Make sure that you have everything you’ll need to keep your dog happy and healthy. Here’s a list of must-haves and probably-should-haves:
• Lead, collar and ID tag
. If anything should happen and your dog is separated from you whilst away from your home, it’s going to be really important that they’re wearing an up-to-date id tag and it can really help to prevent this by having a suitably, well-fitted collar and lead. It’s is a legal requirement that all dogs have an id take on their collar (or harness) and this must have your own surname, home address and a telephone number that is visible and easy to read.
• Food, water, bowls
. If you are out all day take along a sufficient supply of the food your dog is accustomed to eating so it has it’s meal time as scheduled and of course, have plenty of water, too – and bowls, of course.
. Bring towels to use for drying down your dog and these can be useful if your dog is overheating as they can be wet and wrapped around their body to keep them cool.
• First Aid Kit.
It’s always a good idea to carry essential items to use if your dog needs medical help, from a tick remover to bandages and it’s worth finding out where the local on-call vet is if you are traveling away for a few days or abroad.
Some dogs love to get in a car, hang their heads out the window, and relish in the experience but that’s not a good way for them to travel.
Even if your dog is a happy traveler, it shouldn’t be allowed to roam free within the confines of your car. That could be very bad for your dog in the case of an accident, and an unrestrained dog could even be the cause
of an accident. And all dog body parts should remain inside the vehicle at all times.
Dog crates are great for car travel, assuming that the size of your dog isn’t a limiting factor.
When choosing a crate for your dog, it should be large enough to permit the dog to stand up completely inside and turn around, but there shouldn’t be so much room that the dog can slide around inside in response to the car’s movements. It should be well ventilated, and structurally sound.
And it’s important that the crate be securely fastened in place; a loose crate isn’t much of an improvement over a loose dog. If a crate won’t work for your dog, there are other options.
A harness that is fastened to a seat safety belt is a great alternative. It provides the dog some freedom, but restrains the dog in an accident. Be sure to buy a harness that’s specifically designed to be used with safety belts. Barriers can also be effective restraints, and are great for securing a dog in an open area, such as in a van.
Regular breaks on long journeys and opportunities to burn-off a bit of pent-up energy will help to make your dog a happy traveler. Just be careful not to have an escapee on your hands when you let your dog out of the car!
And when you do stop, be sure to never leave your dog in the car in the hot sun – even if you do open the windows. Temperatures can climb to levels that aren’t dog friendly very quickly. To find out more and if you want to join the ‘Don’t Cook Your Dog’ campaign, please visit: www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/dontcookyourdog
Motion or Emotion
Most dogs gradually get used to traveling in a vehicle but the less they have access to this, the greater the risk they won’t enjoy it. Make sure you build up the experience of traveling from puppyhood by short but frequent trips until they get used to the motion and learn to accept it. Avoid lots of long journeys early on and ensure they feel safe.
If you dog gets a bit too excited and starts to bark at the things outside, prevent visual access by restraining them in a travel crate and placing a towel over the top or blacking out the rear windows. Make sure any changes are done so the dog is accepting of the new positioning in the car and feels happy to travel.
With the proper equipment and with good planning, there’s no reason to leave your
best friend behind when you take to the road!
*If you have any concerns about your dog’s behaviour please seek professional advice prior to introducing any changes to their routine, either from a pet behaviuorist: www.apbc.co.uk
or trainer: www.apdt.co.uk