If you own a dog then you will need to transport them at some point. Whether it’s a trip to the vets, a day care centre or visiting friends, you will need to make sure you have everything your dog needs to travel safely.
More and more people are taking their pets with them on holiday. Canine travel products are therefore becoming more important and a necessity for dog owners. If you can take your dog with you on weekend breaks and trips abroad then there’s no point in leaving them at home. However, there are lots of things to consider when taking your dog on a long trip.
This complete guide to travel products for dogs will help you decide exactly what you need to bring with you when travelling with your best friend.
Restraining/crating your dog in the car
Dogs should be kept properly restrained and out of the way while you are driving. It’s unsafe to have a dog loose in the car, because they can distract you and get in the way, but it’s also extremely dangerous for you and them if you have to make an emergency stop. Many dog owners don’t realise they could be breaking the law when their dog is not properly restrained whilst in the car.
According to the Highway Code dogs ‘should be suitably restrained in a vehicle so that they don’t distract the driver or injure them if the vehicle stops quickly.’ Your dog might be very well behaved and sit nicely in the car, but you can’t predict what might happen to them or what they might do in the event of an accident.
One way of restraining your dog is by using a car harness which attached to the seat belt. You can also get special seat belts especially for dogs. Another option is to put your dog in a travel crate which goes inside your car. This will stop them from moving around too much and distracting you while you are driving. Dog travel crates come in many different shapes and sizes to suit different dogs. You can also get mesh dog guards which you can use if you want to confine your dog to the boot of your car.
Don’t forget to bring enough water for your dog during car journeys. They should always have access to fresh water, especially on longer journeys or on particularly hot days. You can get pet travel water bottles and bowls that can help to keep your dog hydrated whilst travelling in the car. If you are staying in a hotel or at a friend’s house remember to bring a water bowl for your dog.
Getting your dog used to car travel
If your dog is not used to travelling in the car you may have to spend some time getting them used to it. Start by simply encouraging them to get into the car with treats and gradually build up to taking them on short journeys. Make sure they have a blanket or some toys from home to make them feel more comfortable. If your dog gets really anxious or stressed during car journeys you could try using some canine calming products. If they suffer from car sickness you can get travel sickness tablets from your vet.
Protecting your car
All dog owners know how quickly their car gets dirty. When you own a dog it’s difficult to keep everything clean as they just seem to spread dirt and dog hair everywhere. However, you can try and protect your car to minimise the mess that your dog makes. There are some helpful products to keep your car clean and prevent your dog from damaging the seats.
A boot mat can help protect the inside of your boot from muddy paws. If you put your dog in the back of your car then you might want to invest in an Ancol Car Seat Protector, which will prevent them from scratching and chewing the seats as well as keeping them clean. A car seat carpet is also another option. If your dog goes in the boot then they will need to either jump in or have assistance getting in. Most dogs will scratch the paintwork of your car with their claws as they jump inside. Some dogs with limited mobility will also struggle to get in the car, so a dog car ramp is really useful.
When your dog is travelling in the car with you remember to drive more conservatively. Take their comfort into consideration when you are driving. Don’t make very sharp turns or drive erratically as this could injure them or make them car sick. Check that your dog has their collar on and is microchipped before taking them in the car in case they escape or there is an accident and they get startled and run off.
Although you see a lot of car adverts and YouTube videos of dogs hanging out of car windows, it’s really not safe. Don’t let your dog hang out the window as it’s dangerous. Just make sure your car is well ventilated.
Feeding your dog
Do not feed your dog just before or just after a car journey as this could make them sick. Instead, take food with you and give them an hour or so after a car journey to recover before you feed them.