Travelling in the Car with Dogs

Travelling with any pet can be stressful for both the pet and the owner, but for dogs the change of routine and the unfamiliar surroundings can be even more unsettling.

Car travel is probably the most common form of transport your dog with need to be used to. It is worth remembering that whilst the welfare of your dog is very important, ensuring the dog does not compromise the safety of the passengers in the car is even more important. With this in mind, you should decide how you are going to restrain your dog within the car. This can be done in several ways: a travel crate, car harness or boot guard.

Dog Boot Guards

Using a boot guard will give your dog the largest area of space, depending on the type of car your have. It allows free movement around the car boot but stops the dog jumping into the other parts of the car or being flung into the passengers in the event of an accident. There are different types of boot guard, adjustable ones with Bars which can be changed to fit the width and height of the car, mesh guards which are more lightweight but still keep the boot separated, and manufacturer fitted guards. These will be made to fit your make and model of car exactly and can also include guards to fit across the rear of the boot allowing the door to be opened without the dog being able to jump out. Do expect to pay a premium for the manufacturers car guards though. If you do choose to transport your dog in your boot you may also want to consider using a boot protector or mat to protect your car from wear and tear.

Dog Travel Crates

Travel crates are very useful and can be used both in the boot of the car and on the car seats if space permits. There are many travel crates on the market so it is important to look for a good quality crate with secure catches on the doors and with a strong plastic or metal base. Most dog crates are square but you can also buy them with one side slanted to fit in a boot with a slanted boot door. Crates should be big enough for a dog to stand upright and lie down in.

Travel Harness’

Travel harness’ are essential if you want your dog to sit on the car seats. An unsecured dog can be flung forward in a collision and be injured, and could also seriously injure any passenger it hits. A proper car harness should have a strap that goes around the dogs neck with no clips of joints in to make it as secure as possible. Most travel harness’ also have adapter which will fit into a cars seatbelt buckle to keep it in place.

Car sickness in dogs

Just like people, some dogs do not travel well. Travel sickness can be in the form of motion sickness or to much stress making the dog sick. Signs of a dog having travel sickness can include vomiting, salivation, barking, whining, toileting and general restlessness. If the sickness is motion sickness you can help stop this by making sure the dog travels on an empty stomach, or by using anti sickness tablets. If your dog has a fear of travelling in the car there are a number of techniques you can try to help. The most best way is to desensitise your dog is to start by getting it to sit in a stationary car and give rewards when it remains calm. Then start with short journeys, again with lots of praise and rewards when the dog remains calm for the journey and work your way up to longer journeys. You could also use a pheromone product such as Adaptil to help calm and reassure your dog.

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