Sunday, June 28, 2015

Puppy in a car

Pip in her little car seat

As of yesterday, Pip has logged over 5,300 miles in my car. She's an excellent little traveler—never once has she shown any kind of car sickness. On one absurdly long trip--we went about 600 miles in one day, including through rush hour in Chicago when detours and an accident sent us right through the city (it took almost 3 hours to get from the end of the Indiana toll road to just past O'Hare!)--she got a bit restless, though that simply involved a bit of whimpering and needing extra pats. Normally she settles in for the duration.

I don't know how to prevent or deal with car sickness--I've never had a dog who suffered from that. I think part of my luck in Pip's excellent car skills comes from our very first rides the weekend I got her. My sister-in-law drove from the breeder's house while I held Pip in my lap, and the trip lasted only about a half hour. Then I drove with her on short legs, giving her time to adjust to the car carrier (with the special pad her breeder gave me that smelled like her mother and brothers), and partly with my friend Kathy holding her, until our first fairly long solo trip when we went from Baraboo, Wisconsin, home to Duluth. I had her in the front seat in her carrier, and I slipped the zipper partly open so I could reach in and pat her as I drove. We stopped at every rest stop for her to sniff about, but at that point I had to be VERY careful because she hadn't had her vaccination boosters yet, so that part wasn't as fun for her as it could have been. 

I keep one mostly white baby blanket in the car, which I use to cover most of her carrier when the blazing sun is shining on her carrier as we drive. So far it hasn't been hot where I've taken her, and I've never had to leave her in the car for more than 5 minutes, but when I do have to run in for an errand, a bathroom stop, etc., I cover the top of her car set with that white blanket, open the windows a couple of inches each, and run in. I keep a shoulder bag that she's comfortable riding in in the car, so when we do start encountering hot weather or the car has to be left in a sunny parking lot, I can pop her in that and just take her along--yet another great benefit to having a small breed. 

I keep a big water bottle in the car, and a dish for water, and whenever I stop, I give her a drink. A few times after I've washed it, I have forgotten the dish at home, so at stops, I simply poured water into a cupped hand—she instantly learned to drink from my hand. 

I haven't worried about what she eats before a trip--she's not a very big eater, so at home she always has kibble available, and whenever she seems interested, I give her soft food. She's still a bit like a baby bird--after she eats, she often needs to poop right away--so I of course always take her out before we leave on any trip. I feel sorry for people whose dogs get car sick because I've really never had to think about scheduling food before a trip.

I keep some nutritious snacks in the car, and always have a few chew toys in her carrier for her. I play music or news programs while we're driving, and she seems to like it when I talk to her or sing along. I think she actually finds our time in the car fun.

I keep one retractable leash in the car, with a holder for poop bags attached. I hook that via a carabiner to my belt pouch when Pip and I are birding, so my hands are free but I can instantly rein her in if necessary. And I never, ever leave home before I put her little harness on--hooking a leash to that is much safer on a tiny dog than hooking the leash to a neck collar. But I do keep a regular collar on her, too, with her name and my phone numbers, just in case. She's also micro-chipped, but if someone were to find her, I'd want contact information to be available instantly.

I don't know how much I can credit Pip's ease in the car to her own wonderful personality, whether I'm doing something unique that has contributed to it, and whether my own calm expectation that of course she'd be good in the car has helped. But this is just one more way that I feel exceedingly lucky to have this little puppy.

Pip with her retractable leash.

1 comment:

  1. Most dogs love automotive rides and road journeys and that they ar interested by the new surroundings. They concentrate to what they'll see from the window or they get tired quick and sleep peacefully for hours.


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