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Cars are a pain to keep clean. For pet parents, this nightmare is compounded by the muddy paws, hair, dirt, and drool, distributed liberally by their dogs all over the interior. Even for relatively neat owners, taking the dog out on a drive means having to clean the car after every trip, so the seats don’t stain and the grime doesn’t become part of the carpeting. This gets old fast and adds a level of stress that shouldn’t be part of any decision that means more time with your dog.

Keeping your car clean, while enjoying your dog’s company on car rides, is all about being prepared. These tips will not only help reduce the effort needed to maintain a dirt-free car but also prevent some inevitable wear and tear.

Keep you car clean as a dog owner.
It might be harder to keep you car clean as a dog owner but we have some advice for you.

1. Begin with a clean car. Do a thorough scrub and vacuum cleaning. Make sure you get all the paw marks, dust, debris, and slobber off your seat upholstery, windows, and mats. Once everything is as clean as possible, consider the following options.

2. Use seat covers. Your car upholstery may reflect your tastes, but to keep them clean and protect them from your dog’s nails, it’s advisable to use covers of a thick, washable material, which can be disposed of in a year without regret. If you are particularly fond of your car’s seat design and loathe to cover it up, you can also go for the next method.

3. Pair plastic wraps with rubber mats. New cars often come with a thin film of plastic covering the seats. You can purchase these from an auto-shop and keep the grime off the original material. To keep the plastic untorn under your dog’s paws, use rubber mats on your seats. This will also keep the dog’s fur from getting into the nooks and crannies of your car seats.

Taking the dog out on a drive means having to clean the car after every trip sounds familiar? Try some of our tips and you will see it will be much easier. 

4.Fold the back seats. Although many pet parents find this intuitive, many more think it’s simpler to let the dog sit on the back seat. There are several advantages that make folding the seat a better option for dog travel. It gives your pet a stable surface to sit on and reduces the risk of them falling into the gap between the front and back seats. It also protects your upholstery.

5. Use a quilt or bedding. If you want to make your dog’s ride comfortable, pad the rear area with a washable quilt to cushion their seating. This keeps the hair, mud, and grass from getting into the carpeting as well as creates a nice nest for your dog to lie in during longer rides. Of course, it adds to your cleaning duties, which brings us to the penultimate tip.

MADY Car Cargo Cover For Pets
MADY Car Cargo Cover For Cars & SUV’s

6. Protect the back with a cargo liner. These come in waterproof, scratch-resistant materials and take the strain off you by letting your dog be as messy as she pleases, while keeping your interiors clean. You can connect the straps around the head rest of the front seats and drape the rest across the back area. The rest of the ties will keep the material in place, no matter how much your dog moves around. Products like the MADY Cargo Liner can also be used to protect the back seat, if you don’t want to fold it down. The material covers the gap between the seats and keeps your dog from falling into it.

7. Keep cleaning products handy. Even after you get the car prepared for trips with your dog, there are situations where sitting in a vehicle with a suspiciously smelly canine can be intolerable. Carry some wet wipes, paper towels, and a brush in the car. Always give your dog’s fur a quick but thorough combing before letting them back in, after they’ve romped through grass or dirt. Most of the dust and miscellany fall out with a good brushing. Clean your dog’s paws with the wet wipes, and use the paper towels to rub off any water on her coat.

How dog owners can keep their car's clean
Clean car = Happy driver & happy dog!

With these precautions in place, your car will suffer fewer attacks on its hygiene, and you’ll have to spend a lot less time scrubbing stains and vacuuming dirt out of seats and carpets. Not only you will enjoy a clean car but your dog will thank you too.

MADY Cargo Liner Banner

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how to calm your dog on new year
How to calm your dog on new years eve

The evening before New Year is a loud, memorable time of parties, house dinners, fireworks, and music. It’s a night we all look forward to, even as we sadly bid another year goodbye. For our pets, it’s a night that suddenly turns scary and threatens the calm safety of their world. It’s reported that the nights before New Year’s Eve and 4th of July are the busiest in all veterinary clinics. Pet parents across the country try and get medication to calm their dog’s anxiety and keep them from hurting themselves. While not all pets react badly to the sound and experience of these nights, some are triggered to an extreme degree. Far too many shelters suddenly find their numbers bloated as fearful dogs escape yards and houses, in an effort to get away from the noise.

While medicating your dog is an option, veterinarians will not usually give prescription anti-anxiety drugs without knowing your dog’s medical history. It’s best to talk about this with your preferred vet a month or more before the problem night. Often medication is a last resort and some other methods should be attempted before that stage.

