How to Transport a Dog in a Car? Everything You Need to Know

Most dog owners do not wish to move to a new place without having their furry friend beside them. This is because they are emotionally attached to their pets. During these times, you might need to transport your dog in a car for various circumstances such as relocating to a new place, going on a trip, moving out to get your work done, etc. There can also be other instances such as not being willing to transport your dog for various shortcomings in different modes such as airways, ground service, etc. These situations can be really challenging for people to carry their dogs along with them. But suppose you can plan it properly beforehand. In that case, you and your dog can have a peaceful and comfortable journey than you expect. 

Tools Required to Transport a Dog in a Car

  1. Dog Restraint
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  1. Crates
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  1. Dog Treats
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  1. Dog Hammock
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  1. Leash
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  1. Dog Collars
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  1. Dog Harness
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  1. Dog Seat Cover
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  1. Dog Car Barrier
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  1. Dog Stairs/Ramps
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  1. Dog Seat Boosters
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Tips to Transport the Dog in a Car

  1. Plan Where Your Dog Will Sit 

You may need to think beforehand whether your dog will be sitting in a car restraint or a crate. If they are not crated, ensure there is enough space to turn around, and there are no dangerous objects near them. If the road trip is long, try to make it extra comfortable by placing their favorite toys and blanket. 

Ensure you have all things placed inside the car beforehand since your dog will be getting into the car at the very last moment before leaving. It would help if you did not let your dog sit in the front seat; Because the airbags can seriously hurt them in case of an accident, always choose the back seat or the boot to keep your canine safe.

  1. Pick the Restraint Carefully

You will need a restraint for your dog if you are not transporting him in a crate to ensure no harm happens to your pet in case of an accident. Depending on your preferences, there are some restraint options you can choose. These include zipline harnesses, boxes with harness attachments, and harness seat belts.

Of course, there are other alternatives to harnesses, like back seat hammocks and barriers, crates, and dog guards. While these alternatives are better than nothing, they are not as efficient as restraints. Check the local laws in the state you are moving to know if your dog can travel in a car without any restrictions. 

  1. Don’t Feed the Dog Right Before Leaving

Dog guides usually recommend owners maintain their routine no matter what. In most instances, this advice is accurate, but you may need to make some adjustments in certain cases, particularly when traveling. 

These guides are especially true because some people are found to struggle with motion sickness in their dogs. If your dog eats just before traveling, he may likely get an upset stomach during the journey, particularly pups and younger dogs.  

Therefore, it is suggested to break the routine and feed your dog a couple of hours earlier. Ideally, it is advised to feed your dog at least 3 hours before you travel.

  1. Plan Ahead

It is difficult to eliminate stress-related problems in dogs no matter how much you try to overcome them. That is why you need to prepare for the occurrence. If your canine has had stress issues earlier, talk to your veterinarian about it a month before the travel date and make necessary arrangements. In addition, it will help if you get some anti-anxiety medications to keep your dog calm. 

You can also restrict stress issues during the trip by following these tips:

  • Remain calm and stress-free during the travel, as dogs are fine-tuned to their owners’ moods and body language. 
  • Ensure your dog has his preferred blankets and toys with him. 
  • Try non-prescription anti-anxiety drugs to see if they help. Experiment with them before the travel day to have an idea regarding their effects on your dog. 
  1. Plan the Journey With Lots of Breaks

It is suggested not to prefer to travel all the way without any stops in between as it can be very stressful for your dog, especially if it is a long journey. However, short breaks can help your dog go potty, take short walks, and have some activity. You should be taking a break every 2-3 hours for 15 to 20 minutes. The time to reach your destination might delay, but these tiny breaks will keep your dog comfortable. 

  1. Use Crates That Suit Your Dog

If you plan to use a crate instead of a restraint, choose a certified one for safety purposes. This determines that the crate should be crash-tested and made of suitable material.

The most long-lasting materials for crates are plastic and aluminum reinforced fiberglass. Also, check if the crate has some ventilation for air circulation and good insulation for comfort during all seasons. Always buy from reliable brands that comply with strict safety guidelines for the products they offer. For additional safety, pick products that come with crash bags installed within the crate. Also, you can buy a ramp or steps to help your dog climb into the car and out of it without your help, especially for small dogs or a puppy.

  1. Do Not Offer Your Dog Excess Treats During the Journey

It is recommended to keep the praise to verbal encouragement during traveling instead of offering treats to your dog. This is to avoid several problems that may arise because of feeding your dog while traveling in the car. For example, they may get an upset tummy or can choke on the food. Therefore, it would be better to avoid giving treats when you are traveling or driving. 

  1. Maintain the Car’s Interior Temperature to Ensure Your Dog is Comfortable

Dogs have a higher sensitivity to temperature than humans. So, to keep your dog safe, you have to pay attention to the temperature inside your car and ensure your dog is comfortable. This means that you have to keep the air conditioning running during summers and keep the interior warm during winters. 

You can also keep the windows open for a little while in the summer to ensure some fresh air inside the car. However, please don’t put it entirely down to ensure your dog cannot stick his head out of the window. Remember not to leave your dog alone in the car for an extended time. 

Although, if you have to run to a store quickly, ensure you crank the back seat window open a little bit and return as soon as possible. 

  1. Pack a Bag of Essential Things

Ensure to pack a bag of essentials with the items your dog might need during the journey and on their first day in the new place. This is to make things easier for both of you as well as you will not have to unwrap everything to find something your dog might need. 

Here’s what to include in the bag:

  • Harness and leash 
  • Travel food and water dish
  • Enough food and water for the trip
  • Any medications that your pet takes
  • Any medical records that your veterinarian provided you with
  • Important tags that aren’t present on your dog’s harness already
  • A couple of dog toys
  • Treats
  • Extra waste bags
  • Pack of disinfecting wipes

Always keep this bag of essentials in an easy-to-access area.

How to Transport a Dog in a Car Videos

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Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that to ensure a pleasant and not-too-stressful trip for your dog, you may need to plan everything properly. Dogs are susceptible animals, and you cannot take their safety and health lightly, especially during a journey. So, try to predict their needs and problems to limit them as much as you can. 

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