Long journeys and dogs aren’t an obvious mix but the numbers of pet passports has continued to rise in the past few years (the numbers issued to vet practices rose from 70,000 to 128,000 between 2014 and 2015) and the UK pet travel market is also extremely healthy, so it seems that more and more dogs in the UK are making long journeys away with us. When it comes to travelling in the car, there are a number of ways you can make the journey more comfortable for your dog and also for any other travellers in the car. Here are some tips to try out:
- Give your dog a good walk before heading off, so he will hopefully nap through most of the journey.
- Make sure you have water for your dog, even if it seems a mild day, there are some non-spill travel bowls which you can put in the boot of the car with your dog.
- If your dog travels on the back seat of the car, try out a seatbelt restraint or harness, to secure him in case of accidents. This can also prevent him from distracting you whilst driving.
- If he is happy to travel in the boot, then try a dog guard or net to prevent him from leaping through onto the back seats whilst still allowing you good vision through the rear view mirror.
- Plan some stops along the way so you can both stretch your legs.
- Avoid changing your dog’s food the night before and try not to feed immediately before leaving; upset stomachs, wind and uncomfortable dogs aren’t the easiest to manage in the confines of a car.
- Make sure your dog has enough space to turn around and stretch out once in the car. It’s tempting to pile up the luggage around him, but bear his needs in mind and what might topple over on to him if you suddenly have to brake.
- It’s best never to leave your dog alone in the car even for short breaks, and especially not on hot days as dogs can quickly become dehydrated.
- Plan ahead and get the contact details of a good vet where you are travelling to, so you’re ready for any emergencies that might happen.