Tips for taking your dog for a car ride

Many dogs enjoy going for a car ride. They stick their heads out of the back window and let the breeze bring to them scents of new places. You know that dogs can enjoy a car ride, but yours doesn’t seem to be, and you don’t seem to be able to help much. Here are some tips to provide a safe (for you and your dog), hopefully fun and stress free ride in the car.

Help prevent your dog from being sick or eliminating in the car: Being in the car for the first time can be both scary and exhilarating for you dog. Even if your dog has been on many car rides, it still might get overly excited. If your dog has a problem getting sick in the car, don’t feed him several hours before the ride, and limit his water intake. Make sure he has a good potty break and maybe a decent walk before making him go in the car.

Keep your dog still when in the car: It’s recommended that you have your dog secured in some way when he’s in the car. There are many products such as specialized seat belts, carriers, and car barriers that can be set up so your dog is safe when riding in the car. Before using any of these devices, get your dog used to them before taking him for a ride with them. Seat belts can be worn as harnesses when you’re out for a walk, and you can get your dog comfortable with going in and out of carrier. If your dog is crate trained, this will be all the easier to do. Make the items used for his security as stress free as possible before adding the additional stress of the car.

Get your dog used to being in the car: Once you have let him get used to the safety devices, take him for short trips. Make sure the destinations are fun places like the park or a pets store where he can socialize with dogs and people. He will quickly come to associate riding in the car with a positive end result. Don’t take your dog places where you’ll have leave him in the car. It’s not safe to leave a pet inside a car even if it’s not too hot outside or the windows are rolled down. There are things he could get into, and if your dog is already nervous about car rides, leaving him in the car could increase his anxiety.

Soothe your nervous dog while in the car: Give him a familiar object to have near them in the car. Bring their favorite toy along or let your dog sit on its blanket or bed.

Talk to your dog. Use a positive, soothing voice. Some dogs actually get riled up by their owners voice, so this depends on your dog. Try talking and silence to see which works the best for keeping your pet calm in the car. Don’t let the dog become a distraction, and don’t let him pester you into distraction. Try not to scold your dog while in the car.

Play music. Put something soothing on quietly in the background. It may help to ease the tension your dog feels. It will also help cover the unfamiliar road noise and proved a distraction.

Open a window. This will provide new sights and smells for you dog, and a distraction. Because of the restraint, he may not be able to stick his head out of the window, but the fresh air and new scents will still serve to distract him from being scared inside the car.

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