Taking dogs on car rides can seen intimidating at first but these simple tips will help you and the pup enjoy the journey. Dogs can be prone to car sickness and other accidents in the car, as well as increased stress levels.
If you want to make the car ride easier for both yourself and your dog, there are a few things you can do to make the car ride a more enjoyable experience. Who knows — your dog may even start to like the car!
Tips For Dogs On Car Rides
1. Vary Car Rides
If you only ever take your dog on a car ride when it’s time for a vet visit, they’re going to have negative associations with the car. After all, every time they get in one, they end up with an uncomfortable visit and some shots!
Make sure you take them on car rides to good places so the association can be a more positive one. Even if it’s just to the Starbucks drive-through for a Puppuccino, your dog will thank you for it.
2. Consider Food and Water
If it’s a short car ride, consider withholding food and water beforehand if they’re prone to accidents. Letting them drink and eat right before the ride will increase the chances of a mess.
If the car ride is a little longer (over an hour), you might want to limit the food, but not withdraw it completely. It’s all about finding the line for your pup, and it may take a few experimental rides.
3. Make Sure They’re Secure
Although it can be tempting to let your dog ride in the passenger seat unrestrained, or even in your lap, don’t do it. If you end up in an accident, this increases the chance of your dog getting hurt.
Instead, restrain them in the back seat. You can use a travel crate for a small dog which may help with anxiety, or get a seatbelt clip that attaches to a harness.
If you do insist on having them ride in the passenger seat, make sure the airbag is turned off there.
4. Take Plenty of Rest Stops
Your dog needs more rest stops than you! Stop every hour or two so they can relieve themselves and have a drink if it’s a long car ride, especially if they’re a puppy.
If they haven’t received a full set of vaccines yet, you should be careful when letting them out at gas stations, however. Parvovirus can live on the ground for a long time, so set training pads down or move away from where other dogs may have walked.
5. Provide Toys
Since your dog is likely to get bored on a long car ride, make sure you provide plenty of stimulation! Chew toys and bully sticks can help, or you can freeze banana, peanut butter, or doggy ice cream in a KONG which should provide some stimulation and keep them busy for a while.
All in all, if your puppy is safe, secure, stimulated, and doesn’t have a very negative association with car rides, they should be just fine.
Taking dogs on car rides need never be a worry again.
Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.