How To Travel By Car With Your Dachshund

How to Travel By Car With A Dachshund

Do you have a Dachshund puppy and want to know how to travel with them by car? Or maybe you need to take your Dachshund on a long car journey? Here’s everything you need to know about how to travel by car with your Dachshund.

How Do You Travel By Car With Your Dachshund? Travel with your Dachshund in the back seat of the car, never the front. Secure them either in a car seat, harness, or travel crate, and make sure they can sit, stand, and lay down. Don’t feed your Dachshund while driving and never leave them alone in the car.

Read on to find out about all the different options you can use to safely travel with your Dachshund, and how to properly secure them in the car.

This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.

Making sure that your Dachshund is secured properly in the car, ensures their own safety as well as yours, as they’ll be less distracting to you as a driver.

There are several options you can choose to travel by car with your Dachshund:

Booster Seat

Booster seats are a very popular option for many Dachshund owners.

Because of their short stature, your Dachshund may struggle to see out of the window, which is where a booster seat is more beneficial for them.

Not only can this help them enjoy their car ride more, but it may also help to reduce the chance of your Dachshund developing car sickness too.

In fact, raising the booster seat up so your Dachshund can see out of the window can really help with car sickness.

Using a booster seat also protects your car upholstery a bit more from doggy-related damage such as chewing or dirt.

And Dachshunds find them more comfortable to travel in, compared to a seatbelt harness by itself.

How To Choose A Booster Seat For Your Dachshund

Pick a booster seat that will allow your Dachshund to move around comfortably. They should be able to sit, stand, and lay down easily.

If your Dachshund is a nervous traveller, it might be useful to choose a booster seat which has lots of padding. This can help your Dachshund feel more secure and safer on the journey.

You can also lower the booster seat below the window to block out the view of any cars and bikes passing by. This can often make them feel less anxious.

How To Fit A Booster Seat In Your Car 

Your Dachshund’s booster seat should always be secured completely to the car seat to stop it from falling off whilst you’re driving.

Most booster seats have built in straps with clips on that make this process simple to do.

They either fit onto the back of the seat with straps that wrap around, or into the seat belt holes on the car seats themselves.

Your Dachshund must also wear a harness when he’s in the car seat, and the seat should have straps that you can attach the harness to.

Securing your Dachshund to the booster seat will stop them being able to climb out and injure themselves while you’re driving. 

How To Get Your Dachshund Used To A Booster Seat

To get your Dachshund used to the booster seat, it’s best to introduce it inside your home where they feel most comfortable.

So try attaching your Dachshund to his harness and the booster seat so they become more familiar with the restraining feeling.

Line the car seat with familiar blankets that your Dachshund likes to snuggle down in.

Then start with small journeys in the car and build up. If you drive too far, your Dachshund may experience distress or car sickness.  

Dachshund travelling by car in a booster seat with a speech bubble that says "I love being in the car"
Dachshund travelling by car in a booster seat

Travel Crate

Travel crates are another great option when travelling with your Dachshund.

They’re basically specific crates made especially for use in the car which have been crash tested for safety.

These provide the safest method of transport for your Dachshund in the unfortunate event of an accident.

How To Choose A Travel Crate For Your Dachshund

Travel crates are available as traditional wire crates, or fabric ones.

Your Dachshund should be able to easily sit, stand, lay down and turn around in the crate.

A small crate should be sufficient for your Dachshund’s short stature. The crate should also provide good ventilation and be specific for car use.

If space inside your car is limited, you may want to get a foldable crate which can easily be collapsed down when your Dachshund isn’t travelling with you.

Just make sure you can properly lock the crate so your Dachshund can’t jump out while you’re driving.

How To Secure A Travel Crate In Your Car

Whichever travel crate you opt for, make sure it is strapped securely into place so it doesn’t move if you have to brake suddenly or take a corner quickly.

The crate should be placed on the back seat of the car or in the boot if you have a hatchback.

It’s possible that a smaller crate might fit on the floor in the back of the car for short journeys.

