Everybody loves taking their best friend on a road trip once in a while, but did you know that there are safety concerns to be aware of when traveling with dogs? If not, have no fear; we will get you up to speed for your road trip. Below are five tips you can follow to ensure you and your pup safely enjoy your next adventure.
1. Prepare Your Dog. It’s never a good idea to simply toss your dog in the back seat of the car and take him on a long trip the first time he’s been in a car. Prepare your dog by taking him on short rides months in advance, and gradually working your way up to longer rides over time. If he seems to get sick or suffer from anxiety while riding in the car, you can take him to the vet to discuss possible options for medication. And while you’re at the vet, you can get your dog up to date on all his vaccinations before you head out of town. Two birds with one bone!
2. Put Together a Doggy Bag. Before traveling with your dog, prepare a bag or travel kit for your dog that includes health records, names and important phone numbers, first aid items, and plenty of water. If your vet concluded that you should give your dog medicine while traveling, be sure to include that as well. And don’t forget to bring garbage bags to collect his poop when you stop for a break. Also, bring treats, a leash, travel bowl, and a favorite toy, dog bed, or pillow that he can use for comfort.
3. Use Safe Car Practices. You may have seen others do it, and it may look like fun for your dog, but you should never let him stick his head out the window. Doing so could result in your dog getting hit by something flying by or by your dog getting inner-eat damage because of the wind and cool air. Keep the windows up and air conditioner on if you need cool air. Give your dog a treat or chew toy to keep him entertained in the car. Be sure to make plenty of stops along the way so that you can your dog can stretch your legs and settle down for a few minutes before heading back out on the road. Another safe car practice is to never let your dog sit in the driver’s seat with you. This can cause a car accident, potentially injuring both you and your dog.
4. Feed Him According to His Regular Schedule. Whether you choose to stop and eat along the way or pack your meals, you should never skip your dog’s meal. Not only could this be detrimental to his health, but it could make him less trusting of you, as well. When you stop to stretch or let your dog use the bathroom, be sure to give him something to eat.
5. Restrain Your Dog. When traveling with dogs, the best way to keep your pet safe is to restrain him. He may appear to not like the idea, but it is for his own safety. Depending on the size of your dog, he may fit in a dog carrier that you can keep in the back seat. If you do keep your dog in a carrier, be sure to put a seat belt around it so it won’t slide around when the car is in motion. Dog crates are a good option for larger dogs. Another safe way to secure your dog is with a restraint system or safety harness, which attaches to your seat belts or the ceiling. For extra comfort and to make you furry friend as comfortable as possible, consider a dog car seat that has soft and cozy lining.