At the beginning, prefer short trips and then take him for walks so that the dog associates car transportation with a pleasant moment. In cool weather, take the animal along when you go on a quick errand, for example, to the bakery, and leave the animal alone for a while so that it gets used to this eventuality without panicking. This will prepare it for future long trips.
To properly organize the transportation of your dog, here are a few tips and accessories that will help you.
Precautions to take before departure
You should not feed your dog before you leave so as not to risk him vomiting during a car trip. Feed your dog several hours before departure to give him time to digest his meal. If you know your dog tends to get sick in the car, ask your veterinarian to give you some anti-nausea medication.
If your dog is accustomed to being very excited when travelling you can also ask the vet for tranquilizers and give them before the big trip. Take his health record with you because vaccinations can be controlled, especially in certain risk areas. When you go on vacation, equip your dog with a collar with your name, address and phone number. If your dog gets lost or runs away, it will be easier to find him. Finally, to make your trip, choose a time of day when it’s not too hot and take water and a container with you so you can hydrate your dog.
Make your dog comfortable in the car
Protect your seats with an old blanket, plaid or tarp specially designed for your dog to avoid soiling your car too much. The advantage of dog rugs is that they don’t snag like a blanket. Simply shake the blanket out of the vehicle to remove any hair lost by the animal during the trip. You will have to install your dog in the back of the car and especially not in the front on the passenger seat. You will have the choice between the back seat and the trunk according to your preference and habits. It is preferable to equip your car with a separation net or a grille designed for cars. This is recommended for your safety and that of your companion in the event of an accident. In the event of a violent impact, any load in the back of a vehicle could tip forward and hit you, causing serious injury or death.
This is why a net or a grill must be installed to restrain the dog in the event of an accident.
For added safety you can secure the dog with a dog safety belt that clips to the belt clip at one end and attaches to the dog’s collar at the other end.
This is a really inexpensive accessory and is part of the minimum requirements for transporting a dog. On the same principle there are harnesses for dogs that also clips to the belt clip. Small dogs will be transported in a crate. It must be adapted to the size of the animal. Small animals can also be placed in a transport bag. It is possible to purchase a transport cage for large dogs but this installation requires space in the vehicle. Finally, you should know that car seats are available for dogs. This is a good alternative to the transport crate with the advantage of being open on top and are much more comfortable for the dog.
During the trip
You should plan to stop every two hours for a minimum of fifteen minutes to allow your dog to stretch his legs a little and relieve himself.
Take some time to play with your dog for his well-being and yours. During this break, give him something to drink and keep him in shady areas. If possible, try to park your car in the shade and, if necessary, ventilate it well before putting your pet back on board to avoid heat stroke.
If you have to leave the vehicle, equip the dog with its leash and take it with you. Never leave a dog locked in a car in hot weather, even for a short period of time. This can lead to serious sunstroke for the dog. Even if your dog is obedient when you are in unfamiliar territory, the animal loses its bearings. It is therefore preferable to keep him on a leash.
Beware of traffic jams, especially if your car doesn’t have air conditioning. Again, the heat could hinder the trip, especially for your dog.
What does the law say about dog transportation?
It is forbidden to let an animal navigate in the car even if the car is stationary. You risk a fine of about 22$, but the police may not always catch the offence. The Highway Code requires that the dog be tied up or in a crate. Taking a dog on your lap, letting it get in the front of the vehicle or moving freely in the car is dangerous behaviour for both you and the animal. The legislation also specifies that the driver of the vehicle must be able to control all the controls of the car without anything interfering with his gestures and movements.
As with all journeys, it is more comfortable to be well prepared before departure. Your dog will quickly get used to following you everywhere you go on vacation and you will find this easy if you have the right equipment and the right attitude. You’ll find basic accessories that don’t cost much but are a must have for even the smallest car trip with your dog.
In addition to safety for long trips, don’t hesitate to provide your dog with more comfort with, for example, a dog car seat.