How to Keep Your Dog Calm on New Year’s Eve - tire your dog
How to Keep Your Dog Calm on New Year’s Eve – tire your dog

Always tire your dog out before the night. Take him on a long walk, play fetch for an hour, have him run around till he’s ready to go home and sleep. Tiredness is the best anti-anxiety drug. It dulls your dog’s senses and keeps him from registering the unusually loud noises with his normal sensitivity.

Train your dog to use a crate. Every dog has a favorite spot where they retreat to when they are scared. It can be his dog bed, a couch, a corner of the dining room. Dogs require a den. The quieter, safer the spot, the better. A crate is a wonderful space to get a dog used to. This training is best started early in life. If your dog regards the crate as a place where he can rest safely, you can easily leave him in there with a chew bone or a toy stuffed with treats. Make sure that he has peed and pooped before. This containment will keep him from bolting, and lessen his anxiety.

Always tire your dog.

When crating is not an option, contain your dog in a room with his favorite toys and treat-filled puzzle games. Check on him occasionally, but don’t let him out to mingle with the guests. The energy of a room full of people would only intensify his stress levels. Sound proof his room as much as possible, and put on some calming music to counter the sound of fireworks and ear-blasting EDM outside.

The use of calming music has been scientifically proven to lower anxiety in dogs. There are songs recorded specifically for dogs to help them de-stress. Research these before-hand and expose your dog to them when he’s already feeling mellow. Once he begins associating that music with relaxation, putting it on before the New Year’s celebrations begin, will help keep him calm through the night.

Keep your dog calm on new years eve - tired dog
Keep your dog calm on new years eve – tired dog

Finally, give him your attention. If you’re at home, stay beside him. You’re the center of his world and your mere presence makes him feel safe. If it’s possible to get out of the house and leave for a quieter area, go visit your family or friends with your dog. It’s the best way to spend the last day of the year, anyway.

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How to have a fun road trip with your dog

When you adopted your canine companion, you did it with a dream of taking him everywhere with you. So, taking your dog on a road trip is something you are invested in. He’s a part of your family, and you want him to be part of the laughter and fun of a holiday. If you’ve never done it before, you might be anticipating a lot of unforeseen problems ahead, and this pre-emptive fear can often lead you to change your mind about taking him along. However, the problems you might face on a trip are mostly practical and can be easily faced with sufficient preparation. No pet parent ever gets used to the mournful whines of their dog, when they leave the house, and it’s even worse when you know he’ll be alone and confused for days. So, don’t leave your dog behind out of fear. Let us help you get ready for an awesome road trip!

Having a fun road trip
Having a fun road trip

Prepare your Dog 

While there is nothing he would like more than to accompany you everywhere, if your dog is unused to car travel, it’s advisable to spend some time getting him used to the experience. This will also let you test for problems like motion-sickness in your pet.

Begin by taking him out on short car rides every day. Some dogs take to this immediately, while others react fearfully. If your dog seems nervous, drive slowly on an even road to get him comfortable. If he shows a tendency to jump into the front seat, this is the time to train your dog to stay where he is. Preferably, install a pet barrier to ensure his safety. Use this period to brush up on your dog’s leash training, as well as his ability to jump in and out of the car.

The prescribed mode of transporting your pet is in a reinforced, crash-tested crate. If you had visions of your dog sticking his head out of the window, his ears flopping and mouth stretched back in a grin, you may want to consider the fact that this cinematic moment can lead to some serious injuries to your dog. Uppermost on the list is injury to the eyes from debris flying off the asphalt. If you have an automatic window, you dog can also stick his head out and then accidentally press the button, which might lead to choking — even if you decide against a crate, remember to disable this function in your car before giving your dog free run of the back seat. And finally, there is always a chance that your dog might bolt out of the car. If he does this while the car is moving or in the middle of a highway, the risk of fatality is high. To avoid such a situation, train your dog to settle into his crate and ensure that it has adequate padding and is big enough for him to stand in.

Visit the vet before you go on a road trip
Visit the vet before you go on a road trip

Have your dog checked by a veterinarian before the trip. Speak to the vet about the details of your trip. Some states require specific vaccine shots before you can enter them and your vet will have the list up-to-date. Explain the duration of your planned driving times and discuss necessary medications, in case your dog suffers from motion sickness. Have all his medical records checked and travel-ready.

