For most dogs, a car journey is a fantastic adventure. But for some, it can be a terrifying and thoroughly uncomfortable experience. So how do you reach your destination with a safe, contented canine passenger?
It is advisable to allow your puppy to experience short, pleasurable journeys in the car regularly, rewarding good behavior with treats and praise then gradually building up to longer journeys once the puppy associates being in the car as a positive experience.
The first essential is a collar and ID tag – a legal requirement. And a microchip implant will help reunite you if your dog loses their collar.
If you’re planning a long journey and your dog’s a nervous traveller, have them checked over by your vet first. Ask about sedatives – the vet may be able to prescribe one that you can administer.
If your dog gets travel sick, don’t feed them less than an hour before you set off. And be extra careful when braking, accelerating and going round steep bends.
Dogs aren’t allowed in the front of the car, but can sit on the back seat or in the boot of a hatchback or estate car. Small dogs can be transported in a pet carrier, which can be strapped to the seat. Larger dogs can wear a harness that attaches to the seat belt, or you can use a crate or a gate to keep them from getting out of the boot area. This is partly to keep you and your dog safe in case of an accident, and partly so that your dog doesn't distract you when you're driving.
Never leave your dog alone in the car - dogs can’t control their temperatures by sweating like we can, and it can quickly get fatally hot in a stationary car.