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By: Derek Petersen
It’s that time of year that a lot of people will be traveling to see friends and family. If you’re like me, you take your furry friends on the road with you. Athena (my Siberian Husky) and Boston (my Chocolate Lab) always get so excited when they know it’s time for a ride in the car. Their eyes widen, ears perk up, and their tails start to wag. Little do they know that it’s not for a short trip, but were heading on an 8-hour drive to see the family. I find that waiting until the last minute to say “want to go for a ride,” works in my favor. Little do they know that I’ve been prepping them for this ride the last couple of days.
There are tips on traveling safe with your pet while in the car, but there are variables that you need to think about before putting your pet in the car for a long road trip. Taking these steps to prepare your dog for a long road trip is imperative to their health and wellbeing during your road trip this year.
Here are some easy steps to follow to ensure your dog has a great road trip:
Feed your dog early. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. It’s important to feed your dog a few hours early to help prevent motion sickness.
Prepare your vehicle for your pet. It’s recommended that you crate your dog for long road trips. If you don’t normally crate your dog, it may be time to rethink that decision. Crating your dog will create less of a distraction while you drive (especially while driving by yourself) which is safer for the both of you. Also, a crate helps to prevent your dog from becoming a projectile if you have to stop urgently, reducing the chance of injury for both of you. A best practice is to exercise your dog before putting them into the crate. A dog that has exercised is more likely to relax in the crate, while dogs who haven’t exercised will have built up anxiety and may not be willing to accept the crate.
Pack a bag with all of your dog’s goodies: dog food, treats, bottled water, dog leashes, waste bags and dog toys (their favorite toy, of course). This pet friendly travel kit should also contain portable dog bowls, dog documents, and a dog first aid kit. Keep the leashes handy, as you will be making frequent stops.
Now that you have prepared your dog and vehicle for the trip ahead, it’s time to plan the stopping spots. If you’re traveling on major freeways or highways, you can count on having rest areas (that almost always have a “pet section”) to stop and let your dog out. There are times you might need to stop and get food, but no matter where you stop, don’t ever leave your dog in the car. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked vehicle can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. On a cold day, a vehicle can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing your dog to possibly freeze to death.
Now we’ve gone through the steps in preparing your dog(s) for a long road trip, and you should be ready for the road ahead. Always continue to learn the best practices in keeping your family, pets, and yourself safe in your vehicle at all times. Buckle up and enjoy your trip!
If you live in Connecticut, then perhaps you have heard that Senator Doyle has proposed a bill to the Connecticut General Assembly that will make it illegal for a driver to allow their dog to ride in their lap (Proposed Bill #518, CT Gen. As.) & (Connecticut Post). Perhaps your dog doesn’t distract you when he rides in your lap, but you may soon have to keep him off your lap if you want to avoid getting a ticket. If you are worried that your dog is so used to riding in your lap that he will get anxiety by not being allowed, we have some tips that might help.
BED AND TOYS
If your dog has a bed that he really loves to sleep in, put this bed in the passenger seat or the back seat. Give your dog his favorite toy or treat to chew on. For your dog’s safety, it is probably best not to use toys or treats with sharp edges as this could harm him if you stop or swerve suddenly.
TRAINING & PRACTICE
Find a big empty parking lot where you can drive around safely without danger of hitting pedestrians or other vehicles. Drive around with your dog and reward him for staying calm in his seat. If he won’t stay in his seat, toss a small treat into the seat for him to retrieve, then toss him another one while he is in the seat. You should make sure you are at a full stop before rewarding him or simply have a friend ride with you that can reward your dog.
PET ANXIETY REMEDY
If your dog has anxiety about being separated from you, consider various pet anxiety remedies. The Thundershirt is clothing your dog can wear. This product has great success at helping dogs with anxiety issues. There is also an all-natural herbal remedy called Travel Calm that you can put on your dog. Some dog anxiety treatments also come in pill form. Also, keep in mind that sometimes your dog’s anxiety is a reflection of your anxiety. If you remain calm and don’t make a fuss, this could go a long way to help keep your dog calm.
PET TRAVEL PRODUCTS
There are several pet travel products that you can use to keep your dog off your lap. Another benefit of using one of these products is the safety benefit. Certain products not only keep your dog from being a distraction, they also offer a measure of crash-worthy safety.
