I am sure a lot of you would
have watched a crazy television commercial which shows dogs driving a car. It
may look and sound ludicrous. You bet, it’s ludicrous, juvenile and plain
baboonery. Dogs do not drive. Dogs simply love a car ride or they simply refuse
to get into a car.
Motown India experimented
with two fully grown male dogs. One was a Golden Retriever who loves car rides
and one a Labrador, who simply hates a car ride. This is the story of Hugo, the
Golden Retriever and Maximus, the Labrador.
So why do dogs love or hate a
car ride? Well, we simply cannot fathom that. You can ask the dogs! But travelling with your beloved pet in a car
needs to be done with utmost care, or else you can end up killing or maiming
your pet. You must be wondering why pets need to be carefully transported in a car,
when more than half of the Indian population drives around in cars throwing all
caution to the winds. No seat belts, children seated in mothers’ laps in the
front seats, no child seats, child seated on his father’s lap while dad has one
hand on the steering wheel and one around his child....all these are scenes
that are witnessed over and over again on a daily basis on Indian roads.
We are tired of lecturing
them. So why not give a bit of advice on how to deal with your pets while
driving. Pets need to be restrained while being driven around in a car. "Whenever
you plan a long drive, always keep a few things in mind. Your pet should be
properly restrained and that too at the rear seat. Fronts seats are not for
children and pets. Restraining is very important for two reasons. One, if your
pet is roaming free in your car, that will lead to distracted driving. Two, in
case of any accident or crash, it could be dangerous to your pet,” advices Dr
Anuj Synghal, veterinary doctor in the capital who specialises in pet care and
Dr Synghal goes to the extent
of advising that one must always transport one’s pets in a crate or a carrier
that is properly ventilated so that the pet can comfortably stand and sit in
it. This carrier or crate should be
further buckled up to the rear seats by seat belts or by any other means. In India this seems too far-fetched.
“The second best option is to
restrain your dog in the rear seat with a seat belt. Or a person can sit in the
rear seat and hold the pet by the leash or collar. Restraining is very
important in the case of cats and puppies. They really do not like being in the
car. Sometimes what happens is they try to hide under the control panels. This
could lead to an accident,” he says.
So while Hugo was all smart
and energetic when it came to a ride in a car, Maximus refused to budge the
moment the word “car” was mentioned to him. You find this trait among humans
too. Some enjoy car rides, while others abhor it. Hugo, the moment he heard the
engine of the Mahindra Scorpio come to life, he was tugging at his leash to get
inside the vehicle. The scene was quite opposite with Maximus. He merely sat on
the ground and refused to move at the sight of a car.
“If a dog is not car friendly,
then it is important that the owner of the pet makes it car friendly. You have
to devote a bit of time to make the pet car friendly. For a few days you have
to sit with your pet in the rear seat of your car with some snacks or toys.
Without driving around, you need to spend around 20 to 30 minutes in the
stationery car. Once the pet is used to the car, then you need to take the pet
for a short drive, maybe for five minutes initially and then one can increase
the time. Slowly and steadily, the pet will get used to the car. Once the pet gets
used to the car, you can go for a longer drive,” says Dr Synghal.
And in case your pet has motion
sickness, there is a solution there too. “Motion sickness is very common among
dogs, particularly puppies. In puppies, the equilibrium system which is in
their ears is not fully developed. But as they grow, this system develops and
the motion sickness reduces. Also, never take a pet for a drive on a full
stomach or on an empty stomach. It is best to feed the dog three to four hours
before the drive. But there are medications available in the market that
reduces the motion sickness among the pets. They help in sedating the dogs as
well as help in reducing the nausea and vomiting during car rides,” the vet
Thankfully, neither Hugo nor
Maximus knows how to drive. As for the dumb TV commercial, it sucks big time!
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