One of the real pleasures of owning a puppy is being able to bring them with you to different places such as the park, local café and even on holidays. While some dogs take to these activities like ducks to water, others can take some time to warm up to the idea of travelling and being away from home. How a puppy copes largely depends on their previous experiences as well as their genetics.
Rather than jumping straight in, we should take things nice and slowly. We should allow our pups to get used to the idea of travelling and to understand that it’s not a scary thing. The first experience should consist solely of sitting in a parked car for 30 seconds. Next, we can gradually increase the time spent within the car and the miles clocked up.
Top tips on travelling with your puppy
The following are some top tips on how to ensure your little one develops into a calm and contented seasoned traveller:
- Ensure your pup is fully up to date with their vaccines and parasite prevention before venturing out.
- Get them used to the car from an early age.
- Ensure they feel secure, whether in a crate or a doggy seat belt. The Highway Code stipulates that they must be secure. Otherwise they pose a risk to you and other road users.
- Start with very short journeys; remember a moving car can be an intimidating place!
- Reward good travel behaviour with praise and tasty treats.
- Avoid feeding a large meal to prevent travel sickness. If your dog is prone to nausea on a journey, consider asking your vet for some anti-nausea medicine.
- Always bring some water and snacks with you, as well as a blanket in case it gets cold.
- Toilet breaks are a must and young dogs need to be let out to pee a lot.
- While Hollywood may have made it seem acceptable, refrain from allowing your pup to travel with their head out of the window! Not only is there a chance they could squeeze through the gap and jump out of a moving car, they also act as a big distraction to passing drivers.
Hot weather and cars
Of course, it’s important to mention the issue of hot weather and cars. Travelling with you in an air-conditioned car in the summer won’t be an issue. The problem arises when a dog is left alone in a car that is too hot and begins to overheat. Cracking a window rarely provides enough ventilation. The safest thing to do is to simply not leave your dog unattended in a car ever, even in winter.
What if you're not planning to travel with your dog?
For those owners who are not planning on using a car to bring their dog to new places, getting them used to car travel is a sound investment. Whether it be when moving home or when transporting them to a kennels while you holiday abroad, at some stage there will likely come a time when they need to get on the road.
With the right preparation, most dogs can learn to enjoy both the voyage and the destination.