You have a dog, you have a car, you’re about to go set out on an awesome adventure, but it’s going to take 8 hours of traveling to get there first. Don’t worry, we’ve done this over and over and we hope we have some tips that can help you travel knowing your fury friend is happy along the way and you both get to your destination feeling good.
The best time to travel, is when your dog sleeps, when does your dog usually sleep? Ours will get up in the morning, will be walked and will then usually have a late morning sleep for at least 2-3 hours, if your journey is this length, think about going when your dog usually has it’s nap in the day time.
Our little dude likes to sleep after 8pm and tuck himself in for the night. If you don’t mind arriving late, we can usually head to family when visiting and get there at midnight and leave at 8pm, so the four hour journey, he has slept most of the way as that is when he usually goes to sleep for the evening anyway. Getting them at this time is the best for everyone and hopefully they won’t be none the wiser by the time you’ve arrived. Our little one usually does a number one or two and then we’re usually all ready for bed not long after arriving and he copes with it well.
A very important thing is to tire them out before you set off with a big walk, bigger than normal and include brain exercises, this combination will give you the perfect start to your day and journey. As ours was growing up, we took him to busy areas with plenty of people before a journey as well as a walk and this got his brain working and would help tire him out because he was a little nervous around a lot of people and in busy urban environments.
For Extra Long Journeys With Your Dog
If you’re doing anything over 3-4hours, we highly recommend you stop for them to have a wee or poo break and stretch their legs. If you’re on a motorway in the UK, north of Lancaster there is the Tebay Services which has a great dog walking area as well as a similar one near Gloucester which has a dog walking loop all the way around the service station. These places are great as they are both green, have plenty of grass and if you’re dog is well trained you can take them off the lead to really get them tired.
Just 5 minutes to check before you set off can help you find a decent dog walking section or area to let them have a break. Sometimes we drive off of the motorway to find a lovely green area, it will also give us a pickup too being in a nice green environment.
Items For The Dog In The Car
We will have a bare minimum of the following.
- His own bottle of water
- Small bowl for food and water
- A lead
- Dog poo bags
- Harness if we are to walk him on the lead for a while
- Small box of food
If he is in the boot we have a dog guard, blankets and a pillow for him to get comfortable on.
If he is on the back seat we have him in a dog crate, this is usually for shorter journeys and when we need to pack the boot and/or back seat and this keeps him safe and we can pack more in the car.
Very rarely we will have him in the front with us, luckily he is a small dog, a cocker spaniel cross, but he will come in to the front of the car for the last hour of a journey and only if the journey has been any longer than 6-8 hours. He ends up lying down at the feet of the passenger footwell on a pillow or blanket but it breaks up his journey and he knows it’s near the end of travel time.
Never ever leave without knowing he has recently done a number one and if you know his routine for number twos, whether he will need one or not, it’s always better waiting an extra 10 minutes when on a break just to make sure they go. They’ll feel better, they wont be holding anything in and you know they’ll be more relaxed.
We’ve grown up with family dogs and know that some just don’t travel well. A couple of things we would like to put out there, is routine and working around a routine you already have at home and working up to longer distances if you can. If you can replicate as closely as possible traveling in a car in your own home from a young age, it will really help.