Preparation is vital when it comes to ensuring your dog enjoys a stress-free road trip. Luckily, dog trainer extraordinaire Chris de Aboitiz has shared his top tips for making sure both you and your pooch are well-equipped for car travel.
Get to the vet to ensure your dog mate is happy and healthy and up-to-date with vaccinations, and to get the all ok to travel. Your vet may recommend ginger-based tablets in case of travel sickness.
A test run before you head off will get your dog familiar with the vehicle and the surrounds. This will help you all by giving you a gauge on how well your dog will travel when it comes to the real adventure. A bit of a practice run gives everyone a chance to check it out. Plan on driving to a place less than a couple of hours away and have a game or fun play planned for when you arrive.
Feed a minimum of 2-3 hours prior to your departure. Make time to exercise your dog, allow time to go to the toilet and have a drink before you hit the road to ensure they are hydrated while travelling.
Make sure your dog has enough room to lie down and turn around. You will need to give some thought to where your dog will sleep and allow your pet to acclimatise to the bedding arrangement. In some cases a car crate or carrier with familiar bedding or travel toy can make the journey more relaxing.
A quick break to give your dog the chance for relief, fresh air, a stretch of the legs, and water will provide great benefit for everyone! Have your lead ready before you open the car door and invite your dog out. And remember; never leave your dog in a parked car even if the weather is only mildly warm as heatstroke can begin in as little as 15 minutes.
When possible open the car windows a few centimetres along the way. This helps balance the vehicle air pressure and puts some fresh air into the cabin. Dog’s love to sniff the fresh air but it is best to keep your dog’s head inside the car window to avoid any dirt and stones that flick up from passing tyres when you're travelling. So don’t roll down the windows down too far, but just enough for your dog to smell the journey.