Preparing your dog for a long, stress-free car journey

dog sticking his head out of the window
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
This is a collaborative post

All dog owners will be familiar with the heart-sinking feeling of leaving your canine pal overnight or even for a few days if you have to go on a trip. But who says you have to leave them behind in the first place? If you’ve got room in the car, you could easily take them with you!

Easier said than done, of course. To make the long car journey as stress-free for your dog as possible, there are a few things you need to think about and prepare for. From buying all the right gear to keeping them safe and ensuring they have enough breaks, here’s all you need to know about taking your dog on a long car journey.

Familiarise your dog with their travel crate

A few days before you set off on your trip, put some time aside to help your dog familiarise itself with its travel crate. Being in a small space for such a long time can be stressful for dogs, so train them gradually, leaving them in the crate for longer and longer to get them used to it.

It also helps to foster positive experiences with the travel crate. Reward them generously for time spent in the crate with playtime and treats. Then, when it comes to travelling, your dog will feel much better about being cooped up in their crate for the duration of the journey.

Comfort is key

As well as helping the dog associate positive experiences with the crate, you also want to make their experience during the journey itself as positive as possible too. When travelling, large dog beds will help them to relax, along with plenty of blankets, towels and cushions.

If this works for them, try and design the crate so it resembles their sleeping arrangements at home. Include their favourite toys and maybe throw in a jumper of your own so they are comforted by your smell.

Keep them safe

Staying safe in the car isn’t limited to us humans. With twists, turns and sudden stops, it’s also vital to ensure that your dog is safe during the drive too. Travel crates can fit brilliantly into your car if you have the space, but if not, using a travel harness is a great option. Ensure they are fastened properly so they are restrained should any sudden movements cause the car to jolt backwards and forwards.

Ensure they take regular breaks

If you’re going on a particularly long journey, you need to plan a few stops along the way so that your dog has the chance to go to the toilet, stretch their legs and have a drink of water. If possible, find some quiet, green spots where they can sniff around undisturbed and calm down from the sensory overload of the car.

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