In the Car
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 trips, 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.
Try to park at least the rear of the car in the shade and cover the windscreen with a sunshade and open the tailgate, or, at least, leave all windows and the roof open about 2 inches.
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.
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 can weaken with age.
Going away, leaving the tailgate open, doesn’t mean that it’s still going to be open when you return. Even a gentle / moerate 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.
The optimum is to padlock the cage doors and use a tailgate prop / lock - see .. "SHOPPING LIST".
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 really enjoy the break!
Go on - a good walk would be most beneficial for both of you - and your subsequent driving :-)