Taking Your Dog on the Road: The Ultimate Ideas for Stress-Free Travel

Thinking of taking a road trip with your most loyal companion? Feeling nervous about how they will manage? Don’t worry – this is a common issue that plagues many pet owners. Taking a dog on a road trip should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your pet, and with some preparation it can absolutely be a smooth and fuss-free journey.

Of course, teaching your pet how to be independent and comfortable with travel is often a long process and should start well before your trip. You need to set boundaries and rules, as well as make sure your pet understands them. Canines are pack animals, so if you’re going somewhere with them, they must trust you and be able to follow instructions.

How Do You Make Your Dog More Comfortable While Traveling?

Luckily, most pups are quite adaptable and don’t feel the same fear and anxiety that cats do in new, unfamiliar places. They’re usually not afraid of the car and actually enjoy it, but there are certainly still a few measures you should take to ensure your pooch is as comfortable as possible.

How Do You Make Your Dog More Comfortable While Traveling?
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Invest in a Comfy Dog Carrier

Having their own personal space in the car can make your pooch feel much more at ease. Make sure to check out some appropriately-sized dog travel crates with plenty of ventilation. This will help keep your pup safe in case of a sudden stop, as well as provide them with room to move around.

Most dog carriers feature a built-in harness or strap so you can attach them safely in the car. Their sturdy bodies and cosy padding can also help keep your pup calmer as they’re being transported.

You can opt for a model that’s a fully wired frame so that your pet will take in some of the scenery or a more enclosed model with a small window to limit distractions. The former helps your pup acclimate to the activity of the car, while the latter is better for pooches that may react somewhat aggressively to the constant motion.

Make sure to place the crate in a forward-facing position since dogs tend to feel safer when facing the direction of travel. Much like humans, your pup could become nauseous or car-sick if they don’t have a clear view of the road and its turns. Having the carrier within your view in the car will also contribute to their feeling of security and camaraderie.

Generally speaking, dog travel crates come with a foldable design, which makes them easy to store and transport. When you’re done travelling, simply pack it up and put it away until the next trip. And if you need to use your hands and don’t want to leave your pooch unattended, you might want to get a carrier backpack. This allows you to take your furry friend with you while running errands on the go.

Take Dog Toys to Keep Them Occupied

Take Dog Toys to Keep Them Occupied
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It’s natural for your pup to become restless and bored during long drives. To keep your canine engaged, bring along a variety of dog toys – from tug ropes to chew bones – and rotate them every now and then. This will help keep your pup entertained and distracted from the unfamiliar noises, sights, and vehicles around them.

You can also pack their favourite items to help them feel right at home. If your pup has a blanky or teddy bear they usually sleep with, bring that along too. Your pet’s own belongings will help make them feel comfortable and secure in their strange surroundings.

Use Positive Reinforcement and Give Them Treats

Using words of affirmation as you cross through unfamiliar terrain is a wonderful way to keep your pup calm. Be sure to praise them for good behaviour and give them treats when they’re quiet and attentive. This will help them understand that they’re doing something right and will encourage similar actions in the future.

Packing a few of their favourite snack treats before you leave will also help ease your dog’s anxiety and keep them distracted from the surrounding commotion. As a bonus, you can use treats as rewards for performing simple commands or staying put in their crate.

Pack Some Potty Bags

Pack Some Potty Bags for your dog
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There’s no escaping the call of Mother Nature no matter how long the journey may be. To avoid any accidental messes in the car, pack a few plastic bags and disposable gloves so that you can quickly clean up after your pooch. This is especially important if you’re driving in a populated area and don’t have access to an outdoor space for them to do their business.

Bring a Leash and ID Collar Tags

Your pooch should have a collar with up-to-date ID tags on it before going to your destination. This helps ensure that they can be identified if they get separated from you. After all, you never know what kind of trouble they might get into while exploring a new place.

Additionally, you can bring a comfortable leash to keep your pup close when you’re out and about. This will ensure that your pooch isn’t tempted to wander off, which can be dangerous in an unfamiliar area.

Play Soothing Music at a Low Volume

Play Soothing Music at a Low Volume
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Believe it or not, music plays a big role in calming animals. While your pet is in the car, you can play some low-volume, instrumental tunes to help ease their anxiety. Studies suggest that classical music is particularly effective at calming canines, so that’s a great genre to try. Other types of music such as jazz, folk, or even smooth rock can be beneficial too.

Be Mindful of the Temperature in the Car

Finally, remember to check the temperature before you start your journey. Dogs are very sensitive to hot and cold conditions, so any major fluctuations can cause them to become distressed. As a general rule of thumb, try not to keep the car temperature higher than 23°C and lower than 20°C. Any temperatures outside of this range can be dangerous and uncomfortable for your pet.