Dogs In Cars


Dogs need water and ventilation when travelling and possibly food as well depending on the length of the journey. Breaks should be made in the journey for the dog to stretch its legs and relieve itself. Dogs are best familiarised with car journeys from a young age. Initially, sitting with your dog to reassure it, hold it securely and keep it calm is a good idea.

Some dogs are particularly susceptible to motion sickness when travelling, and many grow out of it. It is possible to get travel sickness pills for pets that are suitable with vets advice, but the human versions are definitely not recommended, as the dog’s balance and digestive systems are different to ours.

Again, sitting with the dog can be helpful. Some dogs actually travel better in cages, possibly because it resembles a den, though the cage needs to be large enough for the dog to be able to stretch out and move around in. Putting a light cloth over the cage can be helpful to dogs that still suffer from travel sickness. Taking the dog out in the car shortly after being fed is obviously not to be recommended.

Although I have seen pet seatbelts recommended, personally I don’t think they are a very sensible idea. Every dog I have had has been fairly calm in the car, in some cases after a few journeys with someone sat with the dog in the back seat. After that, the dogs got used to sitting or lying down without any issues. If there is going to be a problem with your dog moving around the car, then it should either be:

  • in a large enough cage for travelling
  • partitioned off in some other way, or
  • not taken in the car at all

Some dogs can become territorial about the car, barking at anything that moves outside. Some owners install blinds in the car windows, but the best solution in practice is to make a habit of sitting with the dog and bring it under control by making it clear that this is poor behavior. Eventually this spell will usually pass, though it may take time with severe cases.

Most pet owners know that animals should not be left in a vehicle with no ventilation, especially in sunlight.

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