happy black dog in car window

As pet owners ourselves, the staff here at Puppy Love recognize that getting an animal into the car isn’t always easy, but sometimes it’s necessary—especially if your furry friend isn’t accustomed to regular car rides.

For pets who aren’t used to tagging along with you to the grocery store, to the breakwater at Cooke Street Village, or to Goldstream Provincial Park for a hike, getting ushered into a vehicle isn’t fun. In their minds it usually means either a trip to the vet, to the groomers, or to the kennel, where they won’t know when they will see their humans again. Talk about stress.

To alleviate some of the stress and anxiety involved in transporting your pets (for them and for you!), there are a few training tips you can try, but first let’s take a look at how to transport your pets safely. Here’s how to get to the dog kennel safely by following the requirements for driving with pets in your car.

A photo posted by Mariska Richters (@mariskar) on

First off, ICBC has this to say about traveling with pets: “Just like people, animals need to be buckled up for safety. Having your pet properly restrained can prevent them from escaping, flying forward in your vehicle, or being hurt in a crash.”

ICBC goes on to say that keeping your pet secured in your vehicle also prevents you from driving while distracted. That’s certainly understandable given that our pets don’t know why we aren’t giving them our full attention when we are in the vehicle, and tend to try and get it however they can, even if that means trying to nuzzle their way between our laps and steering wheels.

To secure Fido safely in the vehicle in order to get him to the dog kennel, there are two main options: harnesses (dog seatbelts) and crates, which are available at most pet stores.

Dog Harnesses

Dog harnesses come in a wide range of sizes. Try to find one that advertises that it is easy to put on so you remember to use it even when you’re in a hurry. Just like the collar, you want to leave room for two fingers to fit between the harness and your dog so he remains comfortable throughout the entire trip.

Dog harnesses are meant to make the ride more enjoyable for your animal, who will still be able to sit, stand or lie down to enjoy the trip without having to brace themselves with every sharp corner or stop the vehicle makes.

Be patient with it and try it out a few times when you’re not on a tight schedule. If your dog can handle the car ride on the day of his drop off to the kennel, you’re more likely to make it to the airport on time for your holiday or business trip.

Dog Crates

Another way to secure your dogs and cats while on the road is to use a crate. (You can try to harness your cat, but be prepared for a backlash or a kitty scratch!) This is a very popular option for all sorts of breeds. Make sure the crate you purchase is marketed as having been crash-tested and that you have a way to secure it in the vehicle via a seatbelt, cargo hooks, or bungee cords.

You can also nudge it between the passenger seat and backseat if it’s big enough. Securing the crate is safer for your pet, safer for you, and safer for others on the road in the event of a crash, as unsecured crates can easily fly out of vehicles if there is enough impact.

Dogs in Pickup Trucks

Dogs may love hanging out in pickup trucks, but the law is not on their side. Section 72 of the BC Motor Vehicle Act Act prohibits the transport of an unsecured pet in the back of a pickup truck. Failure to abide by this means stiff fines and potentially a cruelty to animals charge under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, if your pet is injured.

So what is allowed? A secured crate in the center of the cab, and a tethered animal with a harness. Avoid long ropes! For more information on the safe transport of pets in vehicles, check out this 30-second video presented by the BC SPCA, the RCMP and ICBC RoadSense as part of their awareness campaign on the safe way to transport your pet.

Having Trouble Getting Your Dog In the Car?

We hear you! It’s all about helping them take small steps (literally!) to slowly coax them into the vehicle. Think about adding a stepping stool or lifting them in, offering meal times in the car, and making sure the vehicle is cool enough. Also check out the Dog Whisperer’s advice on YouTube. Training your dog to not be afraid of the vehicle should be done as early as possible so that if emergencies come up, your animals are good and ready to abide.

Additional Tips for Dropping Off and Pick Up Your Pets from the Kennel

Safety is everything when it comes to dropping off and picking up your pets from doggy daycare. In addition to following safe transport tips, be even more prepared for dropping off your pets at the kennel by reviewing our blog, Preparing Your Pets For Boarding http://puppylove.ca/blog/preparing-your-pets-for-boarding/, which covers things like what to pack and how to act on the big day.

The Puppy Love Pet Care Centre in Victoria, BC, is committed to making sure your pets are safe and sound in your absence. We hope you do the same for them when it comes to getting your pets to us safely when travelling with them on the open road. For more information on our pet boarding services, please take a look around our website and feel free to contact us for more details http://puppylove.ca/contact-us/. We are open seven days a week from 9 am to 6 pm!

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