If your dog likes to see out the window, there are several pet car seats that allow this. These car seat also have a tether in them that you can use to attach to your dog’s harness to keep him in the seat. Do not attach the tether to your dog’s collar since this could choke him if you slam on the brakes. If your dog likes to be by your side, there are pet car seats that attach to your car’s center console. And, if your dog likes his crate at home, you can have him use his crate in the car too. If you feel these products provide too little space for your dog, there are several other pet travel products to choose from in today’s market, such as dog car harnesses or pet nets and barriers.
Even if your dog doesn’t distract you when you drive, there is another good reason he shouldn’t ride in your lap. Airbags are not safe for dogs. If your airbag deploys, a minor car accident could turn deadly for your dog, and possibly do serious damage to you as well.
Although this law has not been made yet, you can still get a ticket for driving while distracted. Not only that, it just isn’t safe for you or your dog if he rides in your lap. So don’t wait for Connecticut to specifically ban dogs riding in laps to take action. Protect your best pal today. Many of the pet travel products mentioned above can be found by clicking on the Shop button on the top right of this page.
Do you let your dog ride in your lap? Do you know someone who does? Do you have any other pet travel concerns? Let the #DogTravelAdvisor know by emailing us or commenting below.
Are you about the em’bark’ on a journey with your dog? The #DogTravelAdvisor recommends the following safety items you should bring for your best pal:
* If traveling by car, your dog’s seat belt or pet carrier
* ID tags secured on your dog’s collar)
* Vet information
* Emergency contact information
* Photo of your pet
* Pet first aid kit
* Food and water
* Your pet’s medication, including Travel Calm or other car sickness remedies
In addition to the above pet safety essentials, here are some non-essential, but probably-a-good-idea-to-bring-anyway, things:
* Dog bed
* Food and water bowls
* Dog brush
* Poo bags
* Baby wipes (for other doggie messes)
* Lint brush for dog hair clean-up
One time when we traveled, we forgot our dogs’ food! We left it by the door but forgot to put it in our car. Thankfully, we were able to find their regular brand at a store along the way. Have you ever forgotten to bring something when you traveled with your dog?
Preparing For Your Dog’s First Car Ride
By Suni Miller
Traveling with your dog can be a great adventure. Before you start your travel, there are some things you want to keep in mind when traveling in the car with your pet.
Always remember safety first. Purchasing a dog safety seat will be safer for your dog in case you come to a sudden stop or make a quick turn. Make sure your pet cannot roam around the vehicle freely. There are also pet safety belts that can be purchased. This can ensure that the pet cannot be thrown from the vehicle or into another passenger in case of an accident, sudden stop, or turn. Another option is purchasing a crate. If you ever considered traveling with your pet by plane, then having your pet in a crate is required by the airline. It can also keep your pet out of trouble at a hotel or somebody else’s house. You want to make sure the crate is big enough to allow the dog to stand, turn, and lie down. It should be sturdy with handles and grips. It should also have a leak proof bottom covered with absorbent material. Air should be able to flow through it freely.
In case your dog gets away from you during a trip, it is best to make sure he has identification to increase the chances of a recovery. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar at all times, which have identification tags with the dog’s name, your name, a number where you can be reached, and proof of rabies shots. You can consider a more permanent form of identification, such as a microchip. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your dog with you.
The Car Ride
Allow your dog to get used to sitting in the car first without leaving the driveway and then start off by going for short rides, so you and your dog can get familiar with traveling by car together. Don’t feed your dog before traveling. This way you can avoid car sickness. Make the first few trips somewhere fun for your dog, like a park or field. This way he will associate riding in the car as something fun and enjoyable as opposed to just trips to the vet. Make sure to have plenty of water at all times especially during the warmer times. Keep the car well ventilated. However, do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to the potential of an eye injury. Never leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, especially during warmer or colder temperatures. If you do have to leave your dog, make sure someone else is in the car with him. When going on long car trips make sure to bring some of your dog’s favorite chew toys and treats, so he will not get bored. Stop often for exercise and potty breaks and be sure to have something to clean up after your dog.
Traveling by car can be a great experience for you and your pet, but to make sure that it is a great experience following these tips will be helpful. Now you’re ready to ride off into the sunset.
Article Source: Preparing For Your Dog’s First Car Ride
It’s been a month since our last participation in the Barks & Bytes blog hop so we have a lot to cover. I’ll try very hard to be brief. First off, if you haven’t done so already, say Happy Birthday to my Maya who turned 7 at the end of August!
IMPROVED PET DEK
In a review of the Pet Dek that I made back in July, I mentioned how one of the legs kept coming off but I fixed it with a washer. The manufacturer of the Pet Dek saw my post and wanted to let me know that this issue has been fixed and is no longer a concern. Honest reviews really pay off!
