Travelling with Kenzie (and Friends) – Part 1
Travelling with your dog can sometimes be stressful especially for your four legged friend, so how do you make it a great experience for both of you. The best thing to use is common sense, there is no great secret, you just have to make sure that the basics are in place before you start off on your journey.
1. Make sure that your dog is safe and secure
Most dogs are not very confident in cars and they each have their own way of coping. I have had three dogs since I have been driving and they all had a different way of getting through the journey. My current dog Kenzie, is a beautiful, happy, Llasa Apso, he loves everyone but he’s not that keen on the car. As soon as I stop he wants to jump on my lap and get out to go for a walk, so I end up covered in scratches and if we are only at the traffic lights then it can be a bit difficult.
The solution was a safety harness which clips onto the seat belt, it restrict sudden leaps but allows him to alter his position and get comfortable, I really think he feels a bit more secure with it on, it doesn’t stop him wanting to get out as soon as the car comes to a halt but it does teach him to wait until he’s unclipped. The harness can also be used for walks so you don’t have to take it off and it’s made of the same material as the car seat belts so it blends in with the interior of the car. I know some owners prefer to have their dogs on the back seat or in crates, but this way has worked for Kenzie and me. I am happy that he is not going to go flying off the seat and he has a secure and comfy trip.
2. Make sure that you have fresh water
Dogs can’t tell you when they are hot and thirsty so you need to make sure that you have fresh water with you every time you go on a car journey. Plan for regular stops on your trip so they can stretch their legs, do whatever is necessary and have the chance to have a drink if they want one. You can get really cool collapsable dog bowls and foldable water bottles that don’t take up too much room and are easy to clean. And remember, lots of motorway service stations have special dog walking areas so that you can plan breaks in your journey beforehand and take advantage of the chance to get a bit of fresh air – good for both of you.
3. Wet wipes and towels
Dogs can be messy creatures, it’s what they do best. Why go round a nice muddy puddle when you can go through it? Every dog knows that rivers are for jumping in and the odd dead fish on the side of the canal is perfect for rolling in. If this happens when you are out with your dog then be prepared, you can’t carry a shower around with you but wet wipes can really help to clean some of the dirt off and a big fluffy towel can be used to both dry off the dog and if necessary you can wrap him in it until you can get him into the bath.
4. The necessities of life with a dog
Whenever you take your dog out for a walk you will need to carry poo bags, there really is no excuse to not clean up after your dog. Most responsible dog owners do this as a matter of course, you really don’t think about it, you just scoop the poop and bin it. I used to use old supermarket shopping bags (before they started charging for them), but you can buy poo bags all over the place. Whatever you use just do it, it is not fair on other people if you leave it and it may even restrict the places you can walk your dogs if enough people complain.
5. Useful but not essential
We don’t get that many blazing hot days in the UK and when we do I would suggest that you think twice about taking your dog in the car, it’s dangerous for them to get too hot and may cause serious problems. However If you have no choice, then as well as making sure the air conditioning is doing its job you could try getting some window shades to protect the dog from a bit of the glare and heat. The idea is to make your dog as happy and comfortable as possible and while not essential I have found that they do help.
6. Treats & Toys
Don’t forget that dogs love to play, so if you either take their favourite toy with you or keep a couple in the car for when you get to the park or beach, they will be really happy. Small balls or frisbees don’t take up a lot of room and are great for training or to add more fun to their daily walk. Also if you have a few healthy dog treats with you to reward them when they are good or to tied them over until dinner time then they will be even happier.
Longer trips or holidays will obviously need a bit more planning as you will need pet beds, blankets, their favourite food and bowls. But planning in advance should make it fairly straight forward to make their travel experience as enjoyable as yours. If you are travelling abroad with your dog, give your self plenty of time to go to the vet to get all the vaccines and documents they need, also if your dog suffers from travel sickness then ask your vets advice on how to solve this problem.
If you are not sure where to take your dog there are some great websites out there. A good place to start would be the VisitBritain site which give you hints and tips for both overseas visitors and staycationers.
Travelling with your dog should be fun, exciting and rewarding for both of you. After all your dog is spending time with their best friend – you!
Photography Credits: Jacqueline Whitaker, Corrine Gillett, Pixabay