Riding in the car can create anxiety and/or motion sickness in dogs and sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. In fact, oftentimes, one can cause the other, so it becomes a question of “chicken vs egg”.
Let’s look at some products that can make car rides a little easier, depending on your dog’s issue.
The Sleepy Pod Click-It harness is the only harness (at the time of publication) that stands up to crash tests and protects the dog in the event of a motor vehicle collision. Think about it - if you wouldn’t drive around with your children loose in the car, why would you drive around with your dog loose in the car? What’s the difference? (Hint: the answer is: “there isn’t a difference”)
This harness is not only comfortable and increases the “cute” factor for any dog, but it’s durable, well-made, comfortable, easy to fit, and comes in a variety of colours and sizes. I recommend this harness for all dogs once they are fully grown.
Protect your dog from becoming projectile when you have to slam on the brakes or if you are in a collision. You will also be protected, since a loose dog in the car after a collision often causes more damage in the panic, or they can get loose and be lost very easily.
Petmate Vari Kennel
If you have a small dog (<15lb), they are best created in the vehicle rather than harnessed. The PetMate Vari Kennel #ad is often the most popular choice as it is airline approved for cargo, which tells you how sturdy it needs to be.
Do you have a large dog in a safety harness and need to keep your seats clean? I hear you. The iBuddy Dog Car Seat Cover #ad is an awesome choice. It’s durable, waterproof, and washable, enables ventilation, protects your car doors, and comes with attachments to make keeping your dog connected a little easier. Best of all, it’s non-slip, which means it’s not going to shift around every time you turn a corner!
Oh, how I love me some granny-panties on a dog’s head… Wait…what? Yes. That’s exactly what these look like and they are SUPER effective for dogs who get motion-sick in cars or are reactive to dogs/people/vehicles. It’s not worth it to risk your dog distracting you while you drive because they lose their minds when someone passes the car. This breathable Calming Cap #ad slides on easily, and allows your dog to eat, drink, breathe, pant, bark, etc, but simply “mutes” their vision with the mesh cover over their eyes. They can still see, but their view is a lot less stimulating vs. HD. Some conditioning may be required to get your dog cosy in one of these, but they’re well worth it!
Sun Shades #ad is an excellent way to keep the back seat cool in the summer sun, but also block or mute your dog’s view from the street if they like to bark at passers-by. The nice thing about these is that they allow you to open the window for air circulation, without the sun. The downside is that they can stretch out quite easily, so I don’t leave these on when I’m not in the car - the elements (especially here in Canada) can really cause more wear and tear than need be.
This has to be one of my all-time faves. The WaterBoy #ad is a travel water bowl that was recommended to me years ago by some fabulous dog walkers. It’s easy to clean and the handle makes it a breeze to transport. I like throwing some ice cubes in on hot days and I’m sure not to leave it in the car when I’m not using it - I always worry about sun/heat and plastic and the leeching of chemicals. While I wish I could say it’s no-spill, I call it “low-spill” and I do keep it on a towel because now and again, at just the right angle, there can be minor spillage, but that does not deter me at all. I still love it.
Kurgo Mud Dog Shower
This is an invention that should be better-known. While it doesn’t fit on a typical water bottle, a 2L pop bottle works best and that’s easy to keep in the car for exactly this use. It’s easy to go through a few litres of water when washing up a muddy dog, but not with this mini-shower head #ad! This slows the stream down while still allowing you to get the muck off and not completely offend your dog in the meantime.
These microfibre towels #ad are superb - they absorb quickly and dry quickly. Easy to wash and roll up and stash. I love that there are a few sizes in case you just want to focus on wet paws vs wet dog. The carrying case is an added bonus so that they’re not rolling around in the car, getting sandy, mucky, and furry when not in use. Not a bad idea to have two sets - one for you and one for your dog!
5. FIRST AID
Canine Friendly Pet First Aid Kit
Never leave home without your Canine Friendly Pet First Aid Kit #ad! You’ll be glad to have this when your dog gets a cut, cracks a nail, or injures themselves.
This kit has everything you need to stabilise your dog quickly before transporting them to the nearest veterinary clinic. It’s not humungous, so it’s easy to store under a seat or in a backpack, and it comes with a Walks 'N' Wags Manual so that you can keep a clear head when administering first aid. There are a few things I would add to this kit to make it really complete, but otherwise, it’s pretty fantastic. (Additions: sanitary napkins for gaping wounds, tick remover, styptic powder, extra bandages, Benadryl.)
Through a Dog’s Ear / icalmdog
One of my absolute favourite products out there is Through a Dog’s Ear calming music for dogs.
While I’m not a fan of the car-version, I love the other CDs and have used them since they were released. The music is psycho-acoustically designed to calm dogs and oh boy, does it ever. Be mindful that it can relax you too, so use caution when driving.
Last, but not least, if your dog is suffering from car-sickness, speak with your vet about Cerenia. It might be a good choice for your dog.
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