Prepare your car

With a dog residing 6 to 8 hours a day in the back half of your car for several days, things are likely to get messy. To keep an upper-hand on these matters, bring along cleaning products, recyclable wipes, and invest in protective covering like the MADY cargo liner to minimize the amount of work you’ll have to put into keeping the interiors clean. Hourly cleaning stops during a car trip is the surest way to ruin a relaxed holiday.

Consider installing a barrier between the front and back seat to keep your dog from jumping into the space beside you. Aside from being illegal in quite a few states, it’s a dangerous situation in the middle of a road. For your dog’s safety as well as your own, make sure that he can’t jump into the front seats.

Whether you decide to go for a crate or protective barriers, you should pad the seat or the cargo area of your car with thick, comfortable mats which can be easily cleaned or disposed of. This will make the journey more pleasant for your dog, as well as provide padding during sudden brakes.

MADY Cargo Liner with Atlas in the trunk
MADY Cargo Liner with Atlas in the trunk – keeps your cargo area clean and your dog comfy

Checklist of canine necessities

You probably have a list of things that cover your holiday apparels, documentations, and toiletries, but this list focuses on everything you need to have a safe and happy trip with your dog:

  • A first aid box containing painkillers, antipyretics, antiallergens, activated charcoal, gauge, antibacterial ointments, betadine solution, cotton, and scissors.
  • Food that suits your road schedule. If he’s used to homecooked or wet food, and you know you’ll have no time to cook or refrigerate the meals, then get him slowly used to a dry meal in the month preceding the trip. This way he won’t fall sick due to a sudden change in diet.
  • Nail clippers to protect your upholstery and keep his nails comfortably trimmed.
  • Brushes and combs to dust off dirt after every stop and before he gets back into the car.
  • Bowls that are easily washable and don’t take up too much space. You can use foldable canvas water bowls for the simplicity it provides.
  • Towels and shampoo for when your dog gets excessively dirty. Keep wet wipes handy for emergencies during car rides.
  • Pooper scoopers and poop bags are possibly the most important of all the tools you need handy.
  • A good travel harness, perhaps one that attaches to your car’s seatbelt.
  • Toys which are his favorite and can keep his attention for a while. Also, bring a lot of treats along to reward and reinforce every good behavior in the otherwise stressful first days of the trip.
  • Jackets and weather appropriate clothing for your dog. Also, carry extra collars and leashes, just in case.
  • If your dog is on regular medication, then they should be labelled and kept in their own box. If possible, keep a copy of prescribed schedule and dosage with the medicine.
  • Identification. Update the information on his tag or collar to include your own number, as well as the contact information of the people you’re visiting. If possible, have your dog microchipped for easy identification.
  • Vaccination records should be up-do-date and always easy to produce. Keep a copy available, in case you have to hand one in at some point.  
  • Medical records should have past medical history as well as vet prescribed medication detailed in them. In case of an emergency, you will need to have this information, easily accessible.
How to have a fun road trip with your dog
How to have a fun road trip with your dog

Things to remember during the trip

Most dogs suffer from some degree of car sickness. Unless it’s debilitating, this can be easily dealt with. Regular car rides before the trip will get your dog used to the motion, while attention to hisfeeding and walking schedule during the trip will take care of everything else.

Be sure to feed him several hours before you get on the road. Walk him immediately before the car ride, until he’s tired and mellow. This will ensure that his stomach has nothing to disturb it, and that he is too sleepy to get anxious about the ride. Keep the vet prescribed medication for motion sickness at hand for emergencies.

Don’t drive for more than 8 hours a day. Your dog’s health, as well as your own, may be compromised if you overstrain yourself in this way. Remember to take frequent breaks all day long. Ideally, stop and take your dog out for a short walk, every two to three hours. Give him some water and let him recover from the new experience of being cooped up in a moving vehicle for hours. This will end up being good for you too.

Remember: Pay attention to his feeding and walking schedule during the trip, feed him several hours before you get on the road and don’t drive for more than 8 hours a day.

Accommodations can be dodgy on the road, since some hotels have strict anti-pet policies, while others have restrictions on certain breeds. Call ahead and find out about reservations, fees, and rules. Always ask if they have any particular vaccination requirements. If all goes well, as you get the rooms you need, remember never to leave your dog alone in the hotel room unless you’ve walked and tired him out. You can also use the crate to give him a familiar sleeping space whenever you step out.

Careful preparation and a willingness to prioritize your dog’s needs is all that is required for a fun and safe road trip with the entire family. We hope this guide helps you create wonderful memories on the first of many holidays with your furry best friend.