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Travelling with your dog by car

Travelling with your dog by car

8.7.2020

Guide for Dog Owners: How to drive your dog relaxed in the car

The car is the best way to take your dog along on a trip: you can plan out your own itinerary, scheduling breaks as and when required. Dogs are usually already quite familiar with this mode of transportation, so you’ll be saving your dog a great deal of stress. There’s another advantage: travelling by car makes it very easy to bring along your dog’s regular food. 

Tip: If it is not yet used to lengthy car trips, it’s important to acclimatise your dog in advance. Ideally, you should take it for a few shorter excursions, always rewarding it afterwards with a good long walk. This will quickly build up positive associations, so your dog will always be happy to get into the car. 

A few things to remember

  • Don’t feed your dog during the last two hours before setting off, as this can lead to stomach upsets.
  • When planning out your itinerary, avoid scheduling lengthy periods of travel for the hottest part of the day.
  • Include regular breaks in your schedule (at least once every two to three hours on long journeys), giving your dog plenty of opportunity to do its business, get some exercise and drink some fresh water (don’t forget to bring a water container and a bowl!).
  • Since dogs are very sensitive to draughts (risk of conjunctivitis), the window should only be open slightly.
  • Cover the windows with sunblinds, to make sure your dog doesn’t have to sit in blazing sunshine.
  • When getting in and out, always use the pavement side doors! On roads with traffic, you should put your dog on a leash before getting out.
  • Please never leave your dog alone in the car. Even opening an open window or parking the car in the shade doesn't help!
  • Even springlike temperatures can make your vehicle very hot. For dogs, this is potentially fatal (heatstroke).
  • Be careful not to leave your car in a no-waiting or no-parking zone, otherwise it might get towed with your dog still inside!
  • If your dog suffers from a travel-related illness, a homeopathic or conventional remedy may provide relief. Please consult your vet.

Tip: for further tips, please see our 'travel illnesses' guide.

When the car becomes a death trap on warm days

Even seemingly low temperatures like 20 degrees can become 30 degrees in the car after 10 minutes and they rise continuously. These temperatures become life-threatening for dogs very in a short amount of time. Even if precautions such as parking in a shaded spot and opening the windows, it can still be lethal. You must never leave your dog alone in the car! 

Hitze kann töten - Das Auto wird schon bei warmen Temperaturen für Hunde gefährlich

Where should your dog sit? 

  • On the back seat, with a chest harness or a canine safety belt (not suitable for restless dogs). 
  • In the luggage area, behind a dog safety net or grille (make sure this is firmly secured!). 
  • Most dogs feel quite secure in a carrier. It also offers maximum safety, since your dog cannot be thrown back and forth as it would behind a net or grille. 

Tip: It is also possible to integrate a special anti-slip mat.

You can download our guide here as a PDF for free:

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