Mind Your Puppy’s Climate
Puppies are especially susceptible to changes in temperature. Compared to adult dogs, theyre more adversely affected by climates that are especially hot or cold. So its important to make sure your puppys traveling location is at a safe temperatureand to remember that even if you feel comfortable, the same might not be true for your pup.
For example, Anderson says, the air conditioning vents on airplanes are often located beneath the seatswhich is where a puppys carrier is typically stored. It can be frigid for dogs on planes! So if youre flying with a dog, provide a blanket or shirt for them to snuggle in their carrier, and check on them often to ensure theyre comfortable. Pro tip: If you sleep with the blanket or shirt the night before you travel, itll have your scent on it, which can be calming for your puppy.
Environments that are too warm have the same risks. On road trips, for example, the backseat can sometimes get much hotter than the front seats, especially when driving during the summer and/or in warmer environments. Check the temperature in the back seat frequently during your trip. Also, make sure to have frequent water breaks. A cooling pad can help keep your pet comfortable, too.
Safely Restraining Your Dog In A Car
First, get a harness for your dog.
If you restrain your dog using only a collar, your pet may get strangled if you get into a wreck, especially if you rear-end someone. A harness may protect the dogs neck and spine.
We prefer fabric harnesses that wrap around the dogs neck and torso. Many also have a loop on the top through which you can thread the seat belt.
The PoyPet No-Pull Dog Harness has a reflective vest, a leash connection on both the front and back, and was less than $20. Worth every penny.
Dog seat belts attach to harnesses, keeping your dog immobilized in the back seat.
There are 2 basic models:
Either kind will work. Choose the one that works best for your car.
This and easy to use.
Remember: Dont attach the seat belt to your dogs collar attach it to the dogs harness instead, to avoid strangulation.
A small dog who loves to look out the car window will enjoy having a booster seat.
How To Train Your Puppy For Car Rides
Amy Shojai, CABC, is an animal behavior expert and award-winning writer with over 25 years of hands-on experience training and caring for cats and dogs. She has written 27 books on animal care, been named CWA Friskies Writer of the Year, and appeared on Animal Planet as a pet expert.
If your puppy fears riding in the car, it can be a hassle to travel with it, even to bring it along on errands. Some puppies throw fits, cry, and even get sick on the drive. Learn what you can do to ease those fears so your new dog will grow into an excellent traveling companion at home and away.
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Problems And Proofing Behavior
Puppies can be crushed by deploying airbags, so keep them in the back seat. Many accidents have happened when a dog gets underfoot and the driver can’t use the brakes or accelerator appropriately. Above all, a dog in the front seat is a distraction, and you need to keep your attention on your driving.
Once your dog is too big to fit in a car-size crate, consider installing a gated barrier or fit the dog with a harness, using the seatbelt for safety. While your dog may not like this at first, it is the safest thing for the long run.
Important Pet Safety Reminders
Make sure your dog is microchipped and/or wearing a collar. If there is an accident or if you open the door and your dog somehow escapes from his harness and dashes off into unfamiliar terrain, you will want to make certain hes microchipped to help you get him back. If your dog isnt microchipped he needs to wear a collar and tags with your contact information.
Carry your pets vet records with you. If youre traveling and are away from your usual veterinarian and your pet needs medical attention you need to have access to his vet records. Ask your vet for a copy of all of your pets medical records and keep them with you in your vehicle or attached to the dogs crate or carrier. When youre mapping out your route, make certain you know where the local veterinarians offices are in the event of an emergency.
Bring food and water. Traveling can be stressful for your pet no matter how much he likes riding in a car. To alleviate any potential for tummy issues when you arrive at your destination, plan ahead: Pack enough food and water from home. Dont forget to bring collapsible bowls! You may not be able to pack enough water for your entire trip, but ease your pets into drinking the water at the new place. Offer him frequent water and potty breaks. Avoid feeding them during the trip, if possible, especially if theyre prone to car sickness.
