Whether you’re taking a long trip or a short jaunt, riding with your dog can be a joyful—or fretful—event. Dogs are curious, freedom-loving creatures, so spending too much time cooped up can make them anxious and liable to mess up your vehicle. But there are several steps you can take to prevent any canine catastrophes. Here’s how to keep your car clean with a dog as a passenger.
Minimize Your Trips
Always ask if it’s necessary to take your pup on the car ride. Not all dogs love to ride, and a nervous pet is prone to nausea, agitation, and loss of control. If your dog is high-strung and the trip is unavoidable, provide a safe space in the car.
Carrying cases are best for smaller dogs. Keep them feeling snug with a warm blanket. Secure the case on the floor to prevent jolts and bumps as well. Give larger dogs a big blanket to hide under. As a side note, if you have two cars, pick one to be the pet transport vehicle so the other one stays fur- and mess-free.
Keep Them Clean and Groomed
Most dogs hate baths, but most love nothing better than the attention and cuddles lavished on them while you brush them out.
Before letting them come in the car, give them a once-over with a brush or grooming gloves. They’ll be happy to oblige you, giving you affection as you brush them. Do it outdoors and let the fur fly.
It’s All in the Timing
Before a trip, remember to ensure your dog has recently relieved themselves. A full belly or bladder risks a potential accident, which means you’d spend time scrubbing or hosing the back seat.
Treats may seem like a good solution to help calm a pet, but they could be the catalyst for disaster. Click here for other tips on planning for extended road trips with your dog, and remember to let them stretch their legs at rest centers and pet-friendly recreational spots.
Keep It Covered
Here’s another great way to keep your car clean with a dog as your travel companion. Plenty of choices are available to keep your seats and floors cleared of dog fur (and worse). Buy and install seat covers.
Hammock seat covers, which hang above the back seat, can give your dog a place to snooze. Floor mats are a must. Be ready for cleanups by keeping a bottle of cleaner, paper towels, wipes, and trash bags in the trunk. Tackle cleanups immediately; scents linger if they set in.
No matter where you go with your pet, always keep in mind that they’re a companion—not cargo!
If they don’t love the experience, don’t force them to ride. If they do have to ride, make it a calmer experience with extra love, attention, and frequent stops. Happy traveling with your doggo!