By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
With the price of gasoline falling, more Americans are taking road trips and are bringing their dogs with them. While we are on the road, we want to keep our four-legged family members safe.
Dogs should never ride on your lap or next to you in the passenger seat. If you were to stop short, your dog can act as a projectile and go through your car’s front window. If there is an accident and your dog isn’t restrained, he could panic, get out of the car, and get lost. Accidents are not for the faint of heart. So, follow these tips to keep you and your dog safe:
Pets should be in the back of your vehicle and you should put up a dog barrier for your SUV. Your dog should also be in a dog car seat or in a roomy crate that is secured in the back of your car. You don’t want your dog moving from side-to-side in or out of a crate.
If your dog is not used to riding in a car, plan ahead. He might associate car rides with going to the veterinarian. Take him for short rides to the dog park before you go on vacation together; this will get him accustomed to riding in the car and it will make it an overall pleasurable experience.
When traveling with a dog, always add in extra time. If you think it will take you four hours to reach your destination, add an additional hour to the trip. Take breaks every three to four hours. A short walk or a run for both you and your dog will break up the trip and make it more enjoyable. Make sure that you and your dog drink plenty of water during these stops.
What Should You Bring for the Car Ride?
- A collar with current information on your dog
- A list of rest stops, veterinary hospitals, your dog’s medical records, and any medications
- A bowl and plenty of water
- Treats, his favorite toy, blanket, and dog bed
- Trash bags to pick up waste
- A first aid kit
- Plenty of dog food
Make sure your car is well ventilated and cool, and never leave your dog unattended in a parked car. On hot days, even in the shade, cars are like ovens; they heat up, and the results can be life-threatening. Temperatures inside cars can reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, causing heat stroke, brain damage, and even death. You don’t want your dog locked inside your car on cold days either. Temperatures can plummet and dogs can freeze.
If you do take your dog on the road with you, you have numerous hotel options. Many places welcome well-behaved dogs.
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