Whenever I am driving with my dog in its crate expressing unhappiness with any methods his mind can conjure, I always have a bag of tricks I use to keep my dog busy in his crate and stop distracting me.
Here are the 14 methods that I personally endorse. They can be used both at home and during travels in your car. Let me share it with you.
Does your dog have a crush on any of his or her plush toys? Maybe it grew up with it since young and up till now it still hugs her toy to sleep? Maybe it would not let you wash the plush toy no matter how dirty or how smelly it is?
Well if you are blessed to have such a super companion for your dog, it will be extremely helpful to bring it on a road trip with your dog. It can be one of the channels to direct the attention of your dog to away from you while driving. It is an effective murder of boredom for dogs.
Dogs love to chew on things. I am honestly not sure of why this happens, and why they can chew on their favorite chew toy for eons.
That said, your dog’s favorite chew toy is going to be an effective gadget to entertain your dog on your car travels. When you dog sees you ignoring them when you are driving (although they don’t know that it is for their sake), and have exhausted other means to keep themselves entertained, they will almost always fall back on chewing their favorite toy. And they can do it for a long time. I swear that someday I will make an effort to understand why they like chewing so much.
I would personally recommend the Benebone Dog Chew Toy for starters if your dog do not already have a favorite. This chew toy is extremely durable to last multiple bites for long duration, except maybe for the strongest of chewers out there. It is not that tough that it will damage your dogs’ teeth. It also has an odd shape, which I think is what makes it different because it makes it hard for your dogs to conquer every corner of it, so they may develop a tendency to keep biting and nipping at the toy.
The Internet sensation, the Rubber Squawking Chicken may also be a good candidate as it will keep you dog questioning where the sound came from. But of course you must be able to resist the hilarious noise produced and stay focused on the road.
Dental chews are chew toys with grooves on its surface, like the Cutiful Dog Toothbrush Toy as shown above. The grooves acts as the brushes like those on a toothbrush and brushes the teeth of your dog when it chews on the toy. What better time to brush your dog’s teeth than…all the time! Dogs love chewing and with a dental chew toy, they can get healthy teeth out of doing something that they like, with minimal intervention from you.
The Cutiful Dog Toothbrush Toy has all the features required of being a chew toy as well, so I would definitely recommend it if a dental chew is in your bucket list, along with the many other happy customers on Amazon. It has a higher price tag than many other dental chews on Amazon with the same shape, but it has an extremely good track record for its durability and it will be money well spent to get this dental chew.
Slow Feeders Or Puzzle Feeders
You can also consider a slow feeder to feed your dogs. All dogs love food, so by using the slow feeders, you prolong their meal time by making it more difficult to pick up the food with their mouths. And it is not as if they are ever going to give up finishing every bit of the dog food, so this will keep them busy for quite some time.
I will recommend the Slow Feeder Dog Bowl from Freefa. It is collapsible and can fit into the travel bowl that comes with it. This added feature of portability is extremely ideal for traveling with your dogs. On top of that, it has a rubber bottom to prevent the bowl from moving around unnecessarily and causing spillage.
Do use them in your dog crates or when you have a dog seat cover on the seat of your car though as you do not want to any dog food to spill onto your car. While you can count on your dog to vacuum every single food bit that were scattered, they probably cannot do anything to those stuck in tight corners of the car.
However, a word of caution. This is not for smart dogs. The gif below explains that clearly.
Treats are also a good way to keep your dog busy in the car. Dogs love them and we should use this to our advantage. Get treats that take a long time to break down and require the dog to constantly chew on it.
One very good product is the Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky For Dogs. These jerky sticks are dry and pretty long. This makes them difficult for your dog to swallow quickly. Hence, it will keep them busy from biting and chewing on the treat for a long time before it can swallow it. It is made in the USA and thus you can be sure that it contains no harmful elements in it that can endanger your dog.
Get Another Pet For Companionship
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. – Mother Teresa
This is so true for humans, as well as for pets. Get another dog or other pets to accompany one another and make for a healthy companionship. This keeps them entertained and free you from distractions while you are driving.
Do note that you might need a bigger crate for this.
I have seen some dogs that are addicted to YouTube videos, especially about dogs. They are glued to the screen and will neglect the world around them. Again, use it to your advantage!
I personally do not have a dog that is a couch potato, but if I do, I will probably get an ipad and play some dog videos when I am driving. This can very easily last the whole duration of the car ride!
According to a report from bbc news, among all the music genres out there, classical music are the best themes to keep your dog calm effectively. If you are a fan of classical music, you can share it with your dog and insure yourself of a smooth drive.
Karaoke In Car
Some dogs react well to music and love to sing along with them. If the planets are aligned where you and your dog both love singing aloud, this method is definitely for you. You get to enjoy the car ride as much as your dog, without much distraction.
Favourite Food In Ice
Does your dog have a favorite food? If so, put it in ice! Make it difficult for your dog to get to its objective. It will have to lick through the ice to melt it before it can get its mouth on it. This method will also hydrate your dog.
I frequently use this method to prepare my dog for a hiking trip where they need to be properly hydrated. It keeps them excitement in check by keeping them busy during the car ride as well.
Peanut Butter Hunt
Another similar method is to put peanut butter or anything that is semi solid into a dog toy with a cavity in it, like the KONG ClassicDog Toy. The dogs will love the peanut butter so much that they will do its best to lick every bit of the peanut butter. And because you have placed the peanut butter deep inside the toy, it will not be easy for your dog to get all of it. And this can easily become a task that can last for hours. Perfect for a car ride!
However, do not that you should not fill the peanut butter up the cavity. Just add enough such that it will smear the side of the walls in the cavity of the toy and not overflow. Otherwise, it might dirty your car and that is not desirable.
Play With The Passenger
If you are with someone else in the car, your passenger can entertain your dog while you concentrate on driving. With the dog focusing its attention on your passenger, it will not distract you, thus ensuring a safe ride.
Watch The Scenery
Letting your dog watch the scenery is also another way to keep your dog busy. Dogs tend to be curious about new things, so if it is a new scenery they never seen before in a different season of the year, they will be distracted by it.
Some of them like to stick their heads out and feel the wind in their face. That is another good way to entertain your dog in a car ride.
However, if your dogs are small, you may want to get a booster seat instead of a crate to keep your dog at an elevated position so that it can see the world above through the window. Get the FANCYDELI Puppy Car Seat with adjustable strap to control the elevation of the seat. It is very comfortable and comes with sturdy supports to prevent accidents. You will also be glad to know that it comes with a 2 year warranty to ensure money well spent.
The last method that I probably only recommend under emergency or as a last resort is the use of sedatives. Use medication to induce sleep in your dog and keep it busy dreaming, in a way.
The most convenient sedative that you can get your hands on is benadryl. The ValuMeds Benadryl can be bought easily off Amazon and it is highly affordable. You save more if you subscribe to it. It can be used for both humans and dogs, as some customers have tried before.
All in all, these methods are merely a part of a non-exhaustive list of ideas that you can try out to keep your dog busy in a crate on your car travels. You can rotate and use them to make sure you are left alone to your driving with your full attention.