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Travelling with your dog by car

Traveling with your dog by car

Guide for Dog Owners: How to have a relaxed road trip with your dog

5/20/2021

The car is the best way to take your dog along on a trip: you can plan out your own itinerary, scheduling breaks as and when required. Dogs are often already quite familiar with this mode of transportation, so you’ll be saving your dog a great deal of stress. There’s another advantage: traveling by car makes it very easy to bring along your dog’s regular food. 

Tip: If he or she is not yet used to lengthy car trips, it’s important to acclimate your dog in advance. Ideally, you should take them for a few shorter excursions, always rewarding your dog afterwards with a good long walk. This will quickly build up positive associations, so your dog will always be happy to get into the car. 

A few things to remember

  • Don’t feed your dog two hours before setting off, as this can lead to stomach upset.
  • When planning out your itinerary, avoid scheduling lengthy periods of travel for the hottest part of the day.
  • Include regular breaks in your schedule (at least once every two to three hours on long journeys), giving your dog plenty of opportunity to do its business, get some exercise and drink some fresh water (don’t forget to bring a water container and a bowl!).
  • Since dogs are very sensitive to drought (risk of conjunctivitis), the window should only be open slightly.
  • Cover the windows with sunblinds, to make sure your dog doesn’t have to sit in blazing sunshine.
  • When getting in and out, always use the pavement side doors! On roads with traffic, you should put your dog on a leash before getting out.
  • Please never leave your dog alone in the car. Even opening an window or parking the car in the shade doesn't help!
  • Even springlike temperatures can make your vehicle very hot. For dogs, this is potentially fatal due to heatstroke.
  • Be careful not to leave your car in a no-waiting or no-parking zone, otherwise the car might get towed with your dog still inside!
  • If your dog suffers from a travel-related illness, a homeopathic or conventional remedy may provide relief. Please consult your vet.

A car can become a death trap on warm days

Even seemingly low temperatures like 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) can become 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) in the car after 10 minutes, and the temperature will continue to rise. These temperatures become life-threatening for dogs in a very short amount of time. Even with precautions such as parking in a shaded spot and opening the windows, it can still be lethal. You must never leave your dog alone in the car! 

Hot cars are a death trap for dogs

Where should your dog sit? 

  • In the back seat, with a chest harness or a canine safety belt (not suitable for restless dogs).
  • In the luggage area, behind a dog safety net or grille (make sure this is firmly secured!).
  • Most dogs feel quite secure in a carrier. It also offers maximum safety, since your dog cannot be thrown back and forth as it would behind a net or grille.

Tip: It is also possible to integrate a special anti-slip mat.

You can download our guide here as a PDF for free:

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