Trying to get out of our house without at least one of the dogs “hitching a ride” is near impossible! Here are a few tips to help make being in the car fun, whilst
avoiding the dreadful mistakes that even experienced dog owners seem to make.
Your puppy’s first journey will probably be the one home from the breeder. Hopefully, it won’t be the last, because, to the dog, being in the car is going to
become part of being with you and lead to all sorts of exciting adventures, like going to the vet and walks in the woods.
Start with short journeys, drive gently, avoid cornering too fast - and avoid traveling
just after it’s been fed.
- Security: The safest way to travel with a dog is to use a cage. For this you need to have a hatchback or estate wagon. Ideally the cage should be “made-to
-measure” for the car, so that it doesn’t slide around, and gives the dog plenty of room to move around and stretch out on longer journeys. It should have
doors front and rear - in case the only way to get to the dog after an accident, is over the back seats.
It’s a great advantage if the rear door is lockable - it allows you to park with
the tailgate up, and the dog and car are still fairly “thief-proof”. Be aware that dogs do, sadly, get stolen from time to time. It’s better not to leave the dog in the car - but if you have to .....
........ remember .........
- Ventilation & Shade: For most people, solving this one is a balance between “security” and “cooking the dog alive”. It’s the area where most tragic
mistakes are made. On a sunny day - and it doesn’t have to be a hot summer’s day - the interior of the car can become hot enough to kill a dog within 10
minutes! The answer is a combination of ventilation and shade - or don’t leave the dog in the car. If you have no option, then try to park at least the rear of
the car in the shade. Cover the windscreen with a sunshade and open the tailgate, or, at least, leave the windows and the roof open - 3inches minimum..
Don’t forget .......
- The sun keeps moving: What was a pleasant, cool and shady area when you parked your car, can surprising quickly, be subject to the full force of the sun.
- Water: Always carry fresh cool water. The night before a journey, we fill a clean supermarket type 2 litre plastic milk container with water and put it in
the ‘fridge. Don’t forget a water bowl - we keep an old one in the back of the car. On longer journeys, the dog needs to be allowed a walk, stretch and drink
at least every 2 hours - so don’t forget to take a lead.
- Don’t overload the front: Even when driving quite quickly with the windows open, the extreme back of the car can become almost airless due to high-back
seats, suitcases, boxes and people stacked in front of it. Add to that the possibility of the sun shining on the rear windows, and disaster is not long in
coming! Plenty of cool air, plus sunshades or window blinds are essential.
- Tailgates on older cars grow “weak”: Going away and leaving the tailgate open doesn’t mean that it’s still going to be open when you return. A gentle gust of
wind can easily overcome weak hydraulics - and the tailgate closes. If in doubt, take a broom pole with you to prop it open.
Just in passing ..... (or stopping) ......
Some of the worst sights that we see on our travels are at Motorway Service Stations
The dog is left in the back of the car - and the owners are in the cafeteria. Why not take a picnic or nip in and buy a sandwich? Then - you could put the dog on its lead
and let it enjoy the break with you! Go on - a walk would be good for both of you!