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How To Keep Your Dog Happy on a Road Trip

How To Keep Your Dog Happy on a Road Trip

You’ve seen it plenty of times—dog smiling from the window of a car, it’s tongue wagging in the wind. It seems like the happiest dog in the world.

Unfortunately for many dog owners, car trips don’t look quite like this. Instead, any trip to the vet or dog park involves anxiety, a scratched up car, and a big mess to clean up.

But any trip in the car doesn’t have to be a nightmare. There are some easy steps you can take to help get your dog adjusted to the car. They may even begin to look forward to road trips.

Here, we’ll show you how you can make your car trips less stressful for both you and your dog.

What You’ll Need

It’s always best to be prepared for anything that might happen on the road. Make sure you have all of the following:

  • Paper towels, your favorite stain remover, and any other clean up tools
  • Poop bags
  • Some sort of restraint for your dog
  • Treats and a water bowl
  • Toys that can distract your dog

This may seem like a long list for a short ride. But you’ll be happy to have it all if your dog causes a mess.

Keeping Your Puppy (And Yourself) Calm In The Car

The best way of getting your dog adjusted to the car is to start early on. Try to pick your puppy up yourself and drive them home. This will help you build an early bond and save them the anxiety that comes along with being shipped alone.

It will also get them used to the care from an early age. To make the ride go as smoothly as possible, try to bring someone else along to sit with the puppy. This will help them stay calm, and keep them from moving around too much.

Once your puppy has settled in at home, try to get them out of the house as early and as often as possible. The repeated car trips will help them get used to being on the road.

And it’s much better if they associate the car with happy memories. If the first time your dog gets in a car is when they go to the vet, they may begin to associate cars with anxiety and fear. Take them to the park, a pet store for treats, or any other place they enjoy.

Dogs Get Car Sick, Too

Dogs, just like people, can get nauseous in cars. Your dog may simply be getting car sick. Ask your vet about medications that you can give them. This may prevent them from getting sick, which will also likely make them calmer.

Some dogs are made anxious by car rides. One good way of lessening this anxiety is having your dog sit in a car that isn’t moving. They will learn that cars aren’t as scary as they had thought. Your dog may still get anxious when you start moving, but this can at least help get them in the car.

Work Your Way Up

Start with short trips to nice places. This will allow your dog to slowly get used to riding in the car. After a while, you’ll be able to extend the length of the trips. Eventually, you’ll be heading on cross country road trips without any issues.

Pack Your Pup’s Favorite Food

If you are going on a longer trip, make sure you have your dog’s usual food, plenty of treats, and their favorite toys, as well as comfortable bedding.

Try to feed your dog well before you begin your trip. A full stomach and car sickness are a bad combination when it comes to dogs. If you need to feed your dog, try to do it while you aren’t moving.

Although you shouldn’t feed your dog a full meal on the road, the occasional treat can be a good way of keeping your dog calm. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and upset your dog’s stomach.

Dog Car Safety 101

Having your dog pop its head out the window, with its paws on the ledge, may be cute. But it’s also very dangerous. Your dog should always be restrained if they are in the car, even on the shortest rides.

This isn’t only for your dog’s safety. Even the smallest dog can cause you or passengers serious harm if you are in an accident. Remember, a small Doodle weighs about just as much as a bowling ball.

Restrain Your Dog While In The Car

The best way to do this if with a dog harness. This will function like a seat belt, and keep your dog safe in the event of a sudden stop or accident. Make sure that the harness you buy fits your dog comfortably but snugly. If it’s too loose, your dog may escape, and it won’t be effective in the case of sudden braking or an accident.

You can also use a crate. This will restrain your dog much more than if they are allowed to roam freely in the backseat. Make sure that the crate is anchored, so that it doesn’t slide around.

Don’t keep your dog in the front seat, as the airbag could be dangerous, and even lethal in the case of a small dog. Although it may seem adorable, never ride with your dog in your lap. This will put you both in danger.

Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone

Safety doesn’t stop when your car does. Make sure that you never leave your dog alone in the car for a prolonged period. And if it’s a hot or cold day, you shouldn’t leave your dog in the car alone at all. A dog can heat up in just over ten minutes, even if it’s a mild summer day.

Your next car ride doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety for you and your puppy. Follow the advice here and your dog will be ru

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