How to get your puppy used to being in a car
It is recommended to start taking your puppy on car trips as soon as you bring them home, because the sooner they get used to it, the more comfortable they will be during the many car journeys they will go on.
To begin with, just have your puppy sitting in your car. Let them explore the inside, smell the seat and get comfy before you turn the engine on. Give them time to get used to the noise before driving.
Short trips first
If your puppy seems stressed, don't go any further than that and repeat the same exercise a few times before moving onto this stage. But if they are comfortable, take them on a short and slow trip around your neighborhood.
Make sure to praise them and reward them for behaving in the car.
If all goes well, you can then take your pup for longer, more frequent rides.
How to keep your puppy safe during car rides
It is very important to keep your puppy safe, not only for their own protection but also for your and the other passengers' safety.
Keep your puppy contained
If your puppy is sitting in the foot well or boot, a crate or dog barrier will keep them safe. If this isn't a viable option and you pup is on the car seat, make them wear a harness which you can attach onto the car safety belt.
No head out the window
It might be super cute but it's a very common cause of eye irritation. There's also a tiny risk that your pup could get out of their harness and try to jump out.
You can of course open the window slightly to get some fresh air or use a window guard when it's really warm.
Talking about hot weather, NEVER leave your dog in your car when it's warm. It can be absolutely fatal.
If you’re driving long distances, make sure to stop every couple of hours so that your pooch can shake their legs and drink some water.
How to deal with car anxiety
Does your puppy get really stressed and agitated when they get in the car? Mention this to your vet so they can suggest a few options, such as using synthetic reassuring pheromones. They can really make a big difference.
You can also put their favourite toys or a rug they like to lie on in the car to make it feel more "homely".
Is car sickness normal?
It is very common in puppies, however it is not very pleasant for them and for you.
One thing you can try it to feed them two to three hours before you set off, so that they won't ride with a full stomach. If it becomes a recurring problem, talk to your vet about it.
Lastly, remember that getting your pup used to car rides is a process. The first few car trips might not be enjoyable but they will soon become a distant memory!