CAR TRAVEL with Puppies and Dogs

I. The first thing to do is to help your dog/Puppy get used to this small space. Some dogs see cars like a scary crate on wheels. The car moves very fast with the outside world flashing by the windows.  The engine roars and there are turns and sometimes sudden stops.  Then we arrive at our destination – the dreaded Vet! No wonder dogs take time to get used to car travel.

1.   It can be helpful to take Puppy to some nice places; the park for example.  That way a trip in the car becomes a positive experience.
2. Put Puppy in the car with the engine off for short periods of time. Put his blanket in the car and maybe a favourite toy also.
Sit next to your puppy and reassure him. Some folks feed treats or a light meal in the car. Keep doing this until you can see puppy is comfortable.  Then secure him and turn the engine on. Gradually build up the the time Puppy is in the car. When your puppy is comfy with this stage, make a very short journey. Build up the distance to the journey as your dog becomes more settled in the car.

II. Car safety is most important. If your dog is sitting on the seat next to you he could suddenly jump all over the place and finish up in your lap!  You would see puppy’s face instead of the road!  Or worse stop and think for a moment what would happen if you had to make an emergency stop??!!
It is much better to be safe than sorry. You could put Puppy in a carrier or crate and then he would be perfectly safe.
There are gadgets you can buy that attack the seat belt to the collar which are very good. Or a special harness you fit on your dog and attach to the seat belt.
Make sure when you arrive that you attach the lead to puppy’s collar and make sure it is safe for him to jump out of the car.  Better still teach him to wait calmly while you put his lead on and make sure it is safe to let him out of the car.

III. Some dogs experience motion sickness while travelling. If you Dog is one of them there are some strategies you can try to help. Not altogether but try them one at a time and see which one works for you.
Firstly do not feed your puppy before a car journey.

1. Try giving your puppy a bit of ginger biscuit.  Ginger helps prevent nausea.
2. Spray some D.A.P. Diffuser on your dogs bandana to help calm him.  Dap Diffuser has pheromones like those a mother gives while suckling her pups.   This can be calming to a dog or puppy.
3. Put some cool water on the bandana – soothing and cooling.

IV. Here are some special considerations when you take your dog on a longer journey, as in going on holiday for instance.

Plan your trip  so you travel in the early morning and late afternoon so you avoid the hottest part of the day say between 11am and 1pm.
Take water with you to keep your dog hydrated and make frequent stops. The Services  have quite good designated areas where you can exercise your dog and stretch your legs at the same time!
tailwags till next time
Christine Seddon

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