Anytime you travel with your pet please drive conservatively, as if you are transporting a sleeping infant. Build confidence in your dog by showing him he is safe with you. Some states require dogs traveling in a vehicle to be secured with either a car harness, in a crate or behind another type of car barrier. A dog needs to be restrained in a vehicle so they do not become a projectile that will injure a driver or passenger, nor will they get hurt themselves. Check with your individual state and local requirements.
- Touch the seat so your scent is there first and then pat the seat and invite your dog in
- Have your dog wait for your command before jumping out of the car safely
- Give your dog a treat when he gets in the car in order to comfort him and teach him that the car is a safe and fun place
- Take your dog to a nearby park or their favorite spot to create a good association with car rides
- Crate train your dog prior to travel: place your dog in the carrier few seconds or minutes at first and then build up over time to several hours
- Restrain the crate in the car, make sure it is seat belted in and cannot move during the trip
- If you’d rather use a harness follow all directions and make sure it is the right size – anything too large will not properly restrain your dog and one that is too small could cause bodily harm
- Visit you vet and get a check up before travel. If you dog is nauseous or queasy your veterinarian can prescribe anti-nausea medication, sedatives, or may suggest administering a tiny dose of imodium A-D.
- Try out all medications BEFORE a trip to make sure your dog does not have any adverse reactions
- Do not feed your dog prior to a long trip if they get car sick
- Check your state laws to see if there are travel regulations or restrictions
- Don’t assume the dog needs to look out the window – just make sure they are in the safest position
- Obviously make sure not to leave the dog in a hot car, if its too hot for you in the car than its too hot for your dog
- Keep your dog hydrated during the trip
- Be mindful of when you feed your dog, if they can get car sick you may want to hold off until you get to your destination
- Put a small fan or direct air conditioning vents to the back seat, if needed
- Always allow extra time for potty, water and food breaks
- If you put a toys in the crate as always make sure it is safe and doesn’t present a choking hazard
- Buy sanitizing wipes in case your dog has an accident
- Do not let your dog hang his head out the window as this can cause injury, especially at high speeds
Services such as “pet taxis” may require that you are a client prior to your emergency call. These services are typically set up similar to people taxis where there is a fee for the initial pick up and then a mileage or time charge as well. Always bring your own blanket or towel and, if necessary, a pet carrier or crate.
Help your dog to feel comforted and safe by preparing early. Take your dog to fun places, such as the park or the beach and not just to the vet or the groomer in the car. Therefore, they will not always associate a car ride with a potentially unpleasant experience.