There is a big wide world out there just waiting for you and your Cavapoo to discover. And whilst travelling by car may not be a problem for most dogs, there are some considerations that you need to think about before you take your Cavapoo on their very first road trip.
When travelling in a car with your Cavapoo it is important that they feel safe and stress-free. And, like most experiences, the sooner you allow your dog to travel in a car with you, the better they will become and the more you can explore together.
Before you start planning your amazing adventure together, you have to remember that a car can be a very peculiar place for a puppy or dog. From the confined space to the sensation of speed and the sounds of the engine, a car journey can be as comfortable or as distressing as you make it.
Here are some of our top tips for making travelling in a car with your Cavapoo easier.
Are Cavapoo dogs good at travelling in cars?
How well your four-legged friend takes to travelling in a car with you is not a Cavapoo thing, but a canine thing! As each dog is unique you will not know how well your Cavapoo travels in a car until the moment you do it.
Cavapoos love company and so they will cherish every moment they get to spend with you – even if it is sat in a car. Just remember that this breed of dog is relatively active, so if you are heading off on a long journey, then you need to schedule in plenty of stops to stretch and allow for a bathroom break.
We have been blessed in that from the day we collected our Cavapoo Rosie, she has always been a good car passenger. But this calm and carefree travel has come at a cost. We have spent money on dog seat belts and a variety of crates and have placed her in all available spaces of the car – from the footwell to the boot – but practice makes perfect right?
We do, however, know friends who also have a Cavapoo that suffers terribly from car sickness. She shivers uncontrollably from the moment they leave home to the minute they arrive at their destination.
Thankfully, there are many things that we (as owners) can do, to make our Cavapoos feel comfortable and carefree when travelling in our cars.
6 car travelling tips that every dog owner should know
Taking any dog on a journey or vacation requires extra planning to ensure that your canine companion is well taken care of and happy while you are travelling. Here are our top tips for making car travel less stressful for all.
1. Introduce the car slowly
Do not take your Cavapoo on a road trip across America the moment you collect them. Instead, you should start by sitting in a stationary car with them so they can sniff and get used to these new confined surroundings. Once they seem relaxed you can turn on the engine before setting off a short trip to the park.
2. Make sure they have somewhere comfortable to sit
Whilst it can be amusing to see a dog with its head hanging out of a car window, it certainly isn’t safe. Dogs need a firm footing under their paws and do not enjoy being thrown around on a back seat.
If possible (and room permitting), you should place you Cavapoo in the boot where are likely to be less imbalanced. A smaller area often helps to settle your dog and if they are used to a crate at home, then a travel crate provides your puppy with a familiar setting. We use a crate just like this one for our dog Rosie and she loves the feeling of being cossetted on each journey.
Alternatively, if boot space is limited, these booster seats with seatbelts provide a safe and comfortable environment for your dog whilst you are driving.
If neither a crate nor booster are possible, then your only option may be to have your dog sit on a passenger seat wearing a harness (just like this one on Amazon). These adjustable vests clip into the seat belt buckle at the back of the car to keep your Cavapoo safe from harm.
3. Make sure your Cavapoo does not feel too hot
It is fine to open a window to allow some fresh air into the car (especially on hot days) but make sure you have a window guard to prevent your dog from trying to jump out. It will also help to keep the glare of the sun away from their sensitive eyes.
4. Pack snacks for your pup too
As necessities are often the focus for packing your own items, you should also place special attention on ensuring your Cavapoo has all of their essentials.
These must-haves include a food dish, water bowl, leash and harness, as well as the usual poo bags and plethora of treats. If they have a favorite toy or blanket, it is a good idea to bring these to calm them during travel too.
Our Cavapoo loves her heartbeat lamb, which is great for helping with anxiety.
5. Avoid synthetic car fragrances
We all want our cars to smell nice but beware of using car air fresheners as these may be toxic for your dog.
6. Remember to include the essentials
It is always better to be safe rather than sorry, so other items that should be carried in a car for your Cavapoo include:
- a pet first-aid kit (we particularly like this one),
- a towel,
- tick remover,
- plus of course, you should always ensure that you have the telephone number for your vet.
Can puppies travel in cars?
Quite often your dog’s first experience of a car journey will start from the moment you pick them up to take them home with you. It is therefore really important that you have two people present when bringing your puppy home.
This way, one person can drive and the other can sit the beside your Cavapoo providing plenty of cuddles and reassurance, helping to assist with any distress that your puppy may display. As with most puppy first experiences, you need it to be a happy one as if the initial journey is nerve-wracking for them, then it can take many months for them to feel comfortable in a car.
Minimising stress is the most important factor, especially if your puppy has a long journey ahead of them, so careful planning is required.
Make sure you carry plenty of water to stop dehydration and don’t be alarmed if you Cavapoo pup suffers from car sickness. The areas of a dog’s inner ear that help with balance are not fully formed yet, so the motion of a moving car can put them off-kilter.
Whilst most puppies bound in and out of cars without a care in the world, you should always be mindful that there is a lot of sensory input for your dog to deal with – even on the shortest of journeys.
For more information and tips on how to settle your Cavapoo puppy into a new home, please read our informative blog.
How to treat dog car sickness
If you have a dog that suffers from travel sickness, then there are a few remedies worth trying.
Also, remember that not all dogs can tolerate certain scents and as their sense of smell is heightened you should check that your dog finds it acceptable first. If they dislike the aroma, then your Cavapoo will soon let it be known.
If your dog is persistently car sick, then you should find out from your vet if there are any medications that might relieve motion sickness for your dog. They might also want to check any inner ear or vestibular problems that might be contributing to the situation.
Other options are to try some herbal treats which you can feed your dog beforehand in order to try and reduce their anxiety. Ginger biscuits have also been used successfully by some owners, but try and remember to leave at least an hour between feeding your dog and travelling in the car.
Things to consider when travelling in a car with an older dog
Older dogs can find car journeys distressing too, especially as cars can be noisy places. Some may feel more placated on motorways and highways when the traffic is all moving in the same direction, while others prefer it when they are on slower, smaller roads.
Some dogs refuse to sit or lie down, but standing up in a car can cause problems later in life such as atrophy and muscle stiffness.
If your dog is more mature and needs some extra care and attention on car journeys, then one thing you will need to consider is how they get in and out. Ramps can be a good solution, but not all dogs like them. Our Cavapoo won’t even walk across a bridge, so a simple car step would be a complete no go. Therefore, you may want to consider carefully lifting your dog in and out of the car.
Regardless of your dog’s age, you should always try and park next to a curb so that your Cavapoo does not overstretch and over-reach when getting in and out of your car. Bounding out from the boot can damage your dogs front legs, neck and back if the drop is too steep.
Likewise, a hard landing can be painful. Parking next to grass or even providing your dog with a yoga mat will help to cushion their landing and prevent damage to their joints, shoulders, and back muscles.
Next year we are planning on travelling by ferry and by car to the South of Spain in order to stay with family. This will be an exciting adventure for us all, especially as we are planning on taking Rosie.
But whether it is a short hop to the park or a road trip across Europe, there are lots of considerations when travelling in a car with your Cavapoo – with safety and wellbeing of primary importance.
Bad associations when travelling can stop your dog enjoying trips together so regardless of whether your Cavapoo is a seasoned traveller or a first-time passenger, you should always monitor them carefully in order to minimize any potential discomfort.