Road Trippin’ with your Pupper

December 11, 2020

Many dogs love exploring the world with their hoomans, meeting new people and sniffing out new trails. Others hate the idea of cars, get anxious and carsick. You can’t really predict which your pet is going to be until you take them out for a ride. But if your dog does get anxious, it’s best not to force him into the car. You can speak to a behaviourist to understand the steps you can take to change their views on car travel.

If you are traveling with a puppy, here are a few notes from one pet parent to another –

Consider age

Travelling with very young pups is best not attempted when you’re on a tight schedule. Remember that young pups need to pee often and it’s best to travel until after all your pet’s vaccinations are complete. Get the green light from your vet before you plan dog friendly road trips. And make sure you pack oodles of patience and love in addition to everything your pup will need for the journey. Do carry their vaccination and health records with you, just in case.

Food and water

Carry collapsible bowls so you can stop along the highway to give your pet sustenance. Light meals or even just snacks are a good idea. Dogs can get car sick so just give them enough to keep them going and make sure they are hydrated. Stop for regular water and pee breaks so your munchkin can stretch their legs a bit. The air conditioner in your car can be quite dehydrating so water breaks are very important.

Cover your seats

Besides protecting your seats from possible puppy fluids, sharp teeth and fur, covering your seats can make your pup more comfortable. Add a blanket or a pet mat that your pet generally sleeps on at home, the familiar smell will help them stay at ease even in a new place.

Car safety

Your dog should not travel in the boot of your car. The boot is designed for luggage and so, is not equipped to carry live animals or people. It does not have sufficient air supply and is not well insulated from the heat and the cold. Make sure your pet travels in the passenger section of your car. There are seat belts for dogs available so for added safety, you could consider strapping your pet in. You could also consider the option of a dog travel seat. 

Carry toys

Remember you can’t play the usual, human car games to keep a pupper occupied. Carry rope toys, soft (plush) toys, safe chews etc. to keep your pup busy in the car. Chances are that he or she will be awake for only a little while but they can be a handful even in that short time.

Pet friendly places

There are several hotels and restaurants that do not allow pets on their premises. Make sure you identify places that you are going to stop at beforehand and ensure these are pet friendly. Do not leave your dog in the car alone. The heat inside a car can be deadly and can have an effect in as short a span as 5-10 minutes for a full-grown dog. 

So, for pups it will be much worse. Your car is essentially a metal box and leaving your pet inside is like leaving him in a hot oven and closing the door. Also, your pet is likely to panic when left alone in your car – especially if he or she is not used to it.

Before you bundle your pet up in a car for a road trip, it’s a great idea to do a few practice runs. Take your pet out on short drives around the city so he or she gets familiar with the car. Make the experiences pleasant and this will encourage a positive association with the car. When done right, travelling with dogs, watching pets explore a new place and have new experiences is delightful. Just remember to put your pet’s safety and well-being first.

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