Ten Barking Mad Tips for Travelling with Dogs

Travelling with dogs can require a little extra effort but as important family members, it’s only natural that they should be included in our road trips and adventures!  With thought and planning, travel can be enjoyable for your pooch too, as their main desire in life is to be with you.

Barking Mad Dog Care are experts in dog travel, providing chauffeur driven holiday transport as part of their 5* rated dog sitting service and have compiled their top ten tips from many years of experience, to help you enjoy taking to the open road.

The following information relates to travel in the UK only. If you wish to go further, guidance for travel abroad with dogs can be found at GOV.UK.

1.Plan your journey well in advance, paying attention to dog-friendly places to stop and take a break, so that your best friend can take time out to stretch their legs.  www.drivingwithdogs.co.uk is a great resource which contains details of lots of puppy perfect places to break your journey, with information about walks and pet friendly eateries.

2. You must ensure that your vehicle provides a safe and secure space for your dog to comfortably enjoy their journey, whilst adhering to the Highway Code. This can be found at GOV.UK and clearly states in rule 57,

‘When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.’

If you are planning on using a dog crate or cage, prior to your journey you should ensure it is large enough to allow your pooch to stand up fully and turn around but not so large that they will slide around. It should also be securely fastened in place. If you plan on using a dog guard, it should be carefully secured in place and able to restrain the weight of your dog in an accident.

3. A pet first aid kit is an essential item to keep in your vehicle, whether you put together your own or purchase one from a retailer. Expert advice on what your dog first aid kit should include can be found in this article by the Blue Cross.

4. Make sure that your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag bearing your mobile number. A landline home phone number is no use if you are nowhere near home and you become separated. You should also ensure that your pet’s micro-chip details are up to date.

5. Ensure that you pack everything which your dog will require for the journey. As a minimum, Barking Mad has put together the following list but you will no doubt wish to include other home comforts to reassure your pup.

  • collar (with ID tag as mentioned above) and lead
  • waste bags and cleaning kit for any accidents
  • your dog’s usual food, bowls and a large enough bottle of water
  • comfortable and familiar bedding
  • towel
  • toy

6. The above-mentioned food and water are vitally important to keep your dog happy on a long car journey. Stick to your dog’s regular food to avoid stomach upsets and travel sickness. The RSPCA recommends that you ‘feed your pet no sooner than two hours before you travel.’

7.  In warm weather, never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle, especially in direct sunlight and even if you have left a window slightly open. Why not take water in a thermos flask instead of a bottle and add some ice cubes, so that it stays refreshingly cool?

8. If your dog is not used to car travel, their introduction should be a gentle and gradual one. Start with short journeys with a fun activity at the end to make a really positive association for your dog. Once they begin to associate the car with exciting new places and smells, they will be keen to jump in!

9. Remember to take plenty of breaks whilst travelling. You might be in a rush to reach your destination but your dog won’t appreciate being cooped up in the in car for hours on end. Regular walks will allow your canine best friend to burn off some pent-up energy as well as being given the chance to go to the toilet.

10. Have fun! Travelling with your dog can be a great way to build the bond between you and their companionship will enhance any trip or holiday. Sometimes though, no matter how organised or prepared you are, taking your dog with you just isn’t possible. Maybe they suffer badly from car sickness or a medical issue? What if you have to attend a non dog-friendly event, such as a wedding?

Dog sitters, such as Barking Mad, can offer the next best option to being with you.  Their bespoke dog home boarding service offers the opportunity for your dog to live as part of a family, whilst you enjoy your trip away with complete peace of mind. Click to find your local branch or call on 015242 20202.

Also, check out our various Dog Treats range, which are great for travelling and rewarding good behaviour.

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