When driving with our dog, usually an image of them with their head out the window, their tongues and ears flapping in the breeze, but this is the most dangerous place for your dog. As any parent of a human child knows, the safest place for smaller riders is in the back seat.
A dog with their head out a window is at risk of falling out of the vehicle, being struck by debris, getting an ear or lung infection, but the biggest threat comes from the car’s airbag. Since they’re designed for full grown adults, not children and canines, a blow from one of these can cause serious injury or even death to a dog.
Here’s ten other tips to remember when we’re riding with our best friend:
#1 – Stopping in The Summer: Beware of black asphalt and sidewalks in the searing summer heat. They can easily burn a dog’s sensitive paws, so “pause” and feel the surface with your bare hand before you let Fido out of the car.
#2 – Bring Water: Always bring water along for the ride, even on short distances. Be sure to watch for signs of dehydration in your pet
#3 – Consider a Crate: An enclosure for your pet is also the safest way for them to travel. Many people don’t realize that flying objects in a car can cause injury or death in the event of an accident.
#4 – Buckle Up: If you don’t want to use a crate, then be sure to buckle up your pet by attaching their harness to seat belt or other device. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, an unrestrained animal can escape through a broken window putting them in danger.
#5 – Don’t Leave Them Alone: We all know the dangers of keeping a dog in a car that’s either too hot or too cold, but your precious pooch could also be stolen.
#6 – Plan Ahead: If you’re going on a long journey, check your route for some pet-friendly destinations to stop along the way. And not just dog parks, a growing number of hotels and restaurants allow dogs.
#7 – Keep Them Busy: Bring along some of their favorite toys and treats. Just like children, bored animals can be very distracting when you’re trying to drive.
#8 – Stop Regularly: Just like the driver and other passengers, especially on long journeys, you’ll want to stop, get out and stretch your legs. You dog might want to relieve themselves, and they obviously can’t say, “I have to go to the bathroom.”
#9 – Keep An Eye On Them: While most dogs who are traveling safely either in a crate or buckled up in the back seat, usually they’ll just go to sleep. But keep an eye on them for signs they could be getting restless or car sick and pull over if necessary.
#10 – Start Out Slow: Before you take your dog on a cross country trip or other extended holiday, start off with shorter trips and work your way up to several hours with them in the car. They’ll be less stressed and also less likely to become car sick.
We don’t have to leave our pets at home when we go on road trips or vacations, but we do need to keep them safe. With just a little bit of extra planning and these tips, you and your best friend can have the time of your life on the road.