Whether your dog gets nervous in the car or really enjoys going for a ride, it’s always important to prepare your vehicle for the trip. Following a few steps to minimize damage and messes will make it easier for you to clean the vehicle after the drive. It will also help you and your pet enjoys the ride in better comfort by eliminating some of your biggest concerns.
Start by Choosing a Place for Your Dog
The first thing you should do when you get a new puppy or dog is to choose a specific place for your dog in your vehicle. If you have a compact car or sedan, the backseat may be your only choice. However, an SUV or minivan provides more options. Choose one spot to minimize damage and messes, while also helping your pet get accustomed to the rules for riding in the vehicle.
Cover Your Pet’s Area
Once you have chosen an area for your dog, cover the seats and flooring in that area. While there are many options available to you, a PVC-coated fabric roll will provide a more durable material. This will help you avoid scratches and scuff marks on your car seats or interior.
A Pet Ramp Will Simplify Stops
One of the biggest challenges in taking a pet for a ride is helping them get into and out of the vehicle. If you have a small or senior dog, this can become more problematic. Fortunately, you can find a pet ramp at most pet supply stores. The ramp will make it easier for your dog to enter and exit the vehicle, reducing the likelihood of your dog tripping or stumbling. Look for a folding ramp to make it easier to store the device in your car or truck.
Remove the Clutter
It’s not uncommon to leave empty soda cans, candy wrappers, or food containers in a vehicle. Especially if you commute several miles to work, your vehicle might double as your dining area. Be sure to remove this debris before taking your dog for a ride. Otherwise, they may get into the debris out of boredom and distract you from driving. Imagine trying to grab a food wrapper from your dog while trying to navigate a busy city street. You’re less likely to have an accident if you provide a clean car for your dog.
Block Access to the Front Passenger Area
Another important step in dog-proofing your car is to make sure your dog can’t climb into the front seat. Once in the front passenger area, your dog could block your view of the road, accidentally knock the shift lever, or cause other driving hazards. It’s better to make it more difficult for your dog to access that part of the vehicle. Buy netting or a gate that’s specifically designed for this purpose. If your dog spends a great deal of time in the vehicle, a permanent barrier that completely blocks the front passenger area may be a better option.
Avoid too Much Water or Food
Even an older dog may still get car sick if going for rides causes them to feel anxious or nervous. Most of the time, you can prevent car sickness by making sure your dog fasts prior to the ride. As a general rule, pet care professionals recommend a fasting period of four hours or more. This should be long enough to ensure the dog’s stomach is empty. If the ride is spontaneous or you absentmindedly feed your dog, use duct tape to cover up holes in the seats and doors. Sealing the spaces around seat belts and door armrests can prevent the dog from vomiting in areas that will be difficult to clean. Keeping windows open during the ride can also help prevent car sickness by creating a cross breeze that will help your dog breathe easier.
Regardless of the age of your dog, you can minimize messes in your car by getting them used to riding in the vehicle. Take them for frequent rides to a park or the beach. If you take them places they will enjoy, they will associate the ride with positive experiences. This will make the drive easier when you do have to go to a veterinarian or a boarding facility.
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