Pets are so beloved by their owners that they like to bring their furry companions with them on their travels. In the US, approximately 78 percent of pet owners like to travel with their pets each year. But even if you’re not bringing your pet along for a vacation, you’d often need to bring them to the vet, which requires bringing them along for a drive.
It’s normal for dogs to feel anxious or uncomfortable during car rides. The fear of riding cars is known to be a rather common phobia for dogs, likely because they’re not used to riding a car, or that they have some negative experiences associated with it. To help ease your dog’s anxiety and make them grow comfortable for any trips on the road, pet owners must give their dogs the proper training and preparation that can ensure a better ride for both you and your pooch.
Let your pup get used to the car
If you have a puppy who will be riding a car for the first time, it’s important to get them adjusted to it first. You can start by letting them get used to getting in and out of the car, like by gently placing them in the car seat, or using toys and treats to lead them inside the car. Sometimes, the puppy may also be hesitant to get inside, so you can sit inside the car first, and encourage them to come to you. Allow your pup to get used to being inside the car, and reward or praise them accordingly whenever they enter and exit without any issues.
Observe your pooch for signs of motion sickness
Once your dog has grown to become comfortable with spending time inside the car, you can start the engine, but don’t begin driving yet. The sound of the engine or the sensation of the car moving might frighten or overwhelm your dog, so have them become accustomed to sitting inside with the engine running. When you start driving, drive slowly and don’t make the trip too long. During car rides, dogs can also experience car sickness from the motion or all the excitement. This is a common occurrence for dogs of all ages, especially puppies or young dogs, but gradually easing them into riding cars it can make nausea eventually fade away. Consider also talking to a vet if you want to give medication to cure your dog’s car sickness. It’s also best to not feed or give your dog water just right before a trip to make sure they don’t end up making a mess in your car.
Keep them comfy
To provide the best amount of comfort for your dog during their ride, having the right car set-up can not only make it easier for your dog to enjoy the ride but give you convenience as well. Factors like the interior space, the position of the windows, and riding heights are what dog owners are meant to consider for their car. The space of the car matters for your dog to be able to properly fit (especially if you own a big-sized breed), the type and position of a car’s windows can determine the kind of lighting your dog receives, and a car’s height is especially significant for dogs to be able to get in and out easily. Different cars have different designs depending on the type of car model or make, with certain brands like Tesla incorporating technology that allows owners to leave their pet inside their car with air conditioning and proper ventilation. If you’re looking for a new car or hoping to upgrade your car for a size that suits your pet, consider picking a pet-friendly car, such as an SUV.
Make sure that your pet is safe
It’s also important to not neglect your dog’s safety while on a drive. Be sure to secure your pet with a safety harness, barrier or crate. When using crates, make sure to secure it properly so it doesn’t easily slide around during the ride. Restraining your pet is an essential part of their safety to prevent them from flying off and getting hurt, and it’s also meant to protect the driver as well from any distractions their dog may give them. Puppies in particular like to chew things, so it helps to bring a chew toy for them to occupy themselves with. When traveling with your dog, the best location is to put them in the backseat.
Just like humans, dogs can get scared and anxious about things they’re not familiar with. They’re also capable of being affected by past negative experiences just like a person would be. It can take a lot of time and care, but by helping your dog adjust to riding a car, it allows a more comfortable and enjoyable ride for both you and your pet.