The Barking Mad guide to enjoying car journeys with your pet
We all know that dogs are ‘Man’s Best Friend’ and as such it’s very understandable that we want our beloved pets to accompany us on life’s little adventures. Everybody loves the excitement of a road trip and with a little thought and planning, the experience can be a happy one for your pooch too! Your dog’s main desire in life is to be with you and therefore canines can make eager and willing travel companions, as long as their needs have been taken into consideration.
Barking Mad Dog Care are experts in dog travel, providing chauffeur driven holiday transport as part of their 5* rated dog sitting service and have compiled the list below from many years of experience. We know that as we head towards the Summer and the weather improves (hopefully!) there is nothing better than heading off for a day trip or holiday somewhere with exciting new walks and experiences. We hope that the following tips help everyone to have fun!
1. Consider your journey well in advance. Plan your route so that you know where will be a good place to stop and take a break. www.drivingwithdogs.co.uk is a great resource which contains details of lots of puppy perfect places to break your journey, with directions for lovely walks and pet friendly eateries.
2. Ensure that your vehicle is equipped to transport your dog safely and comfortably. The Highway Code which can be found at GOV.UK clearly states in rule 57,
‘When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.’
Please note that if you use a dog crate in your vehicle, it should be large enough to allow your pooch to stand up fully and turn around but not so large that they will slide around. It should also be securely fastened in place. Equally a dog guard should be carefully secured in place and able to restrain the weight of your dog in an accident. At Barking Mad Dog Care, each of our vehicles is equipped with a safe and secure space for your dog to comfortably enjoy their journey, as their welfare is our number one priority.
3. Make sure that you carry a pet first aid kit in your vehicle. These can be purchased from retailers or you can make your own. The Blue Cross has written a fantastic article about basic first aid for dogs which includes a helpful list of what your dog first aid kit should include.
4. Make sure that your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag bearing your mobile number. If you are away from home, a home contact number really isn’t much use if you become separated from your precious pet!
5. Ensure that you pack everything your dog will require for the journey. This should include: collar (with ID tag as mentioned above), lead, waste bags, food, water, bowls, bedding, old wash cloths and/or a towel and a toy but is by no means an exhaustive list. Your pup will feel reassured by the presence of familiar home comforts.
6. Introducing your dog to car travel should be a gradual process. If they are not used to travelling in a vehicle, start with really short journeys with a fun activity at the end, in order to make a positive association. Once your dog begins to associate the car with lovely walks, they will be only to happy to travel!
7. Food and drink play a vital role in keeping your dog happy on a long car journey. A really useful tip is to take water in a thermos flask instead of a bottle, so that it stays refreshingly cool. You could even add ice cubes on a hot day. The RSPCA recommends that you ‘feed your pet no sooner than two hours before you travel.’ It is also important to stick to their regular food to avoid stomach upsets and travel sickness.
8. It is important to remember to take plenty of breaks whilst travelling. You may be in a rush to reach your destination but your canine best friend will most certainly not be happy to be contained in the car for hours on end. Toilet breaks are obviously a necessity but it’s important to give your dog a chance to burn off some pent up energy too! If it’s a warm day remember that a dog should never be left alone in the car, especially in direct sunlight.
9. Have fun! Travelling together can be a lovely way to build the bond between you and your dog and their companionship is sure to enhance any trip or holiday. Dogs really do become part of the family and sharing quality time together can be so mutually beneficial.
10. Sometimes though, no matter how organised or well prepared you are, taking your dog with you just isn’t possible. Maybe they suffer badly from car sickness or a medical issue? Perhaps you have to attend an event which isn’t dog friendly at the journey’s end, such as a wedding? Whatever the reason, if you have to go away without your dog, dog sitters such as Barking Mad can offer the next best option to home. Our dog home boarding service offers loving, experienced care and the faithful replication of your pup’s routine. Our local doggy holidays offer the opportunity for your dog to live as part of a family, whilst you enjoy your trip away with complete peace of mind. Click to find your local branch today or give us a call on 0845 8623845. We’d love to chat to you!