Tips: Long Distance Car Travel With Dogs
So, you have decided to take Fido on holiday with you this year but you’re not looking forward to the long drive with an over excited, dribble ball of energy?
To have a smooth road trip or relaxing long drive with your fur baby you need to make most of the effort before they ever get in the car. By taking the proper steps beforehand you’ll have a relaxed dog, which makes the ride safer and less stressful for everyone involved.
Car rides can be a lot of fun for your dog and by bringing them with you it’s possible to forge a strong bond on the road; they are family after all. Here’s how to prepare your dog for that long car ride ahead.
An important tip before travelling with dogs is that you need to drain their energy before you put them in a stimulating situation like the car. A car is full of smells, sights, and excitement for a dog and the more tired they are the easier it is for them to focus that energy on the experience itself. You don’t want your dog chewing the door handles, licking your face, or running back and forth in the back seat.
Take your dog for a long walk or run and feed them before you get in the car. Really get them tired so they won’t try to expend that energy while you’re trying to drive a car for hours.
Dogs, like humans are diurnal creatures meaning that they’re active during the day and sleepy at night. If the drive to your holiday destination is considerably long, you can take advantage of their body clocks and schedule most of your driving at night. Your dog will already be in a resting state and will probably sleep most of the way. Of course, this can be taxing on you as a driver so be sure to maintain your concentration by keeping the temperature cool, consuming caffeine, or switching the driving duties with a partner.
Although this is a good idea for a stress-free drive, obviously never drive if you feel drowsy or are too tired to keep your own focus on the road.
You’ve packed your bags, the kids are all sorted as far as long drive entertainment is concerned, now is the time to head to a pet store to buy a new bone! A new bone (the longest lasting and healthiest option) or pig skin dog treat which is also very long lasting (but beware they can still be high in saturated fats) will keep your dog from getting bored and they’ll wear themselves out from all the chewing. Wait until your fur kid is in the car and calm before giving them their new treat.
As I have already mentioned, most of the problems you’ll encounter on the road with your dog can be prevented before you ever get in the car. It’s important to wear them out with a long walk or run and keep them entertained with something to chew on during the ride. Some cardiovascular activity before a long road trip will perk you up too and a calm dog will be less of a distraction.
You may not need all that is on this list as your list will, of course, be specific to your dog, but here are things to keep in mind when packing the car for the long drive.
- Leash and collar with ID tags
- Water bowl or water drinker with plenty of water
- Food bowl and food
- Treats (bone or chewy treat)
- Doggy waste bags
- Blanket, bed or pad for sleeping
- Motion sickness medication or sedatives, depending on your dog’s needs
Finally, if you can work with your dog’s natural body rhythms and travel at night, you’ll avoid other drivers and traffic which will reduce your stress. Your dog will feed off your relaxed disposition and when you set off on your next road trip it will be an excellent bonding experience rather than a nightmare.