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Take the Stress Out of Car Trips with Your Dog

Dog in car

Safe Car Trips with your Dog are Paramount

Image by The Consumerist via Flickr

With the increasing number of travel and holiday destinations accepting dogs, the need for
safe (and fun) car trips with your dog becomes a top priority.

The first thing to be aware of when it comes to dogs and cars, is that for many dogs, the feelings associated with going for a ride in the car are not good.  Others love to go along for a ride from day one. The negativity often occurs because the only time that they often go in the car, is to the vets, which is not necessary a good thing in their opinion. For your dog to want to go for a car ride, they will need to be able to associate a good experience with it.

Preparing For Successful Car Trips with Your Dog

  • It is best to get your dog used to the car at an early age. Start by placing your puppy in the back of the car with the engine off. Ensure that you place a sheet or blanket in the backseat first, to catch dog hair and other messes that they might make. Now give them a treat. You will need to repeat this several times before you even go for a car ride.
  • Once your dog begins to associate the car with a good experience (the treat), start the engine while your dog is sitting in the car. If they seem comfortable, go for short 5-minute car trips with your dog.
  • Please note it is important for any dog to be secured when riding in a car. There are many products for this purpose, such as dog car seat belts, dog car safety seats and carriers. What ever device you intend to use, get your dog used to it before going for a drive.
  • If short car trips with your dog are working successfully, it is time to extend the drive. Make sure that you choose a destination the your dog will like. Remember, we want them to associate the car with a good experience. For example take them to the local dog park. Never take your dog someplace where you will have to leave them unattended in the car. Even with the window partly down, it can get extremely hot in a car and it is not uncommon for pets to suffer heat stoke and death.
  • Finally, don’t let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries.

Guidelines for Longer Car Trips with Your Dog

  • Get a health check at your vet before going on an extended trip. Make sure all their vaccinations are up to date
  • To avoid your dog throwing up in the car, do not feed them for several hours before your journey. Make sure they have access to plenty of water at all times. Ginger is also a good holistic remedy… in capsule form or even a few ginger snap cookies. (Car Sickness in Dogs).
  • Make sure your dog goes to the bathroom before any long trips.
  • As a precaution, in case your dog runs away while you are traveling, make sure that your dog has a strong collar, carrying an identification tag with the dog’s name, your name, and your home/mobile phone number. Include any other important tags, such as a rabies vaccination tag and your dog license. Bring a recent picture of your dog along with you.
  • Leaving your pets in the car is never a good idea!  Not only because of heat and cold, but also because people steal them.  Try to take a second person with you on an extended trip and if you must stop somewhere make sure it is only for a minute or two and try to park your vehicle where you can see it and your pets.
  • Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate.
  • Never let your dog ride in the back of an open vehicle. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe injuries or death.
  • Stop frequently for drink, exercise and potty breaks. Please clean up after your dog.
  • To keep your dog healthy and happy, bring along a supply of their regular food and some local, or bottled water. Be sure to bring any medications they need.

Mother's Day - 24 Days Old First Ride In A Car

What to do if your Dog is a Nervous Traveler

  • Give Them a Familiar Object – Bring their favorite toy or blanket. These familiar items help them to deal with the unfamiliarity of the car.
  • Talk to Your Dog – Some dogs are soothed by hearing your voice while others can get more excited. Try both talking and silence to see which works best for your dog. It is best not to scold your dog, but to use positive reinforcement. If you are talking to your dog to calm them, do not allow this to distract you from driving. Similarly, petting a dog while driving can be a distraction and they will only pester you for more.
  • Play Music – Turn the radio on. Soothing music can have a calming effect on some pets. The sound will help cover the loud and unfamiliar sounds of the road.
  • Open a Window – By opening one of the windows near them, you can provide a distraction through new and interesting scents for your dog.

By applying these guidelines, you will be well on your way to having successful car trips with your dog.

Leaving CA  - We Are Sooo Ready to Leave

Images by the UCLA Shutterbug

We recently had to relocate and ended up driving a small U-haul with a few of our belongings that we would need until having our pod delivered, so decided to rent a 10-ft truck and a car hauler for our car.

Our four pups were our most important and prized concern.  After pretty much everything was packed up and the pod was off my husband went to pick up the truck.  When he pulled up I almost fell over.  The truck came with two bucket seats.  I had only ever seen or rented a U-haul with a bench seat.  There was a big enough area between the two seats to stack the cushions 4 high from the couch that we had no sold.  Things always end up happening for a reason…  It was a big enough area for all four of our Chihuahuas and Chiweenies to lie down at the same time and it put them up high enough so they could see and extended the area by stuff a sweatshirt or two over the drink holder area.

Our greatest fear was how the trip would be for our one who was now four and had suffered from car sickness since he was a puppy.  I was prepared with bags and clean stuff.  He never got sick once on the trip or since.  We think being higher up helped him and maybe seeing cured some anxiety that he had?

We made regular stops and had water and snacks for in-between, and we just ate fast food or stopped at markets or road stands for some fresh fruits and veggies along the way.  We stayed in pet friendly motels along the way.  It really turned out to be a great experience for six of us!!

Related: 

Stress in Dogs (Pets)

Pet Car Sickness and Fear of Riding in Cars

Orange County Sheriffs Ask People To Buckle Up Their Pets

Cruelty Alert:  Pets Suffering from Heatstroke in Parked Cars

Don’t think for a Minute that Dogs Can Survive in a Hot Care

Temperatures Are Rising: Be a Dog Defender: Help Save Animals This Summer!  Cool Ideas for Hot Dogs -  Please be proactive and vocal… you could be saving a life and definitely saving animals of a lot of suffering!!

