Life is full of great adventures, and of course, we want to take our dogs along on the ride with us. Whether planning a staycation, road trip or even just a day out at the beach, packing the car up and making room for your dog is exciting. But some planning is needed!
At Poppy + Ted, we have the top tips and advice you need to travel comfortably and safely with your dog in the car. Whether this is your first time or your 100th time travelling in the car with your dog, we’re sure you will find some advice here to make your adventures happier for everyone.
3 Ways Your Dog Can Travel
The most important consideration you need to make when travelling with your dog in the car is how they will fit. After all, we can’t expect our pooches to sit like humans and buckle up for the journey. For dogs, there are three different ways that they can safely travel while also maximising their comfort. It is up to you to decide which your dog will find most comfortable and what is most suitable for your vehicle and the rest of your passengers.
For newbies travelling with their dog, the first choice on how to get the pup in the car is usually their dog’s crate or carrier. If you only have your dog in the car occasionally, this is a good method as it ensures your dog is in a space they are used to and feel comfortable in, even while on the road. Which one you choose is dependent on the size of your dog. For example, small breeds can fit comfortably in a light pet carrier, whereas bigger dogs need a larger crate to ensure the journey is comfortable.
It is also important to remember that if relying on a crate or carrier for your dog to travel in the car, you must fasten them in securely. For small dogs in crates, you can use the car seatbelt through the carry handle to keep them secure when driving. Crates, however, are much larger and require more elaborate methods to keep them in place, such as bungee ropes. We recommend following the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to securing a crate in your car.
2. Dog Seat Belt
Remember when we said you couldn’t buckle your dog into their seat? Well, with our dog seat belts, now you can. Although they’re not going to sit with their legs crossed like a person, they will be comfortable, and it is a perfectly safe way to travel.
A dog car seat belt is simply attached to their harness as a lead normally would and then clips into the buckle like a standard seat belt. You can also adjust the length of the belt to suit your dog’s height, so they can comfortably sit or lay down during the journey. We recommend this option if you regularly travel with your dog, as it is a space-saving solution and always available, as you can easily keep the dog car seat belt stored in the glove box or boot. It’s also a great option if your dog needs plenty of attention to feel comfortable during the journey, as it ensures they don’t feel closed off from their humans.
3. Boot Gate
Finally, you can choose to install a boot gate in your car if you have multiple or larger dogs. Some dogs prefer to sit in the boot as they have a larger surface area to move around and can easily keep watch out of the windows. However, if you choose to sit your dogs in the boot during car journeys, you must install an appropriate boot gate. This is in place to keep your dog and passengers safe while driving and also stop your dog from jumping forward from the boot and potentially distracting the driver.
We recommend using a boot gate if you regularly travel with your dogs and don’t need much boot space for other equipment. If you love hiking or camping with the family, investing in a roof box or rack for additional storage that doesn’t impact your dog’s comfort may be a good choice.
Please note, if driving with your dog in the boot, they must still be appropriately restrained by a seatbelt or with a crate or carrier.
Dogs in Cars: Do’s & Don’ts
So, now you know how to safely restrain your dog in the car, how else can you ensure they’re comfortable during the journey? Here are our top do’s and don’t’s to keep everyone on board happy and content no matter how long the journey is.
DO Use Window Shades
Car window shades are designed for babies and children, but your dog would appreciate one too! They can keep the sun off of your dog and keep them cool inside the car, as well as eliminate distractions outside of the window if your dog is a nervous traveller.
DO NOT Forget the Water
Make sure you pack plenty of water for your dog during the journey. Dogs can quickly become dehydrated on longer car rides, especially with how hot a car can get when driving. We recommend packing a collapsible dog bowl that you can easily get out and fill with water for your dog to keep hydrated. Our design from Poppy + Ted can easily be clipped onto your dog’s lead, ensuring you always have it handy for long walks and hikes!
DO Make Regular Stops
On longer car journeys, you must make regular stops to allow your dog to stretch their legs and use the bathroom. Even if all the human passengers are fine to keep going, you must not forget that your dog can’t let you know when they might be ready for a break, and most likely, they will need them more frequently than the humans along for the ride.
DO NOT Let Your Dog Hang Out the Window
On TV and in films, we see a lot of dogs sticking their heads out of car windows and letting their tongues flop in the wind. Yes, it looks cute, but it is highly dangerous. You can’t control other vehicles on the road, and there is a potential your dog could be hit by another car or even jump out if they get overexcited or scared.
Pack Your Dogs Up for Your Next Adventure
Have you found the advice you need to get your dog ready for the next road trip? We hope you have found some tips to make the journey as comfortable and safe as possible for all of your passengers, whether they walk on four legs or two!
Don’t forget to pack extra accessories to make your dogs feel safe and comfortable on the journey, including collapsible water bowls, travel mats and blankets. Not to mention the ESSENTIALS like a high-quality dog car seat belt and comfortable harness.