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A Tired Passenger Is A Happy Passenger
One of the most useful travel tips for dogs is to make sure theyre nice and tired before hitting the road. This will ensure that your pup is much more likely to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. Who knows? They might even nap for an hour or two!
So, on the morning youre set to leave home, make an effort to give your dog a whole lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Take them to a dog park, go for a walk or run together, or just have a big play session. Then theyll hopefully be the pawfect passenger all day long.
What To Do If The Dog Is Not Showing Signs Of Heatstroke
If the dog is not yet showing signs of heatstroke, here’s some steps to follow:
- Look out for the owner of the vehicle. If youre at a shop, supermarket or event, ask the staff to make an announcement to let the owner know about their dogs condition.
- Look for indications of how long the car has been there for a parking or pay and display ticket could help.
- Take note of the cars registration number. If youre worried about the dogs welfare, you may wish to report the incident to the police.
- While youre seeking help, try and get someone to stay and monitor the dogs condition. If they show signs of heatstroke, dial 999 immediately.
You can call the RSPCAs cruelty line for help and advice. But if the dog is in danger, dial 999 immediately.
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Safer Seats For Your Dog
CrateA safer way for your dog to travel in a car is in a dog crate, preferably made from a strong material such as aluminum. Some crates even have padding for added impact protection. No matter which kind you choose, be sure that the crate is big enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably, and has proper ventilation. Always bring enough water and a toy or two to keep him comfortable and happy. Being in a crate may also reduce motion sickness in dogs. Place crates on the floor of the back seat or in the open storage/trunk area, not on the back seat. Crates can also be strapped down, so they do not move about as much.
If you still insist on keeping your dog unrestrained in the car:
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Drugs Might Be A Short
You dont want your dog dependent on medication whenever he needs to travel or have him completely sedated. However, something to take the edge off his fear or settle his stomach might help him to be less anxious and start making more positive associations.
There are plenty of drug solutions out there, and you can get some of the best dog anxiety medications to calm your dog before any car ride. Just keep in mind that it’s not a long-term solution and you still need to train your pooch for positive association.
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Best Practices When Traveling With Your Dog
- Plan bathroom breaks. Before you leave home, teach your dog to relieve himself on multiple surfaces not just grass! Having the ability to potty on different terrains, such as concrete, mulch, and gravel, will alleviate his discomfort as well as the possibility of accidents while youre on the road or otherwise. Bring a supply of bags to clean up afterward and a leash.
- Bring games and toys. To make sure your dog doesnt get bored, provide him with a few new toys and a couple of old favorites. You might want to include a puzzle-type toy to keep him occupied.
- Pack food and water. Check with your veterinarian about giving your dog only bottled water while away from home to ensure that he doesnt get an upset stomach. And instead of taking his usual bulky bowls, buy collapsible ones and let him get used to using them one week or so before you travel.
Dont Let Your Puppy Travel In The Car With The Head Out The Window
It might look like great fun, and probably is, but if you do it too much they could get an eye irritation or, worse, get injured by something you drive past. Theres also the risk that they could slip out of their harness and jump out of the window. Its absolutely fine to open the window a little bit so your dog gets plenty of fresh air, and on hot days you can use a window guard that lets you open the window more without allowing your dog the chance to jump out.
Bringing A Puppy Home The First Car Ride
If you can, have the puppy sit in the back seat with someone else. You can encourage them to get in the car by putting a treat in there. You want to make the experience as pleasurable as possible so they are comfortable going on car rides in the future. Barking or crying is normal for a pup on this new experience, and you should reassure them calmly. Dont reenforce their fear by becoming overly excited or overly affectionate. Your passenger can hold them in a blanket or you can set them on a blanket on the seat to protect your car. If theyre uncomfortable, you can put them between the seats on the floor . Also you can give them something to chew.
