Driving with your dog is inevitable.
From trips to the dog park to routine visits to the vet, there are dozens of reasons for your dog to hop in the backseat and take a car ride with you.
But, what if your pet tucks his tail between his legs at the sight of your car keys, or goes running when you start up your car?
Here are three ways to help ease dog car ride fears.
Comfort is key
If your dog in unfamiliar with the family car, or, if you’re planning to take your first road trip, work to make him comfortable inside the vehicle.
For many pets, a trip to the vet is the only reason to get into the car, and this may cause some scary associations with hopping into the backseat.
With the car in park, get your pet into his riding space or the cargo area. Praise him and give him treats to make sure that he’s comfortable.
Doing this daily, or a couple of times a week can help your dog cope with dog car ride fears and will help him turn his negative associations into good ones. Once he’s comfortable, take him on short rides around the neighborhood or to fun places like the park, gradually take longer trips until he’s 100 percent comfortable riding in the car. You’ll be making the ride safer for you and your pet, since you won’t have to worry about his comfort while you’re behind the wheel.
Make it a smooth ride
Bumps and jolts can make for an unsafe and unpleasant car ride for both you and your pet. Make the car ride smooth by adding four new tires. Tire brands including BF Goodrich make special tires that offer superior handling and a smooth ride such as the Long Trail TA Touring Tires. The experts at Autos.com suggest drivers replace tires every 40,000 and recommend replacing damaged tires immediately. Keep your new tires in tip-top shape and a safe working condition by having them rotated every 5,000 or 10,000 miles to ensure even wear and tear.
Create a safe riding environment
According to Preventive Vet, some dogs feel more comfortable inside of the car if they are secured. Harnesses, crates, and hard or soft-sided carriers can all help your dog feel less anxious during car rides. And, these helpful restraints can also give your peace of mind while you’re behind the wheel.
Not only can these items calm your pet’s nerves, but they can also keep both you and your dog safe. Unrestrained pets can cause or worsen car accidents, and proper restraints are vital for ensuring safe rides, no matter the distance.
They can prevent your dog from jumping out of open doors or windows and can also prevent debilitating and painful injury caused by car accidents.
Pet expert, Cesar Millan, suggests exercising your dog before putting him into his crate to express any pent-up energy. Millan also recommends limiting what you feed your pet before and during your car trip to make sure your pet doesn’t get an upset stomach; which is not fun, for you or your dog.