Everyone knows that dogs love to go for car rides. Your four-footed best friend is sure to hop in whenever he hears those magical words, “Want to go for a ride?” But not everyone knows how dangerous traveling with your dog riding shotgun can be. To make sure both of you enjoy the journey as much as the destination, keep these safe traveling tips in mind:
Use Proper Restraints Or Crate Your Dog
We know it’s tempting to let Fido hang his head out the side window, but it can be dangerous. Flying debris and too much wind in his eyes and throat can all cause injury. You also need to make sure he’s properly restrained in the event of an accident, so be sure you use a pet harness designed to attach to the safety belts in your car. These will give him freedom to sit, lay or stand while preventing him from hitting the windshield in an accident. It will also keep him from sticking his head out the open window.
If your dog doesn’t like to travel in a car (yes, there are dogs who prefer staying home), you might want to crate him in the back seat or cargo area of your vehicle. Just be sure you have the crate properly restrained as well.
Take Frequent Breaks
Just like humans, dogs need to periodically stretch their legs, go to the bathroom and hydrate themselves. Frequent stops will make the journey more pleasant if you take him for a short walk (on a leash, of course!) and give him the chance to fill up on some fresh water. You can occasionally give him a treat or light meal on a long trip, but keep in mind that his stomach may be a bit sensitive.
Be Aware Of The Temperature
Dogs can overheat easily, particularly if they have lots of fur or are dark in colour, so check your buddy frequently if he’s riding in the back seat. It’s better to keep it a bit cooler in the summertime, as you can always throw on a sweater, but he can’t remove his coat. In the winter, keep a blanket handy that he can curl up in when he’s tired of watching the scenery.
Bring His Stuff Along
If you’re going to be traveling for a day or more, be sure to bring his own food along as well as his dishes and a favourite toy or two. It can go a long way in making your pet more comfortable if he has some familiar items from home with him.
Plan Ahead For Overnight Stays
Every year more hotel chains are offering pet friendly accommodations, but what that means can vary. Call ahead and ask whether your dog will be able to stay in your room, what the kennel facilities are like and what size dogs are allowed so that you don’t have any unpleasant surprises. Also keep in mind that you’ll need to have a recent Certificate of Health from a veterinarian and proof of rabies vaccination for your dog.
Never Leave Your Dog Alone In The Vehicle
It’s never a good idea to leave your pet unattended in your car, even if it’s only for a few minutes. In the summer, temperatures can rise to fatal levels in just minutes even with the windows cracked. Passers-by may antagonize your dog or try to pet him, a sure recipe for disaster that could end up with your pet impounded.
Traveling with your dog can be a great adventure as long as you keep his safety and comfort in mind along the way. If you’ve been longing to hit the road and see the sights with Fido riding shotgun, the above tips will ensure it’s fun for everyone.