If you like to travel, you may think getting a dog will hinder your plans. However, that’s not always the case. Many dogs travel really well and may even love going for rides in the car; on the other hand, some aren’t fond of leaving home. It may be important for you to be able to take your pup on car trips longer than 10-20 minute drives to the pet store. Fortunately, you can learn how to avoid common car travel problems with dogs to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Aggressive or Protective Behavior
Aggressive or protective behavior in the car isn’t uncommon, especially in larger breeds. Believe it or not, your pup may become territorial in a shared confined area, as they want to protect you and the space from any potential threats. If your dog acts aggressively toward anyone approaching or entering your vehicle, it may be time to reevaluate the situation and address their behavior.
What To Do
Because aggressive or protective behavior can be a safety hazard for everyone involved, you must consider muzzling and restraining your dog in the car. Although it may sound harsh, this solution is a much better option than letting your pup roam around the vehicle and giving them the opportunity to hurt themselves or others.
Barking can be annoying and distracting at any time, but the noise can be a real hazard when you’re driving. With that said, you should definitely take action if you can’t stop your four-legged friend from barking non-stop during the car ride. Whether they direct their barks at people outside, other animals, or something else, excessive barking can distract you from what’s going on around you.
Barking isn’t always easy to stop, as there may not be one distinct thing that causes your pup to bark continuously. However, it’s possible to keep them from disturbing you with a few effective solutions. If you put your dog in a crate for car rides, consider draping a light-colored sheet over it to limit their view.
If you can’t use a crate in the car, you should consider putting shields over the back window to block their view of the outdoors. This method can lower their stress levels and give your pup less reason to bark.
Distraction is also an effective solution to barking. Consider keeping your pup busy in a positive manner. Toys work well to hold their attention—especially those that you can fill with treats or dog-safe peanut butter.
Overly Excited Travel Partners
There’s nothing better than having a dog that loves riding in the car. However, an overly excited travel partner can be just as much of an issue. Because many dogs associate riding in the car with going to a super fun location, they may become rowdy and bark or leap around the vehicle. Unfortunately, this can be a distraction or safety hazard for the driver.
What To Do
An overly excited pup may be difficult to control, as they just want to get in the car to go to the destination. However, you may be able to lessen their high energy levels by making the departure process calm and slow.
For instance, start by putting a collar and leash on your dog before stepping out the door. Next, open the door to leave home—don’t let the pup go out unless they’re calm. Stand still and give your dog a command to calm them down. Use this method for each doorway, whether it be a gate, garage door, or car door. If they’re calm getting into the car, they may stay that way for the trip.
Distraction is an effective strategy for this issue as well. Fill a rubber toy with a dog-safe snack and freeze it to keep them busy for an extended period. This way, you may have more quiet time as you hit the road.
Car anxiety is one of the most common issues you may encounter with your pup, as many dogs simply don’t feel safe or secure in the vehicle. They may show symptoms of distress, try to escape, or resist getting in the car altogether. Anxiety can be a challenge for you and your dog, but you can find ways to make them more comfortable traveling.
Anxiety often requires counter-training, which may take more than a day to solve. However, you should work on reshaping your dog’s experience and associations with traveling in the car. For instance, you should make the car a fun place for them—bring their favorite toys and make the ride more comfortable with a small dog console car seat. You can also reward them with tasty treats for good behavior; this way, they’ll start to believe the car is a fun and safe place for them.
Carsickness in Dogs
Carsickness is an incredibly common travel issue, especially in young puppies. The motion may cause them to experience undesirable symptoms until they become familiar with the traveling experience. It’s no secret that riding in a vehicle can be bumpy with tons of vibration, and their little bodies aren’t always able to handle it. You may notice the following carsickness symptoms in your pup:
The Best Treatment
Treatment for carsickness isn’t always easy, especially if you’re unsure of the cause. However, you can use these best practices to help reduce the chances of an unpleasant trip.
- Avoid feeding them a few hours before a trip—let their stomach settle first.
- Drive smoothly to prevent the motion from tossing them around in the car.
- Start with short trips to build their tolerance.
- Consider medication from your vet if they continue experiencing carsickness as an adult.
After learning how to avoid common car travel problems with dogs, you can ensure a more positive experience for everyone involved. Whether you try one method and find that it works or have to keep working at it, you can assist with any issue your furry friend may have with the car. If you can’t seem to improve it on your own, don’t be afraid to talk to your veterinarian for additional tips and advice.