Honda’s Dog Friendly Element Revealed – Gets Humane Society Approval

Honda’s Dog Friendly Element

Source:  Just One More Pet

Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA Petbook

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Vacationing with Your Pet

April 2, 2011 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, animals, Chihuahua, Chiweenie, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet and Animal Training, pet fun, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

With Pets Travel Series: Ten Tips for Traveling with Pets Part III

Although bringing your pet when you travel may seem impossible, in most cases it’s surprisingly easy as long as you plan ahead. Please read these ten tips to help get going. Your dog (or cat) will thank you.

10. Check your destination country’s pet health requirements several months in advance.

Every country has its own requirements regarding required health vaccinations, inspections upon arrival, and, sometimes, quarantine. It’s important that you know exactly what the requirements are several months in advance. For example, certain countries specify that your pet must have a rabies vaccination less than a year old but at but no less than 30 days from date of flight. Don’t get stuck having to change your ticket. Prepare for all of the requirements before you go by calling the consulates of the countries you’ll be visiting and asking about their requirements or checking USDA website here.. If you’re going to be traveling between two or more countries without returning to your home country, you may want to locate a vet in the areas where you’ll be staying so that a new pet health certificate can be completed if necessary.

9. Make sure your pet has a clean bill of health.

Regardless of the destination, most travel into another country will require that you present a pet health certificate to confirm that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. There are typically strict requirements that establish how far in advance of your trip the certificate needs to be completed—usually no more than 5 to 10 days before your departure.

8. Check your carrier’s regulations.

Almost all airlines, trains, and buses have specific regulations that apply to pets on the go, and those regulations can vary greatly from one carrier to another. Check online or call the carrier to ask about pet regulations. Some of the questions to ask include: How many pets can be on-board at once? What are the boarding requirements? What are the pet carrier or crating requirements? Do you need to show up at the airport earlier if you’re traveling with your pet?


7. Prepare your pet’s carrier.

First, make sure that your pet’s carrier fits the transportation provider’s requirements for size, type (hard side vs. soft side), and interior (lined vs. not lined). If it’s allowed in the cabin, make sure that the pet can fit in the carrier comfortably and still fit under the seat. If you’ll be traveling by air, ask for an aisle seat; middle seats are typically storage sites for electronic equipment, and it’s unlikely a carrier will fit well under that seat. Make sure that your pet’s leash and some plastic bags, paper towels, and handwipes are stored in or near the carrier for quick access if needed.

6. Prepare for security screening.

Most U.S. airports require that you remove your pet (if it is a dog or cat) from its carrier and place it in your arms while passing through the security checkpoint. If your pet is unaccustomed to loud noises, you may want to practice a few times before arriving at the airport by exposing your pet to some high traffic places so he or she won’t be scared or startled.

5. Make sure your pet has ID.

Even if you don’t tag your luggage, make sure you tag your pet’s crate or carrier, whether in the cabin or in cargo, and make sure your pet is wearing a tag on its collar with its name and your contact information.

4. Carry contact information.

Note your pet’s health information and vet contact information among your documents. This seems simple, but lots of people forget to take their vet’s contact information with them. Your home vet can be a great resource while abroad, though, so don’t forget!

3. Check the pets-welcome policy for your lodgings

Increasingly, non-pet friendly lodgings are cracking down on enforcement, some charging a “heavy cleaning” or “convenience fee”—in many cases non-refundable—if they discover that you have a pet. Be sure to ask about the pet policy for the places where you plan to stay. Check out www.petswelcome.com for a list of places around the world that are pet friendly.

2. Get to know your pet’s travel needs.

If you’ve never traveled with your pet before, you may be surprised to see how different he or she is on the road. After your first trip, you’ll begin to get an idea of your pet’s specific needs and plan for them accordingly. If you have a dog, be sure to walk it before arriving at the airport. Keep a few plastic bags in your bag for disposal of waste.

1. Last call checklist:

Check your bags once more before you go: Leash? Meds (if liquids, are they stored appropriately)? Food? Water? Water/Food Bowls? Vet record? Blankets? Toy? and Contact Information?

Julie Schwietert Collazo – Matador & Boston.com

Posted:  Just One More Pet

September 28, 2009 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Travel, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Jet Blue Introduces JetPaws Program

Dear Pet Parents,

Jet Blue is introducing JetPaws, JetBlue’s exclusive program designed to provide pets and their owners the tips and tools they need for a smooth trip from start to finish.  They are committed to each and every customer-including the four-legged ones.  There’s no charge and the program provides:

TrueBlue® points – TrueBlue points each way when traveling with your pet.

Pet carrier bag tag – a bag tag will be attached to every pet carrier at check in to let everyone know your pet is ready to jet.

Travel Petiquette™ – a handy list of JetBlue’s social graces of pet travel.

JetPaws welcome email – once you book your pet, you will receive a welcome email with useful information such as next steps, Petiquette and travel tips.

Free Pet Travel Guide – a useful, downloadable e-booklet featuring:
The ins and outs of jetting with your pet from the moment you book your flight to your arrival at your final destination.

Travel Petiquette

Pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and parks plus animal hospitals in some of JetBlue’s major cities

JetPaws is also Running a Pet look-Alike Contest

Are you and your pet two of a kind? Submit a photo for a chance to win a JetBlue Getaways vacation package!

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December 23, 2008 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Events, Pet Travel, Success Stories, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments