Using heart rate monitor collars, we studied four different dog breeds of varying sizes: Jack Russell (Milo), Poochon (Bertie), Cocker Spaniel (Raffy) and Red Fox Labrador (Monty), to determine which areas of the car they feel the most (and least) comfortable when travelling.
We took their average heart rate and placed them in four different areas of the car: front seat, back seat (with and without owner view) and the boot, on five different occasions, to track the changes in heart rate and reveal which locations had their tails wagging and which should probably be avoided.
Dogs who are picked up in a rough manner, or are expected to jump into the car themselves, can start to find the vehicle aversive; this can be because when they see it, they can view it as an unpleasant, and sometimes, even painful experience.
If your dog is on the larger side, and you can’t pick them up safely, then invest in a dog ramp. This will prevent the repeated pressure on their joints from having to jump up and onto a potentially hard surface, which will help protect them from conditions like arthritis in the future.
Whether you opt for a crash-tested crate, or a harness/seatbelt combination, ensure the equipment you choose for your pup has been rigorously tested, and are fit for purpose to protect them, should the worst happen. Check the labels for safety information.
Try to encourage them to go to the toilet before you embark on your journey, so you don’t need to make a stop part-way. Also, place soft blankets in your car so your dog can rest. After all, cars jolt and your pooch will move around, but padding will protect them from knocks and bumps, and encourage them to settle, curl up, and enjoy the ride.
Hopefully, these tips will help both you and your pooch to enjoy all of the road trips you’ll have together. However, if the thought of a long car journey still makes your best friend feel a little anxious, then why not try our Spotify playlist, specially designed to help ease their nerves? Enjoy!