Traveling by car with your dog is always a challenge. Although many dogs love the car, we must take into account certain aspects and recommendations to make sure we have the best possible journey.

Use canine psychology

First of all, you must take into account how your dog behaves, how he reacts or what he may think during the car ride. For example, it is very common for dogs to get nervous, so your duty is to try to calm or distract him. A good way to do this is to pet him, showing him affection, in order to make him relax. You can also sit him next to you and play with him to entertain him and make him have a good time, as long as you are not the one driving.
During long trips you should be sure to stop the car and let them relieve themselves: urinate, defecate, eat or drink. You also have to keep in mind the following, dogs do not usually like going to the vet, therefore, you should avoid taking them in the car just to go there, as they will end up associating the car trip with a visit to the vet and it will cause them rejection.

The importance of the first trip

Dogs learn quite quickly, so if their first car ride was pleasant, they will not be afraid the next time. Usually, the first car ride they take is usually when they are still puppies and heading to their new home for the first time, so they are not usually too aware of what is going on and it is all simpler. On the other hand, if we are dealing with an adult dog, the first trip is different and you have to pay more attention and be more careful. It is preferable that in this case you make a short first trip so that the animal gets used to the new experience. So that he can relate his first car trip to something fun, you can reward him at the end of the trip with a walk, cuddles or a treat.

Identify your dog

Make sure your dog is properly identified. Put an identification tag and collar on him before taking him on a trip, even if he has a microchip. In case he gets lost, if someone finds him, he must be able to easily read his identity.
To prevent him from escaping when you leave the car, put the collar and leash on before opening the door, so you can check on him when he gets out.

Maintain security in the car

To prevent the dog from accessing the pedals or distracting the driver causing an accident we can follow certain safety measures:

  • Buy safety harnesses for dogs, which come in all sizes.
  • Carry the dog in a dog carrier. Or, in case of small breeds, there are special seats that can be installed in the passenger seat.

Before making a first long trip you should make sure that the dog gets used to the safety measures with a shorter trip.

One thing to be aware of is the typical scene where a dog sticks its head out of the car window. Although it is a funny situation, it can cause certain problems for the dog. First of all, the wind can dry out the dog’s eyes, which can lead to eye disease. Secondly, the fact that the animal can stick its head out of the window indicates that it is not properly restrained, so there is a greater risk of injury or distracting the driver.

Preventing heat stroke and dizziness

In the case of heat stroke, it is dangerous to leave a dog in a hot car for more than 5 minutes. If you need a break, you should park in a shaded area and open the windows slightly. Remember to water your dog regularly.

Regarding motion sickness, you can contact a veterinarian and have him prescribe medication to prevent the dog from getting dizzy.

Plan your long trips

  • Avoid having the dog eat just before the trip.
  • Prepare the trip by taking food, water and bowls with you.
  • Have him exercise before the trip, as he will be locked up for many hours without being able to move.
  • Take bags to pick up your dog’s feces.
  • Take edible treats and some toys with you as a reward for a good trip and entertainment.
  • Plan the stops you will make along the trip. Your dog will need to get out from time to time to relieve himself.


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