Ever since Bertie the cockapoo joined our family last November I’ve been learning that whatever we do as a family we need to consider how it’s going to affect him. We have a responsibility to make sure that he’s happy with whatever we’re doing and besides, if he’s not having a good time, then neither will we. The first time we put Bertie in the car he didn’t like it all and after all, why should he? Now he knows it’s a safe place he’s quite happy to jump in and join us on our travels. So, here are my suggestions for ensuring that you don’t have an unhappy and dangerously distracting doggy, when you’re off on your travels.
Don’t forget the essentials
A water dish and water. Food, treats and toys. I know that you can pick things up along the way, but the more familiar you can keep it, the happier your dog will be.
Get your dog used to car travel gradually
Bertie travels in the back of the car behind a guard but you can also use a dog crate or a seat restraint, which looks hilarious. The point is, whichever way your dog is travelling, he or she needs to get used to it. Setting off on a long car journey before your dog is familiar with car travel is just going to make for a very unhappy dog and a very unhappy family. Go on small car journeys to get to a park, therefore your dog can associate travel with walks!
Plenty of exercise beforehand
A tired dog is a happy dog. I know it might mean getting up earlier but a good long walk before your journey will make for a much happier doggy.
Visit the vet
This is essential if you’re going abroad but even if you’re just travelling in this country, if makes sense to know that your dog is in good health before travelling. If you are travelling abroad, your dog will need a passport and vaccinations at least three weeks before travel. It’s also worth knowing that your dog will need a blood test and tick treatment 48 hours before returning to the UK.
If you don’t already have insurance, it makes a lot of sense to get cover before travelling. This ensures that if any accidents happen you won’t have to worry about paying for medical fees, and your dog will be taken care of. Make sure to compare dog insurance quotes in order to find one with a reasonable price and necessary cover for your situation.
Take regular breaks during the journey
This is a good idea for you and your dog, it allows you both to stretch your legs and will ensure that you don’t have any doggy accidents in the car.
Don’t leave your dog alone in the car
Dogs get frightened when they are not used to being left alone, besides which there is a real danger of heatstroke in the enclosed space of a stationary car. It may be necessary to leave your dog in the car if you are travelling by ferry but there also usually cages available, so explore your options.
Keep up your dog’s routines
Not always possible, I know, but keeping up a walking and feeding routine will help keep your dog calm and content.
Take a dog first aid kit
No, you can’t just use yours, not unless you are in the habit of carrying an Elizabethan collar. You can check out what you should take, here.