Things You Need to Know About When Traveling With Your Dog by Car

English Bulldog in a MINI Cooper S 1 photo
Photo: MINI
Let's be honest here for a moment: traveling with your dog by car was a bit of an adventure the first time you did it. Whereas some of us managed to learn the dos and don'ts of such an adventure, there are many people out there that aren't aware of the most important basics of traveling with quadrupeds by car.
Before we start, it's worth noting that cat owners have it easy thanks to those hard-shell cages. If you own a dog, though luck! They're more sensible to stimuli than cats and most canine breeds are bigger than felines, so you can understand why it's such a hassle to make your dog feel comfortable in the car.

First-time dog owners need to be aware that not all canines can handle road trips without prior practice, not even to the nearest Walmart. Alas, it's recommended you first go for a few practice runs before a journey over 10 miles long. As a general rule, every dog owner needs to ensure his or her best friend is in good health and current on vaccinations.

Then you need to consider that it's not recommend to seat the travel buddy in the front passenger or rear seats because a potential airbag deployment is dangerous for your four-footed companion.

That's why the boot or the truck's bed are the best places to accommodate your pet, but don't forget to stretch a blanket on the boot or bed's floor. It provides a bit of cushioning and helps with not letting the dog slide on the floor during acceleration, braking, cornering and other potentially unsafe situations.

No rides with the dog's head outside the window

Dogs may like that, but flying objects, road signs or other traffic participants that pass you too close for comfort might hurt your beloved pet. Another big no-no you need to be aware of is not to feed your dog too much before setting off because motion sickness is a bitch. Furthermore, it's not recommended to feed your dog while the vehicle is moving. In addition to that, thirst must be quenched with bottled water because service station tap water isn't good for Lassie out of sanitary reasons.

With these things covered, another very important aspect of traveling by car with your canine mate is to take often breaks, when you can stretch your back and your dog can go make its number ones and twos.

Last but not least, never leave your canine alone in the car. It's inhumane to do so because cabin temperature can rise to 120 degrees in under five minutes on hot days, even with the windows slightly open. To boot, anxiety is also an issue in this kind of situation. When traveling with passengers in the rear seats, you'd better fit a pet barrier to make sure no one will get bitten if the dog gets overly excited.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
Mircea Panait profile photo

After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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