Pet travel can be a fun and rewarding experience with the proper preparation, but without this preparation it can be a trying task for you and your pooch. To prepare you for the potential pitfalls of traveling with pups, we present to you a guide to introducing puppies to the car and an infographic of Travel Tips for Road Trips- both by our good friend, Amber Kingsley.
Need to prepare your pup before the trip? Skip to the Puppy Training Travel Guide
Traveling with Your Puppy
Puppies can be a great addition to many families. They also can be a great source of education. You’ll constantly find yourself discovering more and more about dog ownership and learning how to keep your puppy safe and happy every day.
Eventually you’re going to need to learn something about how to take a dog on a ride in your vehicle. Although a few puppies will just jump in the car and ride comfortably with no training, many will need to be introduced to the car slowly. You’ll have to do some planning to ensure your puppy travels in the car safely for a short or long trip.
Introduction to the Car
As shown in the infographic, it's best to introduce your puppy to rides in the car well before you have to drive for a long distance. When trying to teach your puppy anything, it's important to maintain a calm demeanor and to not become frustrated. If you have anxiety during this process, the puppy will pick up on it and its anxiety will increase as well, counteracting your effort to make the puppy comfortable around the vehicle.
- Sit without driving. Let the puppy sit in the car with you while the car is in the driveway or garage. After the dog seems comfortable, consider starting the car, just so the puppy grows used to the noise. Perhaps feed the puppy a meal in the car or give it a favorite toy so it associates the car with pleasant feelings.
- Short trips. Keep the first several trips short in duration, maybe even as short as around the block. As you increase the duration of the car trips with your puppy, end up at a fun destination, such as a friend’s house with a dog or a dog park.
- Watch for car sickness. A puppy that is anxious in the car or one that is not tolerating longer trips likely will develop car sickness. Signs of car sickness can include excessive drooling, whining, shaking, or even vomiting which will lead to other problems.
Supplies to Take
When you're ready to take a longer trip, make sure you've planned ahead and packed the needed supplies. A car trip of a few hours with your puppy will require different supplies than an overnight trip, for example.
- Crate. You can use the puppy's crate while in the car or while in a hotel, which may help it remain calmer during the trip. And if you're already using the crate to housebreak the puppy, taking it with you on the trip can help you avoid having a setback on housebreaking.
- Food. It's important to bring the food you've been feeding the puppy at home with you on your trip. Not only should maintaining the same food help you avoid digestive issues, but you also don't want to introduce chemicals and other undesirable ingredients from a bag of puppy food that you find while traveling.
- ID Tag. Make sure the tags on your puppy's collar are completely up to date. Should your puppy escape the car while you're on your trip, it probably will become spooked in the strange location, making it tougher to catch.
Proper planning is the key to having a successful car trip with your puppy. Take your time introducing the puppy to the car, and maintain a calm demeanor to increase your chances of success!