A guide to travelling with pets in your car.

October 10, 2012 | By | In Advice

While you’re used to the daily drive between work and home – or even just taking trips – your pets will not be so acclimatised to the journey. There are a few things you can do as well as a few things that you absolutely shouldn’t to help your household pets enjoy riding in the car with you.

DO

Make them comfortable. While some dogs can be seated in the backseat, with the aid of special seatbelt restraints, it might be better just to invest in a pet carrier whatever the animal – but make sure that it’s of a good size for your cat or dog to be able to stand upright and turn around inside.

Take regular breaks. Just like their masters your pets also have the capacity to suffer from travel sickness. Taking regular breaks from driving whether it’s just to stretch the legs outside the car or even to take them for a small walk around the local area can be beneficial. But do make sure to stop completely every so often; this will allow your pets a quick breather.

Get them used to it. Before going on a long journey with your pets you need to get them used to what it’s like to travel in the car and to dispel any worries they have – for example, if you’ve only ever driven your dog to the vet’s then he’s bound to feel nervous once you bundle him into the backseat. If someone else is travelling with you then have them pamper your pooch for the duration of these shorter journeys so that he will equate them with a more pleasant drive.

DON’T

Take them at all if your pet is seriously ill (unless you’re seeking urgent medical attention), pregnant or newborn. The shock of this scary new environment could seriously unsettle a pet that isn’t fully aware of its surroundings due to debilitating illness or otherwise.

Leave them alone in the car – quite apart from the perils of leaving a dog loose near a handbrake (unlikely but we’ve seen it on Youtube!) it can be dangerous to leave your pet alone in the car no matter what the conditions – from hot days to cold evenings. On top of which it can be scary to leave them alone in the strange surroundings of your car.

Open their windows. It’s an enduring image – the sight of a dog’s head lolling out of the side of a car – but it can be very dangerous to crack your windows even just a tad when your pet is loose in the car. A sudden strong rush of air through the car can scare your pet, while letting the dog get some air on his tongue can be dangerous if something were to hit him – no matter if it’s the smallest insect travelling at a high speed can still leave a nasty mark or cause pain.

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