VCA Animal Hospitals

What's the safest way to travel with my dog in the car?

Published: Sep 04, 2012

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Anyone who's ever said the words "Do you wanna go for a walk?" to a dog knows how excited canines get when the opportunity to explore the great outdoors arrives. That's why it can be so much fun for pet owners to bring their pets to nearby parks, hiking trails, or the beach. But just as you always make sure to wear your seatbelt, you must also make preparations before traveling with your dog to ensure that they are safe and happy during the journey on the road.

One of the best ways to make sure your dog is comfortable is by employing crate training at home and on the road. Some people may think crate training is cruel, but many dogs enjoy the confinement a crate offers, and come to see the crate as a safe, comfortable space. VCA Animal Hospitals says finding a way to confine the dog in the car, either with a crate, seatbelt or harness, will help reduce her anxiety.

Dogs are unique and varied creatures, so you'll find that some canines do better than others when riding in the car. Dogs may pant, whine, bark, drool or feel needy for physical contact to comfort them in the car. Others will adapt well, or become very excited to go for a trip in the car.

Owners of dogs who do become anxious in the car can help their pet adjust by desensitizing their dog. When putting her in the car, bring a few of her cherished items, like chew or throw toys. Allow the canine to have some time in the car to adjust before the engine is turned on. Once you find your dog settles quickly when the car is off, you can begin the next phase of the training by offering her positive incentives, like treats. Start out by slowly moving the vehicle back and forth within the driveway. These can eventually increase to short drives, but it's best to avoid any long road trips until your canine is well adjusted to the car.

Pet owners whose dogs are already enthusiastic about the car should not allow their canine to hang their head out the window as they drive. Though the dog may want to smell the fresh air as she rides, this behavior puts her in danger of injury or worse.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.