However, if you decide to put the crate on the floor, place a rug underneath it so it doesn’t slip around when the car is moving.

An unstable crate will be uncomfortable for your Dachshund and unsafe for you as the driver.

If you decide to put the crate on the back seat, you can secure it properly using the seat belt.

To do this, you should loop the seat belt through the straps on top of the travel crate and click the seat belt into place, making sure it’s tight.

How To Get Your Dachshund Used To A Travel Crate

Be sure that your Dachshund is used to being in a crate before expecting them to travel in one.

This process can be started off at home, to make completely sure that your Dachshund feels safe and secure whilst they’re in there.

If your Dachshund is stressed and not used to being in a crate, they may get anxious and try to get out. This could injure them or distract you when you’re driving. 

A travel crate might feel more natural for your Dachshund if they’re already crate trained. So, doing some responsible crate training before you go out in the car will make them feel much calmer.

Put some soft blankets or a small dog bed inside the crate to help your Dachshund feel more at home. If they’re a nervous traveller, choose blankets or a bed that they’re already familiar with.

It might also be useful to put a lightweight cover over the crate if your Dachshund gets overexcited by all of the different sights and sounds outside. Just make sure they have plenty of ventilation inside.

Dachshund travelling by car with a speech bubble that says "I love being in the car"
Dachshund that loves travelling by car

Seatbelt Harness

If your Dachshund prefers to be able to see you, they can travel on the back seat secured by a seatbelt harness.

Seatbelt harnesses most commonly have a piece built into them which contains a universal seat belt plug, which is then fastened into the plug.

You can also get a separate short lead which simply clips to your Dachshund’s own harness and again gets fastened into the plug.

Either option is fine, whichever your Dachshund is most comfortable with and is easiest for you.

However, it’s important to remember that your Dachshund must only travel in the back seat of the car, not the front.

If they were in the front seat and the airbag went off, it could cause them serious injury. 

How To Choose A Seatbelt Harness For Your Dachshund

A seatbelt harness should sit securely around your Dachshund’s chest and neck.

The harness shouldn’t be too loose or too tight and must not chafe on your Dachshund’s skin. You should be able to put two fingers comfortably between their body and the straps.

Choose a seatbelt harness which has been securely tested for car crash impact.

Thicker harnesses with padding and wider straps will be safer and more comfortable for your Dachshund to travel in.

How To Secure A Seatbelt Harness In Your Car

A seatbelt harness is easy to attach to the back car seat, and will keep your Dachshund safely restrained during the journey. It should just loop into the straps of your car’s seat belt.

Just ensure the harness strap length is long enough for your Dachshund to be able to sit, stand, turn around and lay down.

But make sure the length of the straps isn’t so long that they could jump off the back seat and hurt themselves or distract you.

How To Get Your Dachshund Used To A Seatbelt Harness

Get your Dachshund used to the seatbelt harness over time by first introducing it at home. Then let them wear it in the car for short journeys.

You can slowly increase the car journey length over time. 

Dog Guard

Dog guards fit behind your rear headrests to contain your Dachshund in the rear of a car, like an estate, station wagon, hatchback or SUV.

The dog guard is a mesh screen divider that must be integrated into the passenger department so you can see through it and it has airflow. It is not an enclosed area that your Dachshund is locked inside.

Dachshunds must NEVER travel in the boot of a saloon or sedan type car where they are shut inside with no airflow or they could easily suffocate.

A dog guard will stop them from being able to jump or climb over from the rear of the car into the main part of the car, which can be distracting for the driver.

However, it’s not advisable to leave your Dachshund loose in the rear of the car, even if they’re behind a dog guard.

Due to their small size, they’re more at risk of injuring themselves if you have to brake suddenly or go around corners quickly.

Even with a dog guard, your Dachshund should still be secured to the car to stop any accidents from occurring.

This is best being done by using a travel crate within the rear of the car.

Alternatively, you could attach a sturdy lead to their harness and secure it to an anchor point within the boot.

Your Dachshund should never be secured using their collar, as this could cause damage to their delicate neck and back

Can My Dachshund Jump In And Out Of The Car?

