Tips & Tricks for Driving Safely with Your Dog
Do you have a pandemic puppy? A new rescue? Or maybe a family dog you’ve had for years, but have never taken on a road trip before? Car travel is more popular than flying these days because of the risk of COVID-19, and people have puppies now more than ever. If you’re planning a long distance car trip with your dog, here is how to take a road trip safely and comfortably.
Traveling with a dog involves more than just loading him into the back seat and calling it a day. Especially when driving long distances. Whether you’re heading to the mountains to get away from daily stresses, or visiting family for the holidays, here is your guide to traveling by car with a dog.
Get out his energy before you take off
A tired dog is often a well-behaved dog (er, they’re just too sleepy to sass you). So right before you head out, take your dog for a long walk or jog. This way, he’ll be more apt to rest or sleep for a portion of the journey.
Offer incentives so he’s on his best behavior
A food motivated or well-trained dog is going to listen better than a dog with few boundaries. Get your dog to listen by rewarding him with treats, like Soft Chews+ training treats, which are stashed with healthy ingredients such as glucosamine for joint support. It will motivate your pup to be on his best behavior.
Every time your pup does something he’s expected to—like hop into the car on his own, lay down quietly, potty outside during pit stops, etc.—treat him to a few Soft Chews+. That will encourage him to keep up the good work.
Bathroom breaks 101
You don’t want to deprive your dog of water, but you also don’t want to let him overdo it (multiple bathroom stops are no fun for anyone). Give him reasonable access to water, and remember that if you have to go, he probably does too. Even if you’re rushed, let your dog out to do his business at every stop. It’s also helpful to stop at major rest areas instead of gas stations, so he has room to exercise.
Take safety and security measures
If you have a small dog, you may wish to crate him during travel, ensuring that the crate is secured so it doesn’t roll to the floor if you have to stop suddenly. If you have a big dog, use a seat belt restraint harness or car dog hammock in the back seat to create a safe and comfortable space for him. Doing this will not only keep you and your travel buddy safe, but it will save your car from excess fur or claw marks.
How to keep your dog busy in the car
Car rides are boring for all of us—pup included. Offer him chew toys so he leaves your seats alone and is kept entertained. Also recommended is peanut butter smeared on a LickiMat, long lasting dental chew sticks or a snuffle mat loaded with hidden treats.
What to pack for your dog on a road trip
Packing for a dog is much simpler than packing for yourself or children. But you’ll still need to bring his food and treats, food and water bowls, collar and leash, waste bags, dog bed or blanket, and any medication he needs.
Pro tips for traveling by car with your dog:
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and wears an ID tag for identification.
- Never leave your dog alone in the hot car.
- Always pick up after your dog when in public spaces.
- Bring along his vaccine records in case of an emergency vet visit.
- If your dog is stressed or anxious, pressure wraps like a Thundershirt, or calming supplements can help reduce stress.
- Don’t let your dog stick his head out the window while driving, as he could be injured by flying debris.
- If you have children, ask that they never tease or annoy the dog while in the car.
Now that you’re well prepared with a checklist for how to road trip with your dog, we wish you safe travels!