Travelling with your pet means that you can explore the world together, but it's very important to make sure your pet is safe and secure in the car and that he is enjoying himself! An improperly restrained dog is a huge liability in a collision and can cause serious injury to both him and passengers. Irish Law states; "No person shall transport any animal in a way which causes, or is likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal", and the Gardai have the right to pull over and fine a driver who does not have their dog appropriately secured. The other thing is travel sickness and anxiety; which can be a huge issue for dogs who are not used to the car!
To this end, we have compiled a list of helpful products for keeping your best friend safe in the car and making sure he’s comfortable for the entire journey! Let’s crack on!
Car Restraints and Belts:
The COA Clix Car Harness:
This product is made from the same materials as normal car seatbelts and is manufactured into a continuous loop for maximum strength in the event of a collision. The belt fits around your dog in such a way that it is padded against the strongest parts of your dog’s body which improves impact control. It can be either attached straight into the seatbelt holder or the seat belt can be looped through and then secured in order to restrict excessive movement. This harness is also suitable for walking but it is not compatible with Saab or Volvo Cars.
The Trixie Car Harness:
This harness works in a similar fashion to the COA harness, however, it is made out of standard nylon and the padding is much narrower across the chest. It does not have the same strength and impact protection that you will find in the COA harness.
Standard Seat Belt Connector:
A cheap alternative to a full harness, it must be used with a harness; not a collar, to avoid neck injury in the case of a collision. This product is also not going to have the same strength or impact control as the COA harness, depending on the style of harness it has been attached to.
Ideal for containing small dogs, however, it is important to make sure the cages themselves are secured to the car in some manner, bungee lines can be very useful for this. The dog should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in the cage.
An Important Message from Equipet:
Do not allow dogs to have access to wide open windows during car journeys. The harness connections must not give enough space for a dog to potentially try and leap from the window, causing severe injury and distraction. Your dog's head may also be caught by objects passing close to the window. Unless you provide your dog with travel goggles, they can easily damage their eyes with blowing debris.
Dealing with Travel Anxiety and Stress:
Car sickness and travel anxiety usually go hand in hand. Motion sickness causes nausea, which stresses the dog out. The next time he is led to the car the dog becomes anxious because he expects to be sick and so round and round the cycle continues. In order to combat this you need to address the motion sickness, and then the anxiety.
Contains a herbal extract "Zingiber" (ginger) well known for its anti-nausea properties. Tablets should be given 30mins before travelling and the dosage is according to the size of the dog.
Helps combat both nausea and the anxiety surrounding travelling, therefore tackling the problem more effectively. Also helps to calm the signs of anxiety, such as drooling, panting, restlessness and whining. If the main problem is motion sickness, doses can be given every 15mins up to 1 hour before travelling. However, if you are working more on anxiety surrounding travel, it is recommended to give one dose, 3 times daily and begin 6-7 days before attempting a large journey. This can be used in conjunction with Anxiety counter conditioning exercises.
Helpful Exercises for Anxiety Relief:
*Use these exercises whilst the dog is being treated with Homeopet for best results.
- Take the dog to the car; allow him to sniff and then reward with a treat. When dog happily approaches the car - open the boot, and repeat the same exercise.
- When he is happy to approach the car, encourage him to jump into the boot - this usually works best by climbing in yourself and calling him in a happy manner with a high value treat in sight. If he makes any motion to approach the car (eg: paws up at the boot) then reward.
- Once the dog is happy to jump into the car, allow him to have his dinner or breakfast whilst in the boot. Repeat this for a few days until he is more than happy to jump in.
- Repeat with the engine running for a few days, until happy.
- The dog, at this stage, should now start associating the car as a happy place where he receives his food and anxiety levels should be decreasing.
- Allow your dog to jump in the boot, and then let the car roll to the end of the drive and back, and then offer a reward for calm behaviour. Gradually increase the distance of the journey (Having windows down helps a lot of dogs settle better in the car when moving).
- When you feel you are ready for a long journey, make sure to withhold food in the hours leading up to the trip. And then reward after.
Helpful Accessories for Pet Travel:
- Silicone Expandable bowl: space saving for easy transport, dishwasher safe
- Travel bottle: best for smaller dogs, water and drinking container in one, clip for attaching to bag for hands-free transport.
- Car boot/seat covers: washable material to fend off the worst of the dirt from car travel. This product fits most standard vehicles.
- Noodle mat: fast drying for wet beach dogs, can be used as a towel or absorbent boot matting.
After all of that, we hope you are now ready for you and your dog to begin a ‘pawsome’ adventure together in your car. Summer is the best time for this and it helps to be prepared for whenever the sun does decide to show itself! Bye for now Pet-pals!