Car Travel with Your Dog - by Lexy Marcellus, (RVT) Print
Written by Brian Adam   
Thursday, 09 May 2013 20:07

Beautiful weather is finally here!  I know I'm looking forward to going on trips, being outside and travelling with my companions. For most people a car trip with their beloved family dog is something to look forward to.  But for others, it can be a dreaded event causing anxiety to both pets & their owners. Hopefully these tips will make it more enjoyable for everyone. 


The temperature can quickly rise to a dangerous level causing heat stroke, even on cool days!  Before taking my dog on a long car trip, what should I do?

Many dogs have trouble adjusting to journey in the car, long or short. It can be a bad experience if they're not properly prepared, or their needs are neglected during the trip.  It's always best to start off at a young age.  Little trips to the park & short outings can be positive experiences, instead of the usual rides to the vet!  That way they can associate a car ride with a good thing.  Same goes for those not used to being in the car.  Again, it's best to take them on short rides - always before a meal rather than soon after. Also, don't forget to reward your dog(s) with a treat or meal as soon as the trip is over.

How can I avoid car sickness?

Car or motion sickness is the result of the effect of irregular motion on the balance mechanism of the middle ear. Signs are restlessness, salivation and vomiting. Waiting at least six hours between the last meal and travelling will help. In severe cases of motion sickness, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to be given before a journey depending on the cause of anxiety or motion sickness.

What can I do to make my dog more comfortable when travelling?

Have them ride inside the car, rather than in the back of a pick-up or inside a camper.  Don’t allow them to run and jump in the car, especially not near the driver (a seatbelt would help keep everyone safe in these cases).

Make sure there's plenty of fresh air and that the temperature isn't too hot towards the back, where you dog will likely be. If you need to open a window, make it so the dog cannot stick its' head out.  This helps reduce the risk of injury due to flying insects, gravel or other flying objects.

Frequent bathroom breaks are recommended.  Every 2 to 4 hours gives your pets a chance to exercise, relieve themselves & have a drink of water. NOTE: Please leash your dog before you open the door - as the last thing you want is for it to get lost, in an unknown city or wilderness.

Here's a list of items, you shouldn't leave home without: a Pet First Aid Kit; fresh water & bowls to drink from; leash, poop bags, towels and/or paper towels for any unexpected accidents. (Not to mention their favourite Blanket or Toy/Stuffed animals for longer trips.

Should you have any other questions please consult your veterinary team.  Happy Wagging Tails & Travels to ALL! smiley J Lexy

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 20:32