With summer just around the corner (we hope!), it’s likely we will be in the car more than usual as we make the most of getting out and about with our dogs. Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety and discomfort in the car which can lead to a stressful trip for both of you. Winnie loves travelling in the car with us as she know’s we’re usually heading somewhere exciting so we thought we would share some of our tips for happy travels.
Training your dog to go in the car:
It is so important to make sure your dog feels safe and comfortable in the car. This may come naturally to some dogs but others will need a careful introduction to the car to ensure they have a positive association with car travel.
- Where possible, introduce your dog to their car seat before you need to travel - allow them to test it out in the comfort of the house and build positive associations with the car seat. You want them to treat it in the same way they treat their bed.
- Start small - try out the car seat in a stationary car and reward with positive reinforcement for relaxed body language. When they are comfortable, progress to switching on the engine, and once happy with that, move on to short drives. Once they are happy to go on short journeys, you can slowly build up the length of journey.
- Make sure you introduce them to the car when they are as young as possible.
- Try to make your car journeys into a fun experience - a new walk destination, a day at the beach, a visit to family etc - if they only ever go in the car to the vets, it’s likely they will have a negative association with the car.
- Always travel with water and a bowl, you never know when you might get held up.
- Make sure you stop for regular loo breaks and to let your dog stretch their legs.
- Keep the car well ventilated - circulate your air con around the whole car, not just the driver!
- Never leave your dog unattended in the car on a hot day - car temperatures can rocket. When it is 21°C outside, the inside of a car can reach 40°C within 30 mins.
- Plan mealtimes around travel - try to avoid feeding your dog 2 hours before travel. If you have to feed them close to travelling, allow at least 20-30 mins for their food to go down.
- Exercise your dog before a long journey - a sleepy pup is a happy pup in the car!
- Use your car seat in the house as well as in the car so they associate it with being a comfy bed.
So whether you’re heading on a staycation or making the most of the sunny weather, prioritising your dogs safety and comfort in the car is critical. By investing in a reliable dog car seat, training your dog to get used to the car and implementing the right tips and tricks, you can significantly enhance your dogs experience in the car.
Remember, every dog is unique and some may require more time and patience to become comfortable in the car. Be patient, use positive reinforcement techniques and consult with a professional if needed.
We hope that your dogs enjoy the same positive association with car travel as Winnie does, allowing you to embark on many exciting adventures together, while keeping them comfortable, secure and happy throughout the journey.