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Tips for Taking Your Dog on a Long Car Trip

 by ben on 04 Dec 2018 |
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Driving along the coastline, taking in the beautiful seaside views, your dog peeking out its head from the window to enjoy the breeze - that’s what a long car ride with your dog is like, right? Well, it can be, if you’re well prepared. But most dog owners aren’t, and think a long ride with their dog will be as simple as just getting them into the car and enjoying the ride.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as that. Especially the first time, which can often end up being a stressful and overwhelming experience for unsuspecting dog owners. This is because there are so many things to prepare for - from ensuring your dog is entertained on the long ride, to their safety.

To sum up the most important considerations, we’ve put together this guide of our top four tips for how to travel with a dog on a car trip. Let’s jump right in!

1.  Pack Some of Your Dog’s Favorite Toys

While a getaway to a destination that requires hours of car travel may sound like a vacation to you, your dog may not share your enthusiasm. After all, most dogs don’t want to be cooped up in a car for several hours when they could be running around in the backyard! That’s why it’s essential to pack some of their favorite toys.

You won’t want to pack anything that could end up being too much of a distraction though, or something that could turn into a hazard. Usually, a small chewy toy is sufficient - something that is fun enough for them to be thoroughly entertained, but not too big (or loud!) for it to become a liability.

2. Invest in a Dog Car Barrier

Safety is a key concern when you’re taking your dog on a long drive. You need to make sure that they will be properly protected against any perils on the road - or themselves for that matter! For these reasons, we can’t stress enough how important it is to invest in a dog car barrier.

As Jenny Jarvis of Pet Life Today shares, although it's easier than ever to take your dog around with you whenever and wherever, “The more you take your dog places, though, the more you’ll realize all the risks that come into play with your dog in your car.” Dog barriers, as the name suggests, are designed to keep a barrier between you and your dog.

You don’t, of course, want your dog affectionately jumping on you or distracting you when you’re driving - so they serve a vital safety purpose on car trips. What’s more, many of them are designed to keep your car free from dog fur and even messes, so look around for a versatile one.

3. Consider Taking Out Pet Insurance

Another safety-related tip we would be remiss not to include is to consider taking out pet insurance. While it may seem like a considerable expense for a single trip, it’s actually quite affordable when you think of how many situations it will cover. After all, it won’t just cover your one trip, but for however long you take out the plan for.

That means if your dog gets sick or injured on the trip, or before or after it (depending on when you start or end the insurance), you’ll be covered. Instead of settling out for a massive vet’s bill - not to mention any meds they need or recurring visits, you’ll just have to pay a tidy weekly or monthly payment.

4. Travel When Your Dog’s Energy Levels Are Down

This is a very handy tip for making long drives with your dog more bearable. Travel when your dog’s energy levels are down. Pet Let suggests two ways to do so. The first method is to “drain their energy” by taking them on a long walk before driving off with them.

The idea behind this method is that because a car and the car ride itself is very stimulating for a dog, “the more tired they are the easier it is for them to focus that energy on the experience itself.” It makes sense when you think about it, right?
The second method is to travel at night, when you can take advantage of the fact that your dog will naturally be sleepy. Needless to say, this means that you will also be prone to be sleepy, so consider this option carefully before proceeding. 

We hope you have an enjoyable, safe trip with your four-legged friends! Check out our top tips on avoiding dog car sickness.

About the writer

This post was written by Ana who is a frequent contributor at Pet Life Today. She comes from a sunny and warm region of central Serbia, but now she lives a little up north in the city of Novi Sad. Ana is passionate about helping pet owners provide their four-legged friends with the care and attention they need to be able to lead healthy lives. She had two cats named Ceca and Lunja while she was growing up, together with a parrot named Kica. Ana has been writing about pet-related topics, advice, and trends since 2016.

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