FREE SHIPPING ON FLAT SEAT
The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is a comparable product and for the month of September, we are offering free shipping.
On Wednesday, September 10th, we shared the photos of three adorable Frenchies: Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur. Their mom first purchased the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat from us. And when she found out we were also in Iowa, she explained how difficult it has been for her to find a dog car seat belt that would fit the odd shape of a Frenchie. And so I offered to visit her in person to try some on. The Kurgo Tru-Fit brand fit them nicely, but the Bergan dog seat belt fit even better. So Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur all have one and they wore them on their recent road trip.
If you haven’t heard of Flea from DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews, then you’re really missing out. Her blog is funny and Flea is such a heartwarming person. We (Maya, Pierson, and I) have been lucky enough to have been able to meet her on two occasions. Once, during the holidays when we made our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas. And the second time just a couple of days ago as she traveled from Oklahoma to Illinois. It was a wonderful visit and Maya and Pierson were extremely spoiled with the Boo Bucket and other treats from Jones Natural Chews.
Remember earlier in the year where I mentioned one of our goals was to acquire the AllSafe dog car harness? Well, we finally got it! As of yesterday, the AllSafe pet seat belt is officially available on PetAutoSafety.com. For now, it has free shipping. This may change later so if you’ve been wanting one, now is the time to get one. Maya has hers already. Keep an eye out on this blog for our review.
The company that provides the AllSafe dog seat belt also has the VarioCage. If you haven’t heard of it before, it is the absolute best car cage on the market. We don’t have this one on our website yet, but it will be available before the end of the month.
LOST DOG COMMENTS
A special thanks to Barbara from K9sOverCoffee and Lindsay with ThatMutt for adding two more means to find a dog lost after a car accident. Post fliers, contact a radio station to see if they will mention the lost pet, and contact shelters and rescue groups every day to see if anyone has brought in the pet. I can’t believe I didn’t think of these. Thank you!!!
Thanks for stopping by, everyone and enjoy the rest of your week!
Having your dog wear a dog seat belt in the vehicle is a great way to keep them from distracting the driver. But you also want them to be safe, right? However, if your dog rides in the cargo area of your hatchback or SUV, you need to know that securing them to cargo rings may not be adequate.
The Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit research facility for pet products, has recently reported that cargo connections may not have the necessary strength to hold your dog. This means the cargo ring can break if your dog is in a car accident, or even if your dog just pulls on it hard enough. Contact the vehicle manufacturer to find out what amount of force those cargo rings can withstand.
When we rented an SUV one year in order to make our annual trip from Kansas to Texas, we looked diligently for an SUV that had metal connections in the cargo area for Maya and Pierson. We did not find any. As a result, we found a way to connect their dog seat belt harnesses to the safety belt housing of the car located under the seat. However, the Center for Pet Safety advises against this as well.
If you need to have your dog ride in the cargo area, you may need to install a more secure connection in the cargo area. You can also opt to have your dog ride in a crate instead. Just be sure the crate can be secured in place.
We will soon have another option for dogs riding in cargo areas. By the end of September, you will see the VarioCage available on our PetAutoSafety.com retail site. The VarioCage is very expensive but it is also extremely durable. It has been extensively crash tested and even real-life situations have shown that the VarioCage remains intact.
Safety for our pets when we travel is very important and vehicle manufacturers are coming to realize this. More and more car commercials show a dog harnessed in the car. So if you have a vehicle with a cargo area and it doesn’t have cargo rings or just has plastic cargo rings, tell the manufacturer that you want this feature. You may not be able to get it this time around, but they will hear you and hopefully install better connections in future models.
We read a lot of articles about pet travel and have come across more than a few handfuls where a dog involved in a car accident runs away from the scene and is lost for days. We’ve also followed up with many of these articles and have learned the situations where the dog is found. Most of these reunions have elements in common that can help you if your dog escapes from a terrifying situation.
Return to the Scene
Believe it or not, in most cases where a dog runs away after being in a car accident, he is found within less than a mile of the scene. In some cases, he is actually found at or near the area where the wreck took place. If the accident is on a busy roadway, he is probably going to stay some distance back. Look in nearby areas with lots of foliage or other places to hide.
Trauma Makes Dogs Wary
A dog involved in a traumatic situation is very likely to be skittish with strangers, even normally friendly dogs. If you are helping to locate someone’s lost dog, make sure you have their number handy. If the dog moves away from you when you approach, stop approaching them and call for help.
