Seat belts, airbags, car seats, booster seats. What do all of these things have in common?
They keep our families’ safe in our cars as we travel from one place to the next. But what about when we are traveling with our dog? What can we do to keep them safe on the road? There are a few cardinal rules to follow when considering the safety of your dog in your car.
1. When planning to travel in the car with your canine family member, you need to make sure that your dog is ready for the ride. Prepare your dogs by making sure they are comfortable in these situations, so you know exactly how they will react. In other words, spend time in the car beforehand so your dog will get used to the ride and you have time to adjust to any potential issues. Many dogs will be just fine in the car, but some suffer from anxiety or motion sickness. Bringing the dog’s favorite pillow or toy can help to comfort them as they travel.
2. We pack sandwiches, drinks, and other items of comfort and necessity to be sure we are ready to travel. Why not pack something similar for your pet? Be sure to bring water, their food, a favorite bone, a Kong, and some treats with you as you prepare for a drive. Also, we need bathroom breaks and so will our dogs. So bring the leash, waste bags and a pooper scooper for those potty breaks.
3. Many dogs will sleep in the car, but eventually they will become restless. A dog hanging his head out of the
window may seem like a cute way to entertain himself, but this actually can cause damage to your dog’s inner ear and create lung infections. You can always keep the window rolled down partially so he still gets fresh air, but don’t let him hang his head out. There have also been many accidents because dogs will sometimes see something that will trigger them to jump out the window. For entertainment, bring a chew toy and other objects to keep your traveling pet entertained. Of course, be sure to stop often and let your dog stretch his legs and sniff the surroundings. Bring a ball to toss at the rest stop so he can expend some energy!
4. The best way to keep your dog safe during a trip is to use some type of restraint system. We have a seatbelt for our safety, so give your dog the same respect. Your pet should travel in the back seat for safety in case of airbag deployment. As far as a restraining system it will depend on the size and breed of your dog. These are some safety travel tips to follow when considering what restraint system will be best for you:
- Small dogs travel better in a carrier. They shouldn’t be able to run around the vehicle and a seatbelt should secure the carrier.
- If a crate is needed for your dog, be sure it has proper cushioning and it is well secured.
- For proper restraint you can use harnesses that attach to seat belts or straps that attach to the ceiling of the car.
- Your dog should have some mobility as they travel. The dog should be able to move, lay down and turn around in the seat.