Car travel tips for dogs
29th April 2016
Dogs are part of the family and there will be many times when you will want your dog to travel in the car with you, whether it’s for days out or during a trip to the vets. You will need to ensure that your dog is safely secured in the car so that he doesn’t distract you while you’re driving. It’s also important that your dog feels happy and safe in the car.
Introducing your dog to the car
It’s a good idea to introduce your dog to the car at as young an age as possible. This may not be possible though if you have adopted an older dog. If your dog appears nervous of car travel, start by introducing him to the car and sitting in it before going on any journeys. If he appears calm, give him a treat so that he associates cars with good things. Start by taking small journeys, gradually building up to longer journeys.
A harness can clip straight into a seatbelt socket and it gives your dog an elevated view, allowing him to enjoy the journey. A harness keeps your dog secure if you need to brake suddenly or in the event of an accident. If your dog likes to chew, this may not be the best option though as he could escape mid-journey!
A booster seat is ideal for small dogs to make them feel comfortable and secure, and it protects your seat from doggie smells. Effectively, a booster seat is a padded basket that attaches to your seat and incorporates a harness.
A barrier that separates the back seats of your car with the boot gives your dog the freedom to move around during the journey. This does mean that your dog will be loose when you open the boot so make sure is trained to wait before being instructed to exit the boot.
A crate is a little more secure than a boot barrier and it means that your dog isn’t loose when you open the car to let him out.
Avoid front seats
Whatever type of travel accessory you choose, you should avoid putting your dog in the front street. Even if he is restrained, he could distract you. And the passenger seat airbag could harm your dog if you have an accident.
We’ve all seen a dog hanging its head out of a car window, but this can be dangerous, especially if you are driving at speed. Flicked up stones and other debris can harm your dog and if the window is open wide enough there is risk of escape. If it’s a warm day, open a window that is out of reach or use the air conditioning.