Since traumatized dogs tend to be shy, putting live traps in areas where there have been sightings can help you catch him when you’re not around. A shy dog may also avoid broad daylight. He may hide during the day, and then seek food and water in darker hours. A live trap will help attract the dog and hopefully catch him when people aren’t able to be out searching.
Alert nearby neighbors, notify the local animal shelter and animal control, let the police know, and contact local rescue groups for help. Perhaps even call the local news stations. More than any of the others, individuals from dog rescue groups seem to be the people who most often answer the call to help. They can also be a great resource for getting live traps. Contacting local vet clinics is also a good idea for in case someone brings in a dog that needs medical attention.
Social Media Helps
There are a number of Facebook pages dedicated to finding lost pets. Sometimes pages are created by a family attempting to locate their own lost pet. The people who come together to help are amazing. They share posts, thereby spreading the word about a lost pet, they offer personal assistance with looking for the pet, or they may even have other ways to help. If your dog is missing, post it on CraigsList, Facebook, G+, Twitter, community classifieds, and anything else you can think of.
Protect Yourself from Scammers
Because you are posting the information about your dog publicly, there is a chance you will be contacted by scammers claiming to have found your dog but are wanting money before they return him. The most common scam is from people claiming they were traveling when they found your dog and they want money before they make the long drive back. Don’t fall for it. It is a good idea to withhold a very specific trait about your dog when posting public lost ads. Perhaps your dog has a scar somewhere or a specific mark that is not noticeable in photographs. If a person claiming to have your dog is unwilling to verify specific marks, then they probably don’t really have your dog. A person with the heart enough to pick up an abandoned dog is not likely to ask you for money or be difficult about getting the dog back to you. However, if you are convinced that such a person may, in fact, have your dog, insist on meeting them in person and in a public place before giving them money and see if the police will escort you.
Many of these tips can help in other situations, not just a car accident. If you have any additional tips that might help, please comment below.
(This is not an official study. It is merely an observation we’ve made based on online reports. There are probably a number of situations that were not reported and may not fit in these scenarios. If you’ve lost your pet, consider all options and don’t give up.)
I posted a little bit about my road trip with my dogs, Maya and Pierson, on my American Dog Blog, but I thought I would share a few more details here. Namely, what I did to prepare and how we made sure our travel was comfortable and safe.
TO TAKE THE DOGS OR NOT TO TAKE THE DOGS
A few months ago, I made arrangements to see an alternative medicine doctor for my fibromyalgia in Wichita, Kansas. It is a five-and-a-half hour drive so we opted to drive. As always, we had to take the dogs into consideration. Despite living in Iowa for only a short time, we have met people we could trust to care for our dogs if we left. However, my husband couldn’t go and as a female I didn’t want to travel alone. And so I opted to take both dogs with me.
I would have two doctor visits on two consecutive days, so we needed a place to stay. The medical office gave me a list of nearby hotels. However, they either didn’t allow pets at all, only allowed pets under 20lbs, or charged over $100+ per night. And so I chose the trusty Motel 6. I knew they were both inexpensive and pet friendly. And after our recent pleasant experience at a Motel 6 in Oklahoma, I hoped the one in Wichita would be the same. I was not disappointed. Check out my reviews of this Motel 6 on my American Dog Blog from both the link above and from the August 29, 2014 post.
> Don’t Leave Dogs Alone in Hotel Room
One thing I did not take into consideration during my stay at Motel 6 is that you are not supposed to leave your pets unattended in the room. I should have made doggie day care arrangements for Maya and Pierson, but didn’t think about it.
Most hotels have this rule about leaving pets and I understand why. When some dogs are left alone, they bark or will do damage to the room. Also, there could be problems when the cleaning staff tries to enter the room. Thankfully, Maya and Pierson are familiar with traveling and do well when left alone in a strange place. Pierson had his no-bark collar on. I also put a do not disturb sign on my door so the cleaning staff would not enter.
I won’t tell you everything I packed for myself, but I will tell you I made sure I had plenty of food and drink for the road trip so that I wouldn’t have to run into a convenience store and leave my dogs alone in the car. For Maya and Pierson, I packed enough dog food for two nights, water, their food and water dishes, leashes, dog car harnesses, vet records, pet first aid kit, Petz on Board sign with emergency contact info, dog beds, poo bags, treats, and the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat.
