Transporting your dog by car is something that most new owners have to tackle.
In truth, some dogs take to car travel like a duck to water. Just as many, however, find their dog becomes nervous or excitable in the car. Such dogs can potentially pose a risk not just to themselves, but also to the driver.
If you struggle with a disruptive dog while driving the following steps will help to keep you both safe from danger…
While many owners of well-behaved dogs let their dogs sit patiently on the back seats, you should ask yourself what would happen in the case of an emergency stop or an accident. That is, after all, why we all wear seat belts.
Within the confines of an automobile it makes sense, therefore, to consider how to restrict your dog’s movement for his or her own benefit.
Possibly the simplest option is to use a car harness which will safely attach your dog to the rear seat belts. Other alternatives may be used depending on your preferences, including a travel crate or fitting a dog grill to your back seats.
The goal, however, is always the same – to protect your dog in the case of an impact.
Nervous or excitable dogs can often be distracted for periods of time, especially during long journeys, through the provision of favourite toys or treats. A rawhide chew, pigs ear or Kong filled with kibble can take your dog’s mind off the trip, making it more pleasant for both of you.
For nervous dogs simply maintaining conversation, or putting the radio on low, can also have a very positive impact on your pet’s frame of mind. Remember to regularly check on your pet during travel, use their name, and talk calmingly to them to reassure them that everything is fine.
Even well-behaved dogs can get over-excited when they’re finally let out of the car. I have personally seen two dogs over the years bolt out of a car straight into the path of an oncoming car. The noise will never leave me.
Attaching a lead to even well-trained dogs before they are allowed to leave the car permits you to maintain control over toilet breaks, without concern of damage coming to your pet.
The steps covered so far should, I hope, prevent your dog for making a break for freedom when the car stops. However, nothing can ever be guaranteed, so it is worth ensuring your dog has suitable identification as added insurance.
A properly-registered micro-chip, and a collar tag with your contact details, can be worth their weight in gold if your dog disappears into the distance in unfamiliar territory.
Lastly consider packing a travel bag for you dog, packed with all the supplies you could possibly need.
From spare food, to a water bowl and any regular medication, getting prepared in advance of travel can help you deal with any situations along the way.
The last thing you want is to break down and realize you have no supplies whatsoever for your pet. Remember that finding dog food is going to be a lot harder than just grabbing a coffee in a service station during your journey.
This is an article by Paige Hawin, who works with PBS, the experts at relocating pets to Australia.
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