A day out or holiday isn’t the same if the whole family isn’t there, which means your dog, or dogs, should be coming too. This can mean extra work for you and requires additional planning to make sure everyone has a good time: including any hounds that come along for the ride.
Travelling with your dog by Car:
Wherever your dog is placed in the car, they should be secure and separated from the driver sufficiently so that they are unable to interfere with their ability to drive. The best place for larger dogs may well be in the boot of the car, although the back seat with a harness may be suitable for a well-behaved doggie. Wherever they are, you should try to minimise any obstruction your dog may have of your vision through the rear view mirror, especially if they’re far too excited for their holiday and can’t stop moving around!
In case you do have an accident, or even just have to break or change direction quickly, your dog needs to be secure. This is for the safety of you, your family and also for their own. If your dog is happy to wear a dog seat belt harness, then that is the most ideal and safest way for them to travel. This isn’t always possible though, many dogs reject the idea of having a harness put on.
If this is the case, they usually will be happier in the back of the car either in a cage on just straight in. A dog car cage will usually need to be secured down for safety, which will also limit how far your dog can move in an accident, while allowing them enough space to be comfortable.
With a small boot a cage may not be needed, however a car safety guard on top of the rear seats may be necessary to ensure they don’t fly forwards in an accident for both of your safety.
Keeping your car clean is one more consideration, especially if you use it for work or other personal preferences where a clean and smart car is important. In the boot, a cage with a plastic, lipped floor will keep any unwanted mess and malting hair in tact!
You can also buy separate boot protectors including this one, which folds out to protect your bumper as your dogs get in and out. If your dog is going to be in the back seat, a seat protector is the answer which can either cover one side or both.
For the short trips, your dog may be excited about the journey ahead and happy to watch the passerby’s. On longer journeys, some dogs may be able to relax and sleep for the duration. For dogs who don’t like travelling, having a comfortable resting space can make the experience much less traumatic, and so an ordinary dog bed or a travel dog bed is well worth having. Having this in the back or boot of your car will help your dog to not sway around, slip and make them feel much more at ease on their car trip. If your dogs suffer from motion sickness whilst travelling, then try out this calming supplement to help reduce your dogs nerves.
Older dogs who are less agile than they once were and beginning to get those creaky joints, are more likely to need a dog car ramp or dog steps to get into the car. This can be a real help for them and less hassle for you, especially if they are a heavy dog that you struggle to pick up!
On long journeys your dog will need plenty to drink along the way. This Trixie Steel Travel Bottle and Bowl is perfect as the bottle’s plastic cap is designed to be used as a drinking bowl, so there is no need to take a separate bowl with you. This helps with saving space on holidays where you and your family already seem to have packed in everything but the kitchen sink!
Travelling with your Dog by Public Transport:
You may think that if you’re travelling with dogs that driving is the only real option, but in many ways public transport could be better.
Trains have advantages for dogs; they are generally a lot smoother for a start and much bigger, so if your dog dislikes travelling in the car they will be much less aware of the travelling motion. Also, you don’t need to worry about a cage or seat belt harness on the train and your dog can move around and stretch as they please.
Of course you’ll need a good lead, or better still a strong dog harness and maybe a muzzle, even if just to set other passenger’s minds at rest. Your dog will need to be well trained and able to hold its business, not so easy on a long journey. Also, if your dog is too large to sit on your lap or under a seat, you may need to spend much of the trip in the vestibule: lots of space for your dog to stretch out but maybe not so comfortable for you and your family, hopefully they’ll be willing to take it in turns.
Depending on your ticket, you may be able to take a break and continue on the next train. Another advantage of most modern trains in summer is air conditioning and large thick coated dogs who struggle with long car journeys on hot days may be happier on the train, though maybe not London Underground during rush hour.