Traveling with the dogs is one of my favorite things, but it wasn’t always easy to do. When we first got Luna, car rides made her so anxious that she would almost always throw up. We tried so many different strategies to get her to relax and stop throwing up. We switched her food, avoided feeding her, and bought several different tools that were supposed to help.

In the end, what we really need was time and practice. That’s not always everyone’s favorite thing to hear because it can be frustrating to wait. To hopefully make things improve a little quicker, I’m sharing my 6 top tips to get your dog used to car rides. If you have a tip yourself, be sure to share it in the comments below!

This post is also continuing the 2018 Stocking Stuffer Giveaways, so welcome to Day 2! We’ll be be hosting a total 10 days of giveaways with 40 prizes valued at over $1,700! Save this link to ensure you enter ALL 10 giveaways for more chances to win.

Today’s prize sponsor is 4Knines. All thanks to 4Knines, we’ll be giving away a Split Rear Car Seat Cover with Hammock. Read through this entire post to find out how to enter to win!

Affiliate links are used in this post and I may receive a commission if you click and/or purchase from the link to help support this blog. Do not worry, these links do not affect the price of products.

6 Quick Tips to Get Your Dog Accustomed to Riding in Your Car | Stocking Stuffer Giveaways | Win a Split Rear Car Seat Cover with Hammock | #sponsored by 4Knines

Disclaimer: 4Knines provided product free to review. I am being compensated to help spread the word about 4Knines. I received no other compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the brands or products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business. 4Knines is responsible for all giveaway prizes including shipping.

How to Get Your Dog Used to Riding in Cars

Start Small

The most important thing to remember when getting your dog to be comfortable in the car is to start small. If your dog gets super anxious or just completely hates car rides that isn’t going to change over night no matter what you do. That’s why it’s important to start with the basics.

Start by just getting them used to being near the car. Don’t even turn it on. If they start to stress out before you reach the car, begin further away and inch your way closer over time. Be ready to supply tons of praise and treats as they improve and plan to allow of plenty of time for slow progress. We’re talking days or even weeks, so don’t plan a road trip for tomorrow or the next weekend.

Practice Runs

Once your pup is ready to be near the car, work on getting them comfortable inside. Continue to keep the engine off and entice your dog inside the car. It helps to have another person on the other side of the car ready with a treat and lots of praise. You want to reward your pup as soon as they get inside.

Don’t keep them in for too long when you first start. Practice getting in and out while increasing the amount of time in by 30 seconds or a minute at a time. Once you’re pup is comfortable with being inside the car for 10-15 minutes, you can turn on the engine. You may need to go back to getting them comfortable being outside of the car first.

When you’re dog is consistently okay with being inside the car with the engine on, go on practice trips. Start with super quick trips just around the block, parking lot, or in and out of your garage. Then increase the length as time goes on. Don’t forget the praise and treats.

6 Quick Tips to Get Your Dog Accustomed to Riding in Your Car | Stocking Stuffer Giveaways | Win a Split Rear Car Seat Cover with Hammock | #sponsored by 4Knines

Use Seat Cover Protection

When you start training, you’ll want to set both you and your dog up for success. One of the best ways to do that is to get a seat cover to protect the interior of your car. It may seem a bit odd, but trust me. Knowing that your car’s rear seat is protected will reduce from accidents and dog paws YOUR stress. How stressed or frustrated you are will inevitably affect your dog’s stress level and you definitely don’t want to be adding to it. You will feel good knowing that even if your pup does have an accident or scratches the back seat, it won’t leave long term damage. It makes clean up much easier and it’s really just one less thing to worry about.

If you’re in the market for a quality seat cover, I highly recommend 4Knines. I’ve obsessed with their Split Rear Seat Cover with Hammock as it protects my seats from dirty dogs, but also still allows for the flexibility of folding down half or all of the back seat.

Want more reasons to get a seat cover for your car? Check out our post from last year.

Go Somewhere Fun

When you reach the point of being able to drive around for more than just a minute or two, start going somewhere your dog absolutely loves. Drive to a nearby dog park, go out for a short hike, hit up the pet store, grab a puppuccino or do anything else your dog absolutely loves. This will help them start associating something positive with getting into the car. It’s a great way to reward your dog instead of just constantly giving them all the treats.

Watch What They Do

As they get more comfortable, keep an eye on their behavior. Are they pacing? Trying to see out window? Anything else that may be causing them to get dizzy or experience motion sickness? Once you know what your dog is actually doing when in the car, you may be able to find additional products that can help such as seat belts, restraints, carriers, or even boxes that will lift small dogs up to window height.

6 Quick Tips to Get Your Dog Accustomed to Riding in Your Car | Stocking Stuffer Giveaways | Win a Split Rear Car Seat Cover with Hammock | #sponsored by 4Knines

Still Make “Bad” Trips Fun

Inevitably trips to the vet have to happen, but they don’t have to be all bad. When you are heading to less than fun destination like the vet or even possibly boarding, plan another positive activity for before or after. It’s also important that going to the vet isn’t the only time that your dog goes in or near the car. Just like the “Go Somewhere Fun” section above, your dog could begin to associate riding in cars with going somewhere bad.

About 4Knines

I got my first 4Knines seat cover last year and then my boyfriend promptly stole it for his car. Probably because it’s the best one we’ve ever had! Now both of our cars are protected with a Split Rear Seat Cover with Hammock in Black.

I’m still blown away with the overall quality of 4Knines seat covers. I particularly love the split version because it allows you to fold down half of the seat at a time without taking the cover off by accommodating the 40/60 split that most car back seats have. Another benefit is that if you have a fold down drink holder in the back seat, you are able to fold it down for some extra storage space. Though there’s no guarantee that your dog won’t drink your beverage… yes, Ralph has tried.

6 Quick Tips to Get Your Dog Accustomed to Riding in Your Car | Stocking Stuffer Giveaways | Win a Split Rear Car Seat Cover with Hammock | #sponsored by 4Knines

I’m also a big fan of the hammock option because it prevents your dog from falling down. It’s all around great for road trips because it allows you to utilize the floor space a bit more when you’re packing the car. The hammock also keeps what you put down there out of sight for pit stops and even staying overnight at a hotel. I use it constantly on a daily basis as well.

If you want to learn more about 4Knines, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Don’t forget to also check out all their product offerings to find the best seat cover that fits your car and needs.

6 Quick Tips to Get Your Dog Accustomed to Riding in Your Car | Stocking Stuffer Giveaways | Win a Split Rear Car Seat Cover with Hammock | #sponsored by 4Knines

ONE lucky Beagles & Bargains reader will receive a 4Knines Rear Car Seat Cover!

Residents of the United States are eligible to enter via the Rafflecopter below. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, December 22, 2018. Winners will be notified via email within 48 hours of the giveaway closing and will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize.

One (1) winner will receive one (1) 4Knines Black Regular Split Rear Seat Cover with Hammock. Estimated value is $89.99.

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6 Quick Tips to Get Your Dog Accustomed to Riding in Your Car | Stocking Stuffer Giveaways | Win a Split Rear Car Seat Cover with Hammock | #sponsored by 4Knines

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman is a bargain hunter, food lover, and software engineer figuring out how to be a pet parent for the first time. Jessica has been a long time lover of all animals (especially llamas and manatees) and is happy that she can finally combine that love with technology.
Jessica Shipman
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