If youre taking your puppy for a long drive you can stop along the way to walk them and let them go to the bathroom, but dont stop at a highway rest stop or park. Youre puppy probably hasnt been vaccinated and you wont want them to go where lots of other dogs have been to the bathroom to keep them healthy.
Once youre at home make sure to bring your puppy outside so they can go to the bathroom, and remember to be calm and comforting. Let your puppy explore their new environment at their own pace.
Heres a video from Doggy Dan showing his puppys first ride home and covering some of these tips for bringing a puppy home:
Now that youve got your puppy home youll want to get them on a schedule and begin to establish yourself as their new pack leader and start in on training.
More Dog Carrier Tips For Car Trips
- Make sure that the carrier has enough ventilation to allow air to pass through freely, either through gated areas or holes.
- If your dog makes a mess inside the carrier during the trip, carry the carrier to a confined area such as a bathroom before letting your dog out. This lets you clean the carrier without the risk of your dog running away.
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Tips For Safe Car Travel
Car Safety: Travelling With Pets
Most pets will need to take a trip in the car at some point even if its just a quick trip to the vets! But how can we make sure theyre safe on the journey?
We’re used to strapping ourselves in to stay safe and it’s important to do the same for our pets. Keeping your pet properly restrained will keep you and your passengers safe, too.
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Safe Car Travel With Your Dog: Crash
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Pet owners have many reasons to bring their furry friend along for summer travel and making sure youre transporting them safely should be a top priority. There are a few basic safety precautions to consider whenever you road trip with your furry friend, including restraints, up-to-date health checks and vaccinations and pet-friendly travel kits that include everything from water and food bowls to doggie bags. If you’re planning on taking your dog along for a car ride, we consulted veterinarians and pet safety experts on the best ways to keep them safe and rounded up some highly rated and crash-tested crates, carriers and safety harnesses.
How To Travel In The Car With Your Dog
If youre taking a short trip or are driving on a long-distance journey, you may have found that your dog isnt a great fan of travelling. Your dogs distress may make it tempting to sit them in the footwell at the front of your vehicle, or loosely in the boot. But, the Highway Code has a set rule on travelling with your dog in the car.
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Do: Consider A Dog Barrierbut Consider Its Limitations
Barriers between the front and back seats of the car, or between the back seats and the cars cargo area, will keep dogs from being thrown forward in the event of an accident. They provide more freedom of movement, although if youre keeping your dog in the back seat youll want to disable your power windows to keep them from accidentally opening something at the touch of a paw.
What barriers dont do is prevent dogs from escaping if the back door or trunk of the car is left open by an accident. They also dont provide much protection for dogs during a crash beyond keeping them from being thrown into the front seat or windshield. That makes them a partial solution, better than nothing but not an improvement on a high-quality crash-tested crate.
Car Travel For The New Pup
Traveling safely with a puppy is serious business… but it can be fun, too. Maybe youll be lucky and your dog will be a napper. On the other hand, your canine car companion could be the embodiment of Rover Road Rage. The fact is you wont know until you try.
Let’s start with obvious: puppies are smart. They just dont know it yet. To remind them of this untapped intelligence, put them through a few little practice traveling sessions prior to showtime. Spend some time in the car with your puppy while the engine is off and the car is parked. A few treats can go a long way to reassure the little guy and get him comfortable with an automobile, just make sure you don’t overdo it with the treats.
After a few practice sessions, repeat the routine with the engine running in a well-ventilated area Did your pup stay calm? If so, great! Just don’t get all excited about how great he is doing and overly praise him. Do this and you may run the risk of teaching your little genius that this car stuff is a big deal, and we certainly don’t want that.
To a puppy, a car should just be another area for snoozing or introspective world watching. If you are quiet and passive, the pup will take your lead and learn to relax.
While in the car, gently speak to your puppy. Sit quietly and try to show him that being in the car is normal and not a place for rope tugging, barking or games of “betcha-cant-catch-me.” Remember, you set the tone. If you have to assert yourself, do so.
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