There are 3 main issues of concern when taking a long car drive with a Maltese.
This is far too overlooked by owners. While it may seem easier to have your puppy or dog on your lap or sitting right beside you, if a Maltese is not in a proper canine car seat, this can have dire consequences.
Some things to keep in mind:
Frequency of accidents:
While no one believes that it will happen to them, accidents happen at an alarming rate. Just in the United States, there are over 16,000 vehicle accidents per day. This is an accident about every 5.4 seconds.
What happens to unrestrained dogs: The problem is that this is a tiny toy breed; So any sort of impact, even in a slow-moving accident, can cause very serious injury and even death.
While there are many factors that come into play, a widely used calculation of accident outcomes is the general 'crash force' of anyone or anything that is not properly secured. And this is derived by multiplying weight times speed.
Therefore, in a crash with a car going just 35 mph, a 5 lb.unrestrained Maltese would be thrown with the force of a 175 lb. object. If the car were going 65 mph, this would increase to the dog being thrown as if he were a 325 lb. object.
52% have pet their dog while driving
23% have used a hand or arm to hold a dog in place
19% have reached into the back seat to hold or handle their dog
17% allowed their dog to sit on their lap
13% gave out treats to their dog while driving
If you're wondering if just a moment of distracted driving is unsafe, the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety concluded that just 2 seconds of looking away from the road doubles the chances of an accident.
This may be connected to motion sickness (next point), however some dogs have a fear of cars and/or find the experience to be uncomfortable to the point of resisting being placed in the car and/or displaying irritated behavior including excessive, repetitive barking
3) Car sickness.
This is one of the most common issues seen when traveling with a Maltese and happens to both puppies and older dogs alike. This is due to the inner ear sensing movement, but the eyes not fully sending the correct signal to the brain (from the dog's perspective, the car is not necessarily moving since the interior is not moving).
Dogs may experience dizziness, nausea, and may have episodes of vomiting.
There are several things that you can do to make traveling by car much less stressful and even enjoyable for both you and your Maltese:
1) Place your Maltese in a properly sized canine car seat. The right type of car seat for Maltese puppies and dogs is a booster seat sized for toy and small breeds.
There are many benefits to this:
- It allows a Maltese to be up high where he can have line-of-sight out of the front window; this is a huge factor in helping reduce motion sickness.
- It offers a stable seating method that stops a dog from swaying when the car turns and brakes; this is good for both a dislike of the car and for nausea.
- It keeps a Maltese closer to a cracked window; if a Maltese is down low on a seat the window will need to be opened quite a bit to allow enough fresh air to reach him, but that causes the problem of too much rushing wind.
So, in a booster seat, a puppy or dog will be able to feel a light wind with the window down just an inch or two.
- It keeps a Maltese safe, and will greatly reduce the chances of bodily injury.
2) Take frequent breaks. If you will be driving your Maltese for a long car ride (over an hour), it is recommended to take a break every 20 minutes. This should be done even if the puppy or dog seems fine. This is because you want to offer a break before an issue develops; all dog's have their breaking point.
Be sure to park somewhere safe and keep your Maltese on his leash. Allow him time to go to the bathroom, have a drink, be given a small treat, and to stretch his legs.
3) To help combat nausea, there are some natural remedies:
- A light, dry snack - Some dogs do better just by being given a light dry dog treat 15 minutes before being placed in the car.
- Sugar - While you do not want to give a lot of sugar to any dog, a small bit can work to keep the tummy calm. A small jelly bean is just about the right size. (Note:
never give any sort of candy that has chocolate OR sugar substitute; both of these are highly toxic to canines)
- Calming supplements - There are some canine calming supplements, meant to help with motion sickness and other such things like fireworks. Some of these can cause drowsiness; we recommend the type that does not, as it is hard to predict how sleep-aids will affect a dog.
If you do offer a calming supplement for car rides, look for a non-drowsy formula that is made in the USA and uses chamomile and L-theanine.
are recommended safe, properly sized car seats and a great calming supplement (non-drowsy). Please note
: No matter what a car seat shows, the internal buckle snap should be connected to a dog's harness, NOT a collar.
If it is connected to the collar, this can cause neck injury. If your Maltese does not have a harness, consider the Lil Pals Mesh Comfort Harness for Puppies and Toy Breeds - Petite
; this is sized very small to fit most Maltese puppies and dogs.
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