No one likes to leave their furry friend behind when they escape for a break and thankfully there are countless options both here in the UK and abroad to enjoy adventures away from home with your trusted companion. In all the excitement, it’s easy to forget the stress of the travelling itself. Some dogs love cars and public transport but some dread it. Whichever way your dog feels, there are some careful steps you can take to keep your dog calm and make the journey more enjoyable for everyone.
How often should you stop? Do you have enough poo bags to hand? Have you brought travel bowls for water and food? Dog food? Planning ahead will avoid the stress of being caught out. If you’re embarking on a long journey, check ahead for where you can stop off for toilet breaks. Your dog’s bladder is smaller than yours so it’s best to take a break every couple of hours and allow them to relieve themselves. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a good spot for your dog to do their thing. Most service stations will have a grassy area, as well as offering a chance to refuel and get some water and food on board. Your dog should always have access to water so be sure to pack some, their normal dog food, as well as a travel bowl for your dog, along with some healthy dog treats.
Travel in style (safely)
If you’re travelling by car, it’s important, and also now the law, to restrain your dog safely with a purpose fitted car harness or dog crate which can be made more cosy with one of their blankets. The familiar smells from your dog’s favourite blanket will help keep them relaxed as well as make for a more comfortable trip.
Do not leave your dog in the car
Dogs die in hot cars: something horrific that many people forget. However, they are equally sensitive to very cold temperatures so please do not leave them unattended in cars, whatever the season. On warmer days, the temperature outside might be in the early twenties but in less than an hour can creep up to the high forties and quickly become life threatening. If you come across a distressed dog left in a car in hot weather, rather than smashing the window, dial 999.
Keep anxiety at bay
Is your dog an anxious traveller? If you do have some time for training before a long journey, help desensitise your pooch with shorter car trips or simply get them used to the car by sitting inside with them on your driveway. When training them to go in the car, make sure you go to one of their favourite walking spots, rather than journeying to somewhere they may dislike such as the groomers or vet. Each time, ensure you have something fun to hand such as their favourite toy or dog treats to create a positive association. With consistent training, you can teach your dog to love the car. Patience is key - let your dog lead the pace. For some extra help, play some of your dog’s favourite tunes.
Helping sensitive stomachs
We all know and dread the driver that is heavy footed and harsh with the brakes. It can turn stomachs into turmoil for humans, let alone our four-pawed pals. Drive carefully to avoid causing motion sickness. If your dog has a particularly sensitive tummy and is prone to motion sickness, in addition to taking regular car breaks, you can also help ease this by ensuring they’re facing forwards, using pheromones and allowing fresh air into the vehicle. Go ahead and wind that window down.
Health check with your vet
Not essential for UK travels but highly recommended if you’re going away for a number of days, make sure you get an appointment booked in with your vet to check everything’s ok with your dog before travelling. If you’re travelling abroad with your pet, you also need to ensure that your details are up to date. There may also be specific things you need to do depending on your intended destination which your vet can advise on too.
Guest post from Scrumbles, a natural pet food company who make a host of goodies for dogs and cats alike. With naturally calming ingredients like chamomile and lemon balm, their calming dog treats make for a helpful addition to your doggies’ travel bag.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.