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What’s better than having a dog as your co-pilot? A long drive with your best friend can be a fun, scenic bonding experience, so long as you’re prepared.
Here’s what you need to know for safe, dog-friendly drive.
Buckle Up for Safety
Restraining your dog in the car serves several important safety purposes:
- It prevents them from distracting you
- It keeps your dog safely restrained in sudden stops
- It protects your dog and other passengers in a crash
Just as you buckle your own seat belt every time you take a drive, get in the habit of buckling your dog’s. The Safetypod Clickit safety harness, pictured above, is the highest-rated dog auto restraint on the market. For more on how to select and use dog seatbelts, click here.
Install a Barrier
Seat belts are ideal, but a barrier is another great way to restrain your dog in the car. They keep dogs from standing on the center console and distracting you, and protect them from launching forward during quick stops.
Use a Collapsible Crate
For smaller dogs, a crate secured to the backseat doubles as a great restraint system. But for any size dog, a collapsible travel crate can make road trips easier on everyone. Use it as an in-car restraint system; set it up as a deluxe doggy suite in your destination motel room or campsite; and use it to restrain your dog safe in case of emergency.
Stay Hydrated (Both of You!)
Long hours on the road can lead to dehydration for humans and dogs, so remember to keep a water bottle handy for you and your pup. The Highwave AutoDogMug, pictured above, fits right in the car cupholder. Dispense water with a squeeze to keep your dog well-hydrated on the road. Of course, more water means more potty stops…but you weren’t in a hurry, were you?
Take Frequent Breaks
On your spring break road trip, stop every two hours to take in the scenery and let your dog lift a leg. You can find grassy patches at any strip mall, but we recommend seeking out rest areas with pet zones.
Once your dog takes care of business, linger outside for a game of tug, or do a short obedience training session, to help your dog burn off some backseat energy. (For roadside safety’s sake, remember to keep them on-leash at all times.)
Prepping a dog kit for the road will ensure a happy hound by the time you reach your destination. A basic doggy road trip packing list should include:
- Enough dog food for the journey, plus extra to cover unexpected delays
- At least one gallon jug of fresh water (can be refilled at rest areas)
- Portable food and water bowls
- Pet first aid kit
- File containing vaccination records, vet contact info, and a photograph of your pet
- A favorite toy to keep them busy on the road
For extra credit, pack it all up in their own suitcase.
Deodorize the Drive
Dog farts can be bad. Dog farts in an enclosed car on the highway? Brutal.
Keep pet odors from infiltrating your vehicle with a pet-safe, all-natural odor-absorber. This bamboo charcoal freshener acts as a stink sponge, absorbing odors and locking them in. It won’t prevent the occasional stink bomb from your dog, but it will keep the stink from sticking to the upholstery.
Watch the Thermometer
Sometimes when you’re on the road, you have to go to the bathroom or run into the store, and you can’t take your dog with you. But before you leave them in the car, check the temperature. According to the ASPCA, when it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 100 degrees. Even with the windows cracked, a hot car can be tragic for your dog. If it’s cool enough outside, a quick run inside is probably okay (five minutes or less). But whenever possible, take your dog out of the car with you.
With a little preparation and some smart purchases, you’re all set for a fun, fabulous spring break road trip with your dog.