No, it’s not advisable to allow your Dachshund to jump in and out of your car because they’re prone to spinal injuries.

Instead, it’s better to carefully lift them in and out of the car, or use a sturdy dog ramp to enter and exit the vehicle.

Dachshund travelling by car with a speech bubble that says "I love being in the car"
Dachshund travelling by car

Can My Dachshund Sit On My Knee In The Car?

Whilst many Dachshunds love nothing more than snuggling up on their favourite person’s knee, this isn’t a good idea whilst you’re travelling (and is against the law in the UK!).

Not only are they likely to distract you as a driver, but you would also be putting your Dachshund at risk of serious injury in the event of a crash.

By leaving them unsecured on your knee, they’re much more likely to be propelled forwards into the dashboard or windscreen in an accident.

In the same way that humans should always wear a seatbelt when travelling in a car, your Dachshund should always be properly secured too. 

Can My Dachshund Go On Long Car Journeys?

Yes, Dachshunds can go on long car journeys provided they’re happy travelling and don’t suffer with car sickness.

Be sure to make regular stops in safe locations to allow your Dachshund to go potty, get a drink, and stretch their legs. 

What Else Do I Need To Consider When Travelling With My Dachshund?

Whichever method you decide on to secure your Dachshund when travelling in the car, you need to make sure they’re introduced to it carefully and considerately.

You could have the very best crash tested crate money can buy, but if your Dachshund is scared of it, then that’s no fun for them at all.

With the correct training, it’s possible to get your Dachshund used to any of the travel options available, so try and find the one that suits them best.

Your Dachshund should be able to freely stand up, sit down and lay down comfortably, regardless of the restraint option you choose.

They should never be forced to remain in a certain position for long periods of time. Not only is this unnatural for them, it’s stressful too.

Finally, ventilation should also be considered. It’s vital that the car is not allowed to get too hot with your Dachshund inside as this is extremely dangerous to their health.

Sadly, being left in a hot car can kill your Dachshund in a matter of minutes. Even if the windows are left open and you’re parked in the shade, the inside temperature of the car can raise rapidly.

This can cause heatstroke which can be fatal for your Dachshund if they don’t receive medical treatment fast enough. 

What Do I Need To Take On a Car Journey With My Dachshund?

A supply of fresh drinking water is beneficial for longer journeys, as you may not have access to water at your stop points.

You may also wish to keep a small doggy first aid kit in the car for your Dachshund in case of any minor injuries.

Alongside this, a towel and cleaning supplies may also be handy in case your Dachshund gets car sick.

If you’re injured in a car accident, it’s useful to have your Dachshund’s details ready for the emergency services to use. Details of their vets, any health concerns and their insurance plan if you have one, are useful to include.

If possible, include a contact number of someone who would be able to care for your Dachshund in the event of an emergency. 

But, for the most part, they just need you there beside them.

Never leave your Dachshund alone in the car unattended. Not only do you need to think about the temperature outside, but you also need to protect them from dog theft too!

How Do I Keep My Dachshund Safe When Travelling By Car?

When it comes to choosing a travel method for your Dachshund, the most important thing is safety. The equipment you choose must be durable and easy to secure inside your car. 

Make sure that whatever method you choose, you secure your Dachshund in the back seat. The airbags in the front seat could be extremely dangerous for them.

It’s also good to choose a method that makes your Dachshund happy. They’re less likely to distract you in the car, if they feel comfortable or happy to sleep. 

Click here to find out how to stop car sickness in Dachshunds

So, that’s the long and the short of it! Once you’ve chosen your method of travel, make sure you start off with short journeys and increase the length over time. This is so your Dachshund gets used to travelling and doesn’t get car sickness! Be sure not to let your Dachshund jump in and out of the car. This is too high and may be damaging for your Dachshund’s back. Have a safe journey!

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'How to travel by car with your Dachshund' heading with a Dachshund travelling by car in a booster seat with a speech bubble that says "I love to travel by car"
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