Tips for Safely Driving with Your Dog

When we humans go on a long drive, it’s often that we have our furry friends tag along. We all know dogs enjoy car rides, there’s nothing better than seeing them stick their head out of the window and try to eat as much air as possible! But when it comes to transporting them safely,  this is something many people don’t often think about. 

For many dog owners, driving safely is a major concern and they will go to extended lengths to ensure their beloved pup has the ride of their life. Many pet owners have determined a universal set of best practices for safely driving with your dog. 

Before the Trip Kicks Off

The first part of a safe trip begins before you or your dog has gotten into the vehicle. Be sure your dog has eaten and drank at least three hours prior to your drive and that they have had a chance to go to the bathroom. This will reduce the chances of an upset stomach or anxiety of needing to go to the bathroom. All of the motion accompanied by a full stomach can give dogs a sick stomach and result in an unpleasant trip. If your dog does need to eat or drink during the trip, be sure to pull off to a rest stop and give them the appropriate time to do so.

The Inside of the Vehicle

For many dog owners, one of the biggest joys is allowing them the freedom to look out the windows and sit in the front seat. This practice isn’t just dangerous for the driver or dog, many dogs who sit and look out the window often get motion sickness due to speed and moving objects. In some states, dogs who are not harnessed into a seat can result in a fine of up to $1,000. Traveling with them in a crash approved cage or in a harness that buckles into the seatbelt is recommended. This practice keeps the dog secure and in place if a crash were to occur. It also helps to reduce the urge to check on them to see what they are doing and keeps your eyes focused on the road.

Recommended Types of Vehicles for Transportation

While you do not need to run out and purchase a new vehicle, it is nice to know that there are some vehicles that are better suited for transporting dogs than others. One of the most desirable features of a vehicle is one that has a separate cargo area. This allows them to be harnessed in and in their own peaceful area. If the separate area has its own climate control, that’s even better!

Familiarizing Dogs With Cars

Be sure to familiarize your dog with your vehicle to keep them calm to this new element. Walk them around the vehicle and have them sit in it several times before actually taking your first drive. There are also exercises you can do to help your dog stay calm in the vehicle. There is a stigma about dogs not liking car rides because they associate it with going to the vet. To break this mindset, take your dog on other trips that are enjoyable such as the park or around the block to break the mold.

For all dogs, big, small, young and old, riding in a vehicle can be difficult. The length of the trip, the type of terrain, or winding roads can spell disaster for a dog. Providing them with a safe and secure space, food and water if they need it, and stopping every few hours to allow them to get fresh air and go to the bathroom is key. Just remember that driving safely is important, and driving with your furry friend means you should be even more careful.

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