Big dogs make great pets, whether you’re looking for a big furry friend to join your family or you’re single and looking for a four-legged companion. Rescuing or adopting a big dog is an exciting time, but transporting them home can present some problems, particularly if they’re several hours away. Keeping them calm, comfortable, and cared for is essential during your drive and helps you to both have a smooth journey to the start of your lives together.
Use the right vehicle
Big dogs in small cars going any distance are going to quickly get uncomfortable, especially if they’re not used to traveling and you’ve got a few hours ahead of you. Dogs can become distressed, which can result in them panicking, hurting themselves, and accidentally hurting you too. Therefore, getting the right vehicle is essential when transporting a big dog to their new home.
Trucks can be a good idea as they provide an open space that won’t restrict a dog’s height, but it’s essential that they are secured so that they don’t become scared and potentially jump out into traffic. Where possible, ride in the back with your new dog to help keep them calm. If you don’t have a truck or a suitably-sized car, look into renting one for your trip. Be sure to find a reliable truck, particularly if you’ve got a long journey, as the last thing you want is to break down on the side of the road with a scared dog.
Regularly see to your dog’s needs
It can be tempting to think that big dogs won’t need to stop regularly as they have bigger bladders, but frequent breaks during your trip are essential to keep them comfortable and avoid them from becoming restless. Aim to stop every couple of hours and let your big dog have a toilet break and stretch their legs. Remember to keep them on a lead when doing this to keep them safe and try to find somewhere with some grass or trees for them. Regularly offer some water and, depending on the length of your drive, you may also want to offer them some small servings of food. It’s recommended not to let dogs travel after a full meal as they can become carsick, so some treats or a handful of biscuits every few hours will help to keep them comfortable.
Bring familiar items and tire them out
Whether you’re picking your dog up from a previous owner or a rescue shelter, most dogs usually have some familiar items that they like, such as toys or a blanket. Keeping these with your new dog can help them to feel calm as everything isn’t unknown to them if they’ve got their favorite things in the world nearby. It’s also a good idea to ask the previous owner or shelter to take your dog for a walk before you collect them to tire them out. The less energy they’ve got, the more likely they are to settle in the car. Alternatively, you could take them for a walk yourself once you’ve picked them up.
Transporting a big dog does involve a bit of planning, especially when you’re their new owner and you need to get to know each other still. Regularly check on your dog and keep them comfortable for a smooth journey home.