Wipe-able

When Daisy came to live with us we were told that she was aggressive towards small dogs, that she was incontinent and would require daily medication and that she didn’t like men… but that she travelled well. It turned out, after a bit of experience with her, that none of these things was true. We think that all her problems were associated with stress, and now she’s happy and settled, they have gone away. Except she gets sick in the car.

She’s fine for journeys of up to half an hour, but after that, showing absolutely no signs of stress – no hair loss, no drooling, no trembling – she vomits. Even if we don’t feed her for hours before the journey, she still vomits. We go prepared – spare bedding and towels, plus a big plastic bag to store the soiled stuff – but there’s quite a lot of washing to do at the end of it all.

So, this week I decided to make a waterproof bed for her travel crate – something that could be wiped easily. It will still need to be combined with a small absorbent towel, but it will significantly reduce the volume of washing. I knew that I had enough secondhand materials to achieve this – waterproof fabric for the outer and woolly pads for the inside. First, I removed the wool padding from some WoolCool insulation (more details about this in this post). It is made in relatively long narrow strips, so needed to be cut and stitched together to obtain the right size pad for inside the cushion. I stitched the pieces together with wool yarn so that if there is any felting, the yarn will bond securely to the pads. I could have deliberately felted the whole thing together, but since to bed will sit flat in the crate with relatively little disturbance, I decided that this was unnecessary. In total I stitched three layers on top of each other, with none of the joins aligned in the different layers

The outer was made from a waterproof tablecloth that I bought secondhand. I really like the design and plan to make a bag using some of it, but it’s huge, so there was plenty for a dog bed. I cut out a piece the right size, stitched it into an envelope and inserted the pad before sewing it up.

Then daisy checked it out in the crate to make sure I had done a good job:

On Wednesday, we trialled it on a journey lasting an hour and a quarter. It worked well up to a point, but there was some over-spill, if you’ll excuse the image that conjures. So, phase two has involved the construction of a barrier to enhance containment. I made a long strip of fabric, stitched the corners to give them some support and then mitred the bottom part at each corner, so that 10 cm of the fabric would lie flat under the cushion, whilst 15 cm would stand upright. A few metal pegs to hold everything in place, and we are ready for the next trial run.

If I was making it for someone else, I would use a double layer of the fabric for the upright part, so that the back wasn’t showing from the outside. However, for my own purposes, and because its not designed to be decorative, merely functional, I’m happy to leave it as it is. Hopefully, no further modifications will be required.

The only new material used in this project was sewing thread – not a bad creation from unwanted items.

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27 Comments

  1. Ann Pole

     /  November 10, 2019

    Clever. But wont she ‘absorb’ it in her fur? Just a thought.
    Interestingly, Chochi used to get quite agitated in her carry box when we had the last van, but in Whisper van she was quite settled. I’m guessing that because there is no engine, there is no vibration.
    Hope the next trial works for you (and Daisy). 🙂

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  2. We had a dog who was car-sick. The vet we had then suggested putting her in the car and sitting with her for a while a few times- long enough that she would usually be sick – umtil she was happy with rhat. Then repeating but with the engine running but not moving. Only when she was not sick with that treatment were we to try short journeys ( not long enough to be sick) gradually extending the time. It was a faff but worked quote quickly and she was never car sick again. I have done it with every puppy since and it has worked each time – quicker if they have never been sick since it is partly a learned response. I am sure the beautiful cushion would still be useful when she is muddy.

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  3. Pretty and functional. When my daughter’s dogs are in the back of my car it’s on lots of layers of cardboard and a sheet tucked in over that. When we are finished I put the cardboard in the compost and the sheet in the wash.

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  4. Years ago we had a dog like that. The vets instructions were
    Step 1 put her in the car, sit with her but don’t turn the engine on. Wait till she would have been sick. Get out. Repeat a few times.
    Step 2 as above but with the engine running. Don’t move the car.
    Step 3 start the car and go only a very short distance. Increase the distance slowly never pushing it so she is sick.

    It was a faff but worked a treat and I have done it with every puppy since. It works faster if they have never been sick.

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  5. These super models are so delicate! Ingenious solution but I’m guessing you’d still rather she was never sick at all. Good advice from Going Batty.
    Our dear departed Taz couldn’t go for longer than two minutes in the car when he was a puppy without evacuating from both ends – which was unpleasant to say the least – but he did grow out of it (though not fast enough).
    Good luck.

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  6. Poor dog , but how nice that you made her a special bed.

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  7. nice bed for the crate…never had a dog, so have no advice…but also I’d never heard of using a crate for travel purposes, other than taking an animal (usually cat) to the vet/cattery. Here in NZ – dogs either travel in the back part, on someones lap or if you have a mini truck tied up on the flat-deck part…

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  8. Daisy is one lucky dog!

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  9. We have one of those ‘hammock’ jobs for the back seat that sling over the headrests front and back, and are made of waterproof material. Mouse doesn’t seem to suffer at all when travelling, but if he did, the Husband’s truck quilt that sits on top would sop up the damage and could be flung in the washing machine afterwards. I do like your solution for Driving Miss Daisy, though…

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  10. Daisy has the sweetest face! Your solution seems inspired, to me, and I love that fabric! You should’ve saved this post for ScrapHappy day!

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  11. What a brilliant idea! I have a cat with a fifteen minute threshold but thankfully it’s very rare we have to make journeys with him now! I love how you’ve repurposed bits to make this! You clever lady xx

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