may not be enough.
Talking to your Vet
We would definitely recommend discussing car travel with your vet especially any challenges you are having. Our challenge was getting Otto used to the car and enjoying being in their. The Vet's advice was to simply spend more time in the back of the car and making positive associations. I.e Otto likes his food, so reward him when he is in the back, both before and after the journey. Even feed him his food in the back of the car so he thinks it a great place! He does not ‘love’ being in the car but at six months he is no longer distressed and settles eventually.
All puppies and dogs will have different challenges so it is worth discussing these with your Vet.
We would love to hear your tips and tricks of how you manage your dogs time in the car. You comment below..