With pet-friendly hotels and other lodging options becoming more commonplace, it’s become easier than ever to bring your dog along with you on trips. Embarking on a road trip with your beloved pup is far better than leaving them at home or at a boarding facility. However, it is important to adequately prepare your vehicle before you depart.
Even if you’re not planning a long trip with your dog anytime soon, we would still recommend you follow these tips to keep your dog safe and your car clean—even if the drive is only a short trip to the groomers. Here are the most effective methods for dog-proofing your truck.
Clean Your Car
Before loading your dog into the car, it is a good idea to tidy up. Clean out your car to ensure that there are no food wrappers or forgotten items that your dog might like to chew.
You do not want your dog to accidentally eat anything they aren’t supposed to. They could become sick from ingesting harmful food or inedible objects. Best case scenario, you run the risk of your dog chewing up your personal property. It’s best to just clean out your car of any loose items before loading up your pup.
Set Up Barriers
Leaving your dog loose in the backseat of your truck can be dangerous. If your dog is anxious during car rides, they may try to scramble into the front seat for comfort. This can be extremely hazardous, as it could distract you while driving, and the dog may even physically interfere with your ability to operate the vehicle.
To prevent this, it is best to set up barriers to keep your dog where it’s safe. These barriers are designed similarly to baby gates. They act as a temporary wall to keep your dog where you want them. There are various types available depending on your model of car. Some attach to your front seats, keeping your dog in the backseat. Others attach to the back of the rear seats, keeping your dog securely in the cargo area of an SUV.
Fasten Them In
Fastening your dog securely into your truck is the best way to make sure they’ll be safe, even in the event of an accident. One of the sturdiest ways to do this is to set up a kennel in your vehicle. This works best in larger vehicles, such as SUVs.
If this wouldn’t work for your vehicle, there are plenty of other options. Dog harnesses designed for this purpose often fit like a vest and attach to the car’s seatbelt, creating a comfortable, safe method of transport.
Hammock car seats are also a great option—these attach to the headrests of the front and back seats to create a hammock with a sturdy, flat bottom. This gives your dog a wider, more comfortable platform to lay on while you’re driving, as well as minimizes the chances of them sliding off the car seat at sudden stops.
Organize the Essentials
On long car trips, your dog will need some items accessible for stops and potty breaks. Some items, like squeaky toys and their dog food, should be packed away in a different part of the car, where they won’t be able to access them.
The items they will need during the car ride should be placed into a designated bag or box. It’s best to secure this somewhere your dog will not be able to get into it, but where you can access it easily. This bag should include car-ride-approved toys, treats, doggie bags, a water bowl, your dog’s leash, and any medication they need. Include a spare dog towel to dry off any wet paws.
Pack Your Cleaning Supplies
Even the best-behaved dogs sometimes get motion sick. It’s best to be prepared for any accidents. Having cleaning supplies on hand gives you the ability to spot clean messes as they occur, preventing stains before they happen.
In your kit of cleaning supplies, pack all the essentials, including carpet cleaner, rags, paper towels, and wipes. This makes it simple to clean up any accidents without disrupting your trip.
Cover the Windows
Your pup eagerly looking out the windows likely leaves smudge marks and nose prints all over the glass. If this annoys you and you’d prefer not to have to wipe the glass down every time your dog rides in the car, there is a solution.
Window coverings, usually designed for babies, block excess sunlight—and your pup’s nose from the glass. The coverings won’t block your vision while driving, and you won’t need to wipe down your windows. Simply take the coverings down after you let your dog out of the car, and you’re good to go!
Install Seat Covers
One of the most effective methods for dog-proofing your truck is to install seat covers. Seat covers come in many different styles and colors, so you’re sure to find one that matches your personal taste. They do an excellent job of keeping dog hair and drool off your car seats and are easy to remove and throw in the washing machine, leaving them good as new.
To get the best fit for your vehicle, invest in custom-made seat covers. They are specially designed for the make and model of your vehicle. This means that you won’t need to worry about any bunched fabric or ill-fitting covers.
Depending on the material you choose, some seat covers are even water-resistant or waterproof, which is an excellent option if you’re still in the process of potty training your pup. No matter what you choose, a great set of seat covers will make traveling with your dog much less messy.
No matter how carefully you prepare your truck, expect to still need to clean it after your dog goes for a ride. Between shedding, mud, and wet dog smell, you will likely need to give your vehicle a good vacuuming and spray some air freshener. However, prepping your truck so extensively minimizes the cleaning you’ll need to do and ensures your dog is as safe as possible for the duration of your trip. Now, all that’s left to do is book a dog-friendly hotel!
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