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Getting ready to hit the road with your dog? It’s not always easy to keep dogs safe in the car, even though they’re great company for cruising.
Whether you’re just going for a short drive or taking a longer road trip, taking basic precautions helps make you and your dog safer.
1. Buckle Up: Seat Belts for Dogs
Just like their pet parents, dogs should buckle up on the road! The safest way to transport your pups is to secure them with their very own seat belts or dog car harnesses. Not only does a seatbelt confine your furry friend, but it keeps them safe in the event of an accident—which could severely injure or kill an unrestrained dog.
2. Crates: A Home for the Road
If your dog is overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of a car ride, or you just want to build them a cozy mobile den, nothing beats a travel crate.
When crated in the car, your dog can snuggle up safely and ride in comfort. If your dog barks at other dogs or triggers out the window, you can cover the crate up with a blanket to encourage calm and quiet. Your dog will be happy in their familiar place and will adjust to new surroundings faster.
3. Barriers: Keeping Your Dog out of Your Lap
Dogs love riding shotgun. But if you’ve got an excited or anxious pup who wants to climb over onto you, a barrier will help. Let’s face it: puppy kisses can be just a little distracting while you’re driving—for both of you.
Depending on the type of car you have, your dog can be secured in the back of your car by a special fence, for example. There are several types of barriers that can be installed into the backs of SUVS, hatchbacks, and vans.
Make sure to order one that fits your car specifically. And when installing, check to ensure your dog can’t slip through a gap and visit you in the front seat.
4. On the Road Again: Take Breaks
On a long road trip, your dog needs car snacks, water, and potty breaks, just like you do. Make water readily available to your pup to avoid dehydration. Meals, treats, and chew toys are great distractions for a busy dog in the car, so long as your pet isn’t prone to car sickness.
For pups who can handle nomming on the road, a classic KONG stuffed with treats or peanut butter can be a great distraction while driving. Peanut butter can get messy, of course…
No matter what, ensure that you’re stopping every couple of hours so your pet can use the bathroom.
5. Hot Dog: Check the Temperature in the Car
If you have to leave your dog in the car, be sure to first assess the temperature. What feels like a mild day outside won’t feel so mild inside the car. Surprisingly, the temperature inside the car on a 75-degree day can easily reach 100 degrees! Pets can die inside hot cars, even if the windows are cracked.
What’s more, in some places, leaving your dog in the car is illegal. When in doubt and whenever you can, keep your pup with you.
Sharing adventures with your best friend is one of the greatest parts of having a dog. By keeping your dog contained, happy and well cared for on the road, you can count on plenty more epic car trips in the future.
What to Pack
This video gives you tips on how to prepare before you hit the road with your doggo.
What about Dog Car Anxiety and Dog Car Sickness?
If your dog is anxious about car rides, check out these tips from seasoned trainer Shoshi Parks of Modern Hound in San Francisco. She lays out a step-by-step approach to helping your car-phobic dog get comfortable with car rides.
For dogs who suffer from motion sickness, a car ride can be a miserable experience. Fortunately, both over-the-counter and prescription remedies exist to help carsick pets. Read more in this guide.
- Our 6 Favorite Road Trips to Take with Dogs
- How to Stay in a Hotel with Your Dog
- The Most Dog-Friendly Stores Across America
- Traveling with Pets: Hotel and Airline Pet Policies
Featured image via Flickr / John M