Travelling With Your Dog

Are you planning a trip with your dog over the summer holidays? Read my tips for car journeys with your dog

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How Do I Prepare My Dog For Travel?

Make sure you feed your dog a few hours before you travel to make sure they’re not sick on the journey. You should also ensure that you’ve given them chance to go to the toilet before you travel to make sure there are no accidents on the way.

I usually suggest taking them on a walk beforehand so they’re less likely to get agitated and can have a bit of a rest on the way there. Any medication that your dog is on should be given before you leave too, including calming aids.

How Do I Keep My Dog Calm While Travelling?

There are multiple things you can do for this. Being calm yourself can actually help your dog’s behaviour. Try different types of music too and see which is your dog’s favourite as this will help to keep them calm. You can also use calming aids and products such as Pet Remedy, Adaptil or Queezibics. As a last resort for serious cases your vet can prescribe some stronger calming medication for the journeys.

Making sure you know your dog’s preferences when it comes to where they’re sat can help too – some dogs like being able to look out of the window, some like being sat next to someone else, some like being sat in the middle. You can also purchase items such as booster seats for your dog or car beds if they prefer a bit of comfort.

It is important to keep them nice and cool while travelling so opening a window (as long as they are suitably secured) or having the aircon on during hot days will come in handy! A hot dog is a stressed dog!

Where Should My Dog Sit In The Car?

Your dog should be sat somewhere where they can’t distract you or get in the way of your driving. By law you need to travel with your dog in a secure place and suitably restrained. There are multiple different ways you can do this such as using a harness with a seat belt adaptor, a crate or a dog barrier.

The safest and most suitable way to restrain your dog is by a harness and seat belt as it provides the best control, however some dogs don’t like being so restrained. A crate in the boot can mean the dog is suitably contained but provides no support while you brake/turn corners. A dog barrier means your dog can’t get into the front of the car but also means they are still free to jump or move around the back of your car.

I personally find my dog suits a harness and seat belt adaptor and being on a seat where he can see through the middle of the car as well as out of the window. That option also allows you to modify how tightly restrained they are by adjusting the length of the seatbelt adaptor.

What Should I Bring With Me?

Take some of your dog’s food with you if you’re going to be travelling for a very long time. Taking a supply of water for whenever you stop so your dog can have a drink means you’re not going to be paying extortionate prices for service station bottled water either.

It’s a nice idea to take a blanket or bed for long journeys so your dog has a bit of comfort while travelling and perhaps even a toy so you can burn off some of their energy and let them stretch their legs while on your breaks.

Taking top ups of your calming aids is beneficial too – so if using Pet Remedy or Adaptil make sure you take the spray or wipes that you have been using to “top up” on your journey. It is also a smart idea to take a basic pet first aid box with you just in case of any emergencies/accidents that may happen.

How Often Should I Stop?

I usually recommend stopping once an hour or hour and a half at most. If you’re getting tired of driving or need the toilet, chances are your dog is feeling the same too. Just a few minutes for a stop may add some time onto your journey but it’ll make it run a lot smoother.

Five Top Tips For Travelling With Your Pet

  1. Take corners slowly – you might be able to hold yourself up, but your dog can’t!
  2. Take frequent breaks.
  3. Try not to shout at your dog if they’re making noise – in their eyes you’re just shouting back at them.
  4. Talking to them and being nice to them often calms them down – the calmer you sound the happier they’ll be.
  5. Brake gradually where possible, a sudden brake will result in them flying forward and could hurt them.

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