Road Trip with Your Pooch
September 06, 2018 by Pradeepa Rao
Planning a road trip with your pooch? Have anxiety/doubts on how to achieve this seemingly humongous task? Let’s see if we can help ease some of those issues for you!
The first thing to consider & remember before planning a road trip, is that every pooch has a different personality & hence one’s previous travel experience is good to be considered for important tips, but should not be used as a comparison at every stage. Believe it or not, our pet son/daughter is also a reflection of our personality in some way or the other. A hyper pet parent, will end up getting a hyper pet personality in return & same goes for the calmer version.
The Furry Tales’ team decided to do a few road trips with their in-house pets to equip themselves with know-how’s & do’s & don’ts, to make this information more useful to other pet parents. That being said, here are some useful pointers:
It is always better to train your pooch from a very young age, to the ambience of a moving car. It helps them adapt faster and get more comfortable with the idea of traveling. However, we understand that not everyone may have gotten their pet as a young pup or started traveling with them early on. Thus, start introducing them to the car a few days in advance to the planned trip. Start with 5 minutes on the first day, and gradually increase the time to 1-2 hours, driving them around the city or taking them with you for your grocery shopping and any other errands you run, using the car. Check on your pet every few glances to ensure he/she is feeling safe and confident.
It is good to walk your pet before getting them into the vehicle. This will achieve two things – (a) They will complete their business while on the walk, hence reducing the chances of them messing up the car. (b) They will have spent most of their energy walking, and thus be ready to rest and sit calmly in the car.
Do not start the vehicle immediately after you get your pet in. Allow them a few minutes to sniff around & complete their grounding, putting their olfactory senses to use, in order to feel comfortable. Once you’re sure they will not be too restless, start the vehicle & maintain a medium to normal speed. High speed may make them feel nauseous & the noise of the tyres scares some of them. Hence allow them to use the space below the seat if need be, to rest.
Space is a very important factor. Make sure that the vehicle isn’t cramped with luggage & there is enough room for your pet to shift if he/she’s feeling uncomfortable. Larger breeds need more space either at the seat level or the leg room has to be spacious. What is interesting is, there are now a variety of car seat covers available for your pooch, making it easy for them to feel safe & provides them with make shift space to call their own, by turning into a hammock, easy to fit in the car, during the travel. These are easily available online, with variations in material that are easy to clean & most of them, even waterproof.
Snowy, of the Furry Tales family, enjoying her hammock car seat cover from Pawffles. Image for representational & informational purposes only.
If you have an inquisitive pet who likes to peep into the front passenger & driver seat area, which could be a distraction while driving, there are also other products like the Front Seat Pet Barrier that keeps pets from “inviting” themselves into the front seat, thus reducing driver distraction and increasing safety. You can also put a seatbelt around pets who’ve settled in well in the car seat, to add to the safety-measures.
Lyka, of the Furry Tales family feels quite comfortable traveling with a seat belt on.
Do not overfeed your pet before the ride. In some pet’s cases, it’s best to feed them a few hours before the ride. Some vets/trainers suggest in cases of some pets, for journeys that will take less than 6 hours, it’s better to avoid feeding them until you reach the destination. Hydrate the pet well though, by allowing them to drink water. This will help your pet to avoid the nauseous feeling & hence not throw up in the vehicle. One less cleaning job for you as well!
It is important that you do not get irritated & yell at your pet if they are acting restless. Please bear in mind, this is not a known territory for most of them. Adaptation takes time. Keep reassuring them that they’re safe & that you’re there with them. Usually placing a hand on their body for a few minutes, every once in a while should do the trick. This is until they get comfortable with repeated car journeys.
Make a stop every 1.5 hours, & allow your pooch to get off the car, supervised & on leash, to walk around, stretch their legs & do their business. Let them feel the sun, enjoy & adjust to the weather. Regular pit stops will help him/her feel more comfortable & will help in faster adaptation to journeys.
Roll down the windows every once in a while. Let your pet take in the outside sights & feel the breeze. Some pets feel claustrophobic in a window shut, air-conditioned car. This is a good way, to keep them from feeling so.
It is always a good idea to carry a few items like the following, that can help make the journey a smooth one:
- Your pet’s favourite piece of clothing
- A pillow that he/she can rest his head on
- Water & food bowls & treats
- Your pet’s favourite chew toy
- Body harness/Leash
- First Aid Kit
- Emergency medicines, prescribed by a certified vet
We hope these pointers help you have a safe & fun road trip with your furry child!
Do you have some memorable/fun road trip experiences with your pet that you’d like to share with us? If so, please do so in the comments section below
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. Any products displayed are merely for representational & informational purposes.. All views are based on real life experiences of the Furry Tales team. For any medical advice, kindly contact a professional.