Guest Post by Morgan Antoinette
Sometimes – whether you are going to the vet or just traveling – you may need to take your dog with you in your car. And that’s the right thing to do: when going out of state, you shouldn’t leave your dog alone in the house. He will feel secure with you and will also have plenty of new experiences.
However, you would need to make sure to keep your dog safe in the vehicle. That isn’t a very easy task since your pup may not realize the dangers of misbehaving. Thankfully, there are a couple of things you could do to ensure a safe ride.
Ensure that your dog has a microchip and that his collar is up to date and has your home address or any other relevant contact information. This is a thing that you should do anyway, but it would certainly come in handy in case you lose your dog on the trip. In an unfamiliar area, your pup could get lost easily, so you better take the necessary precautions.
Make a Few Practice Trips
Probably only a few dogs wouldn’t feel anxious when leaving home for a longer trip. If your dog doesn’t feel secure during the trip, then it is going to be a long one for everyone.
Before taking your dog to the actual trip, it is a good idea to do a couple of practice runs beforehand. By the time you’re about to leave your home, your dog would already be used to being away from home and in a moving vehicle.
Aside from that, don’t restrict your pup’s vehicle trips by just visits to the vet. Try to take your dog everywhere with you when possible. This is a more natural way of making your dog used to vehicle trips in case you don’t have spare time to make dedicated practice trips.
Don’t Allow Your Dog to Sit on Your Lap while You Drive
If your pup sits on your lap, he will endanger not only himself but also you and everyone in the vehicle. A brief collar adjustment or petting is distracting and can cause disastrous consequences. And if you have an accident, your pup may be crushed by your airbag.
Don’t Allow Your Pup to Stick His Head out of the Vehicle
Dogs are curious, and they love to stick their head out of the window in a moving vehicle. You should definitely disallow this. First of all, debris and flying objects could injure your dog. Secondly, in case of an accident, it would be better for the dog to be inside the vehicle to stay safe and avoid being ejected out.
Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car Unattended
Never leave your dog in a parked car, be it winter or summer. In summer, the interior of the vehicle will heat up very quickly even with the windows open, which could cause a heat stroke. And in winter, the interior of the parked car will get cold.
Instead, take the opportunity to allow your dog to enjoy some movement and fresh air along with you.
Take Breaks during Long Trips
During long trips, you should do a couple of long breaks. Don’t just rely on gas stations or bathrooms stops to stretch your legs and move around. Both your family and the dog will certainly enjoy those pauses.
Feed the Dog before the Trip
Make sure that your pup is well-hydrated, full, and comfortable throughout the trip. However, you should avoid feeding your dog immediately before and during the trip to avoid sickness. In general, it is recommended to feed your dog a lighter meal 3 -4 hours before the trip.
When it comes to water, you should carry bottled water with you. The tummy of your pup may get upset from water in another area, so keep on you the water that he is used to.
Dogs react to road trips differently though, so you could tweak the feeding routine of your pup yourself.
Secure Your Dog in the Vehicle
A dog that isn’t kept secure in the vehicle is a danger both to you and the dog itself. Some dogs may jump out from open windows unexpectedly, while others could be projected out during accidents.
In case you aren’t going to keep your dog in a crate – or if your dog is too large for a crate –then you should have a couple of essential items on you during the trip, such as a dog harness that can be fastened to a seat belt. A good idea would also be to engage the child safety lock on the back doors to prevent your dog from opening the door while on the move.
Transport Your Dog in a Pet Crate
If you and your dog don’t mind crates, then transporting your pup in one is possibly the most secure way to go about long trips. Moreover, if your dog sticks his head out of the window and does other naughty things no matter what you do, then a pet crate is pretty much the only option you’ve got.
Moreover, if you will be transporting your dog in a truck or ute, then you just have to put your dog in a crate to keep him safe.
You should also make sure that the crate:
- Has the right size to prevent cramping.
- Is well-covered and protects from the sun, rain, and wind.
Take extra precautions when transporting the dog in a utility vehicle.
If you are putting the crate in a utility vehicle, then make sure that:
- The crate is placed behind the cabin for minimum exposure to dust and wind.
- The crate is securely tethered to the cabin.
- Your tools and equipment are either secured or completely removed from the vehicle.
Besides, you should take some extra measures in dusty or hot conditions:
- If the surface of the truck or ute is made from metal, make sure to cover it with something. Metal can heat up quickly and injure your pup.
- Have extra cover on hand for very dusty conditions.
- Lastly, have water on you to keep your dog well-hydrated throughout the whole journey.