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Keep Your Dog Safe during Car Travels

September 16, 2019 7 min read

Dogs and Car Safety

Road trips can be amongst the most enjoyable and memorable family vacations. It is an opportunity to see places you haven't seen before, to bond with your loved ones, and experience the thrill of not adhering to a timetable. The greatest thing about road trips is the opportunity to bring only your furry family members also. While this can be an exhilarating time for the family unit, it can also be a perilous adventure if the correct safety measures are not being adhered to. When travelling with your dog in a car for a family vacation, or for any other reason, you must ensure the comfort and safety of your dog in order to be sure it is a enjoyable experience for the entire family.

KEEP YOUR DOG IN THE BACK SEAT

The biggest safety tip for travelling with dogs is to keep them out of the front seat. The back seat is the best place for the dog, if he is not going to be resigned to a travel crate. First of all, if a dog is in the front passenger seat, there is the potential that he or she will jump into the lap of the driver. This is a feasibility even if the dog is restrained, as the restraint still allows some movement. A dog on the lap of a driver is extremely unsafe for both the driver as well as the dog. A distracted driver is never a safe driver, and a dog in the lap can be a definite distraction.

Even if the dog does not jump into the driver's lap, he or she is still in danger if riding in the front of the vehicle. If there is a collision, the dog is at greater risk in being flung against the windshield or passenger side window. This can cause serious injuries as a dog does not have the same alertness as an adult human when riding in the passenger seat. In addition, the if the air bag deploys, a pet can sustain extremely serious injuries and in many cases can be killed by the impact. To ensure best safety practice, keep all dogs, no matter what their size, in the back seat of the vehicle.


PRACTICE SOME RESTRAINT

Dog car safety is all about restraining your dog. Proper restraint is the most important thing you can do to protect your dog, as well as your family, during an car trip. While this may sound cruel to some, it is essential and should be thought of as a sort of "seat belt" for your pet. Restraints prevent him or her from being flung around inside of the vehicle during a collision. In addition, if any windows or doors are broken as a result of the collision, a restraint can prevent the dog from trying to escape the car and possibly sustaining even further injury. A proper restraint will also ensure that your dog does not run away or get lost during the chaos that often ensures after a car accident.

There are two effective ways to ensure safe dog car restraint. The first is by using a harness. The harness is a strap for your dog, like a seat belt. It is attached to secure hooks found in the back seat of most modern vehicles. The harness fits securely around the dog and keeps him or her in their place while riding. The second option is to transport your pet in a secured crate or pet carrier. A crate should be kept in the trunk of your car and must be securely fastened to attachment points that will assist in withstanding a collision. The crate will keep your dog from being thrown around the vehicle if the car is hit. It will also prevent a hard impact with parts of the interior in an accident situation. Whether choosing a crate or harness, ensure that you select the appropriate size for your anime as well as that the device has been crashed tested. Securing your pet is safest way for dog to ride in car.

TAKE A BREAK

Car rides can be quite taxing and exhausting for anyone involved. Just as you and your children have the need to get out of the car every once and a while, long road trips are boring for dogs. Although it may be on your mind to get to your destination as quickly as possible, when travelling with a dog, it should be expected that your pooch will need to take a break every two to three hours. This break will allow them to stretch their legs, exert some pent up energy and relieve themselves in an appropriate area. Making regular stops will enable you and your dog to break up a long car ride and provide everyone an energy boost for the next leg of the trip.

KEEP IT TOGETHER

No matter where you are going, or what you need to do, it is best to ensure you are never leaving your dog alone in the care. This is particularly true if you are travelling during warmer weather. The temperature inside a car can change dramatically, whether it is warm or cold outside. This quick change in temperature can be quite dangerous for your dog.

In addition, being left alone causes distress for a dog. This distress can lead to your dog making decisions that can be harmful, like trying to escape through the window. Take your dog with you while you stretch your legs or run to the bathroom (assuming it is permitted of course.) If traveling with more than one companion, take turns taking a walk around the property or tossing the frisbee back and forth.

Taking a break where everyone can get out of the car could be the perfect opportunity to make a memory with your dog and your family. Take advantage while you can, for the safety and enjoyment of the entire family. This will keep everyone from getting overly antsy throughout a long road trip.

BRING YOUR DOG’S TOILETRIES AND TOYS

Just like humans, big and small, dogs will need distractions to keep them going if the trip is very long. Bring some of his or her favourite toys along. This will give you both a way to entertain each other during breaks. You should also grab a could chew toys, a Kong that you can fill with peanut butter, or a large bone that he or she can chomp away it. These items will keep you dog entertained while driving, enabling a calmer and easier car trips for all passengers involved.

Be sure to pack their belongings as well. Bring plenty of treats, dog food, and a water bowl to keep your pooch satisfied throughout the trip. If you are not sure that you will have access to a water fountain, be sure to pack extra bottles of water for your trip. It is important to keep in mind that your dog’s get hot faster than humans, and you should be prepared. Also, pack their favourite blanket or pillow for the trip as well. This will provide additional familiarity and comfort for your furry friend, enabling an additional layer of calm and serenity during the trip.

FRESH AIR DOESN'T ALWAYS HELP

A key element to keeping a dog safe in the car while driving is not allowing open windows in the rear or the car. An open window or door may pose an unrealised threat to your dog. He or she may believe this is an invitation to release some energy and may decide to jump out of the car. This can be dangerous for the dog as well as other drivers on the roadway, while wreaking havoc in the middle of a trip.

Cracking a window slightly for fresh air is acceptable. However, anything more than in inch or two could prove to be a potential disaster waiting to happen. It is also best to ensure your dog does not poke his or her head out of the window while driving. Flying debris from the roadway can potentially cause a serious injury to the animal.

It is also considered a good idea to disconnect any power locks or windows in the rear of the car. These convenient latches can easily roll down a window in a car if a dog inadvertently steps on an unlocked button. Therefore, it is recommended to prevent this scenario by taking control of the power buttons in the rear of your vehicle.

DISASSOCIATION IS KEY

Most of the car rides that a dog takes part in are trips to the vet's office. Therefore, riding in a car can generally become quite stressful event for a dog. This can be especially daunting for your pet if he or she is not typically a passenger in your vehicle for any other reason.

However, you can prevent this type of anxiety within your pet by introducing your dog to the car for other types of trips. Sit with your dog in a parked car in the area you plan to restrain your dog. Keep some treats and toys on hand, to reward him or her for good behaviour within the area. After a couple of these sessions, transition yourself behind the wheel, still with the car off and continue to reward your dog when he or she remains in a calm position.

Eventually, when both parties are comfortable, start the engine of the car and then take short trips, keeping a watchful eye on your dog’s reactions. After doing this a couple of times, your pet will become more comfortable participating in car trips and eliminate the anxiety that comes with being inside the car.

CONCLUSION

Dog car safety is a concern that must be taken seriously and handled properly. Ensuring you have the best dog car restraint as well as planning on many stops throughout your trip will save both your dog’s sanity, as well as yours. Keeping toys around while preparing him or her for the trip will enable a fun and safe trip for you, your family and your furry four-legged friends. However, it is important to remember that keeping your dog restrained in a harness or crate is the safest way for dog to ride in car on any trip you plan on taking.


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