I opted to take my husband’s car instead of mine. My car is a 1998 model and has been salvaged twice so I don’t want to drive it that far if I don’t have to. I covered the entire back seat of my husband’s car with a sheet and set up the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. I also connected the tethers of their dog car harnesses to the seat belt housings. Maya wore the Kurgo Go-Tech and Pierson wore the Ruff Rider Roadie. (Maya usually wears the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt, but it is so restrictive I didn’t want to use this one for such a long journey.)
> Calming and Preventing Car Sickness
About 20 minutes before the trip, I applied Travel Calm from Earth Heart to both Maya and Pierson. Maya needs it because she is so excited in the car and drives me nuts with her happy whining. Pierson sometimes gets car sick and Travel Calm also helps with this.
Both dogs did very well on the drive to Wichita, but Maya was a pesty-poo on the way back home. I’m not sure if she was uncomfortable or what, but the Travel Calm did not work this time. She whined so much that I made several stops thinking perhaps she had to go to the bathroom. She didn’t. In any case, it took much longer for us to get home.
> Don’t Leave Dogs Alone in the Car
I didn’t have to stop for a restroom on the drive to our destination, but I had to stop for myself on the drive back. I hated to leave my dogs in the car, but I had no choice. Pets are not allowed in public restrooms, period. Luckily, I pulled up next to some nice ladies and asked if they could keep a short eye out for my pups. They were happy to oblige. I wouldn’t always trust this tactic, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I like to think that most people are relatively trustworthy.
Have you taken any recent road trips with your dogs? Please leave a comment below. If you’d like to do a guest post on your pet travels, email me.
“Help! I just bought this dog seat belt so that I can help keep my pet safe in the car, but he keeps trying to chew it off. What do I do?”
This happens all the time. We spend lots of money to do what is best and our dogs want nothing to do with it. Unless your dog is already used to wearing a harness, adaptation may take a little time. Training your dog to get used to a pet car harness is the best long-term solution. But what if you’re going on a trip soon and you don’t have the time? Try spraying the pet car harness with a chew deterrent spray. One of the best chew deterrent sprays on the market is Grannick’s Bitter Apple. This stuff has been around for over 50 years (developed in 1960). And in most cases, it really works.
There are some instances where dogs actually seem to like the taste, but the average success is 4 out of 5 stars. If you need to keep your dog in his harness so that he is safe, why not try using the Grannick’s Bitter Apple? It is non-toxic and the chances are your dog will hate it more than he hates his safety belt.
If time really is of the essence, a homemade chew deterrent may also work. Try mixing peppermint extract and water in a spray bottle. Or cayenne pepper and water, apple cider vinegar in water, or lemon juice in water. The Daily Puppy has some great recipes.
Remember, results will vary. Long term training is the best solution, but not always feasible if you’re pressed for time. Shorten the time by combining Bitter Apple with training. Simply follow our training tips for getting your dog used to a pet safety belt, but spray the harness with a chew deterrent.
Have you had to use a chew deterrent for your dog? If so, what kind? Did it work?
Even though spring was late in coming this year, there is still time to enjoy the outdoors with your best friend. Bond while boating, have a happy time while hiking, and enjoy a romp at the river. When you go, don’t forget these great pet travel supplies and outdoor dog gear:
-Dog Car Harness – When you go somewhere with your dog, make sure his trip is safe. If your dog won’t wear a pet seat belt, consider a pet travel crate.
-Water and a Pet Travel Bowl
-Walking Harness – The Kurgo Go-Tech Maya is wearing above works as both a car safety belt and a walking harness. It is perfect for the car and for an outdoor hike.
-Backpack for Dogs – Your dog can carry his own water, pet travel bowl, and toys with his very own dog pack, just like Pierson is doing in the top photo.
-Dog Life Jacket – This is great for dogs that like to go swimming. Rip tides, fast water, and waves can be unexpectedly sweep your dog away or under. Make sure he stays afloat with a life vest. And a pet life jacket should definitely be worn when your dog is on a boat, just like our pal Dougie from the UK.
–Pet Cooling Products – Consider a cooling collar or cooling pet mat if your dog is going to be outdoors for a long period. Make sure he can get shade as well.
-Pet First Aid Kit – Never go anywhere without a first aid kit for both you and your family as well as your dog. The Kurgo first aid kit can fit right in your glove box. It includes a first aid guide in order to help with various situations such as heat stroke, animal bites, and CPR instructions. We also have very comprehensive pet first aid kits.
Be proactive in the safety of all your family members, including the furry ones. And have a fantastic summer!