January 14, 2020 5 min read

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Problems Traveling With a Dog

As a dog owner, when you decide to go on a car trip and decide to bring your dog, there are many things to consider. Car trips can be very exciting for some dogs yet stressful for others. Dogs can be anxious due to the confined space or fearful because they associate car trips with negative experiences like trips to the veterinarian’s office.

Pet travel can also be a bit harder for pet owners who have big dogs, small dogs tend to be easier to travel with, especially for air travel.

Dogs with injuries or arthritis pain can be very uncomfortable, especially on very long road trips or camping trips. One of the easiest ways to help keep your canine companion comfortable is to consider a traveling dog bed.

What Makes a Good Travel Bed?

There are a few criteria to consider when purchasing a travel bed for your dog. The best pet beds are the kind that is easy to add to or remove from the vehicle. Most beds or pads that are created for dog crates are also perfect for the backseat of an SUV or in the open-trunk storage space behind the last row of an SUV.

You will need to make sure that the bed has a non-skid bottom so that it stays in place where it sits and so that it will be stable while your dog sleeps on it as the vehicle is in motion. The bed should also be easy to clean because dogs can have accidents just like people can, including motion sickness.  

The overall comfort is important when considering a dog bed for your car. Some of the best beds have a memory foam mattress which is easy on the joints and is comfortable for dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Orthopedic dog beds have elements like memory foam for this reason. Because some memory foam mattresses can get a little too warm for dogs, many of today’s memory foam dog beds have a gel-cooled layer so that your dog won’t feel too warm if he sits on the bed for an extended period of time.

The Best Dog Beds for the Car

Some of the best travel beds can be found here at SitStay.com. Once such bed is the Premier Memory Foam crate bed. It is specifically designed for use in a dog crate but can easily be placed in the back of your SUV.

It is comprised of memory foam and is thin enough to move in and out of your car but also firm enough to be a supportive place for your pup to relax. The suede fabric helps wick away moisture and won’t absorb odors. It is also easy to clean by removing the cover, and the bottom will grip any surface to prevent slipping while the car is in motion.

The Tough Titan Orthopedic crate bed is a little bit thicker and is made up of a nylon fabric that is chew-resistant, which is especially important with anxious dogs. The bed is also non-slip and has a removable cover that is machine washable. The memory form mattress also has a gel layer to keep your dog cool.

The Slumber Pad Plush crate bed is a little softer than the other beds but still has similar components. It helps prevent slipping with a special non-slip bottom and is made of a ballistic nylon fabric that is highly resistant to chewing. It is another bed that is also easy to clean and can be quickly placed or removed from your vehicle.

Other Ways to Make Your Dog Comfy in the Car

There are many other ways to make sure that your dog is comfortable in the car. If possible, behavior modification and training are ideal. It is best to get your dog used to the idea of riding in the car. This can be done by practicing jumping into the car and then going on short, frequent trips inside of the car.

Treats can make this training much easier and is a means of positive reinforcement so that not only will you teach your dog to remain calm in the car, you will also help him learn that the car is not scary.

Sometimes medications or supplements are necessary to help with your dog’s anxiety. If he is prone to motion sickness, then he may need a motion sickness medication. Most veterinarians prescribed Cerenia, which is FDA-approved for vomiting and motion sickness in dogs, or they may recommend an over-the-counter medication like Dramamine.

Pheromone products and calming treats can be used during training and also during car trips. These are usually available in sprays, wipes, and even dog collars.

Medications like gabapentin and trazodone can be prescribed by veterinarians because they are good short-acting anxiety medications. CBD oil has also been shown to help dogs with anxiety and stress. It can be given via a dropper or inside of dog treats. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before starting CBD because it may cause excess sedation if given with anxiety medications.

Dogs sometimes appreciate music in the car. Whenever researchers perform studies on the effects of music on animals in a shelter setting, they usually determine that classical music and sometimes jazz or reggae have the most calming effect. If your dog isn’t a music fan, then you can give him chew toys or puzzle toys to help keep his mind occupied.

Frequent rest stops are always a good opportunity to allow your pup to stretch his legs and to take in some of the local sights and smells. If he is afraid of loud noises and traffic, then avoid rest stops right by the highway where it is sure to be loud and busy.

How To Travel With a Dog

Car trips with your furry friend can be much more fun if you plan ahead. Sometimes, a little training is necessary to help your dog if he is nervous in the car, and your veterinarian can help you with recommendations for motion sickness and anxiety. 

Dog beds for the car are frequently overlooked, and it may be just the thing that your dog needs to help keep him comfortable on your trip. Be sure to look at some of the crate beds here on SitStay.com since many of them meet the criteria for the ideal travel bed.


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Meet The Author

Dr. Erica Irish author of cargo dog beds for your SUV: what you need to know

Dr. Erica Irish

Erica has worked in the veterinary field since 2006, starting out as a veterinary technician before graduating from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. As a general practitioner in an animal hospital, she has many interests and is especially interested in dermatology, cardiology, internal and integrative medicine.