No, it’s not Wordless Wednesday. It’s Words on Wednesday because I can’t seem to post without saying anything! This time, it is my Maya that has something to say. Check her out in the back seat wearing her Kurgo dog car harness and have a good laugh at what she has to say:
And just so my Pierson isn’t left out, here’s what he has to say about car ride fun:
Funny, right? Seriously though, check out this important safety message:
Welcome to the pros and cons series from #DogTravelAdvisor. Each post in the series will highlight a specific pet travel product and tell you more beyond what the manufacturer wants you to know. This post is about the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Learn the pros and cons of this product, which we have discovered through personal experience and from the experience of other people who have purchased it. By sharing both the positives and the drawbacks of this pet travel product, we hope you are able to make an informed decision in deciding whether it is right for you and your dog.
Keeps Dogs in Seat
Before giving you the cons, we will share the benefits that the manufacturer touts and which we agree with. The first benefit is a safety benefit. Have you ever had to stop suddenly only to have your dog lose his balance and slip to the floor? The bigger a dog is, the more likely this is to happen. The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat keeps this from happening. Some dog seat belts are deemed not as safe by the Center for Pet Safety because even though a dog is wearing one, he launches off the seat in a crash simulation. This flat seat prevents that, thereby increasing the safety of the harness.
Gives More Room
I personally have two big dogs, Maya and Pierson. When they ride in the car on long road trips, trying to stay in the narrow seat for several hours can be very uncomfortable. The flat seat gives them more room to stretch out.
With that being said, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is sturdy enough to hold my two big dogs. In fact, the manufacturer claims it can hold up to 200 pounds.
Easy to Assemble
The flat seat consists of two big pieces, a few nuts and bolts, and two straps to hang from the headrest. The nuts and bolts are big enough to put together by hand, so no tools are needed. Simply put the two pieces together, bring the front seats forward a bit, place the flat seat in the car, bring the seats back, then use the straps to secure the flat seat to the front seat head rests.
Thin and Flat
This seat extender is different from two other seat extenders we carry in that it is thin and almost completely flat. The Pet Deck is thicker and this can cause gaps in some places. The BackSeat Bridge is just as thin, but it doesn’t go all the way to the way front to back. This means there is a ridge, or lip, that can make it uncomfortable for big dogs to stretch out.
Dogs are not the only thing that can benefit from this flat seat. You can stack your groceries on it, luggage, or anything else that you need to put in the back seat of your car.
Two big sheets are what cover the seat and the floor. Since these sheets are strong enough to hold two dogs, they also have a little weight to them. But you don’t have to be a weightlifter to lift them. As a woman who can’t do a single push-up, I have no problem taking the seat in and out of my car. But it might be an issue for some.
Won’t Work in Some Cars
Although the flat seat can fit most cars, there are exceptions. Consider the side wells of the seats. If they stick out too much or won’t allow the square corners of the seat to go between them, then the flat seat may not fit properly. Also, consider if there is a raised center console in the back seat. And finally, consider whether you want the square corner of the flat seat to go between the leather seats.
Despite the flatness of this product, there are still gaps. There is a square cutout so that the flat seat can still be installed if the front center console sticks out in the back (notice it to the right of Pierson in the very top image). Because this square cutout is one size, there can be a gap for dog paws to step through. If your dog is not harnessed and if he likes to step on the center console, this gap can be a problem. There can also be gaps on either side of the flat seat, depending on the size of your car. Most seat extenders will have gaps, but measure your car and compare it to the flat seat dimensions to see if the gaps will be a problem for you and your dog.
Not Crash Tested
This product is not crash tested. It is quite possible that it will break in a car accident.
The flat seat is adjustable from front to back, but only in three stages. It is not adjustable from side to side. Measure and compare to make sure it will fit in your car.
For me, the pros of the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat outweigh the cons. I don’t have leather seats and it fits my Ford Contour and Toyota Camry just fine. The gaps are minimal, except by the front console. But since my dogs wear seat belts, it is not a problem. Even though they wear seat belts, they still need room to stretch out on those long road trips. Whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for you depends on your vehicle, your dog or dogs, and your situation. If you have any questions about the flat seat, ask our #DogTravelAdvisor by contacting us through our About Us page link on the right or by commenting below.
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.
My dogs have been using dog seat belts for over 15 years. And I have been selling them for over eight years. And not just dog seat belts, but other pet travel products too. My dogs Sephi, Maya, and Pierson have been guinea pigs for more than half the products we sell (excluding those for small dogs since mine are big). If I haven’t used certain products, I’ve been listening to feedback from those that have used them.
As a result, I have become very knowledgeable about pet travel products. And so I am taking on a new task of being PetAutoSafety’s new dog travel advisor. You will start to see #DogTravelAdvisor in our tweets, on Facebook, and on Google Plus.
Go ahead, ask me anything about dog car travel. Anything, really! If I don’t know the answer, I will help you find out who does.
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.
I would never take my dogs Maya and Pierson anyplace where I had to leave them alone in the car. But as scatter-brained as I can be, it is quite possible I might automatically lock my car with the dogs still inside. With that being said, here is an article written by Elizabeth on behalf of the car insurance company that I have personally been using for over 10 years:
It can be easy to sometimes lock your keys in the car. Generally, this is more of an annoyance than anything else, but if your pet happens to be inside the car when you accidently lock yourself out, then there is a real problem on your hands. Roadside assistance is a great way to deal with this issue, because you can use the unlock car service. Having your pet locked in the car is a very stressful situation, so it’s good to have a plan that you can follow. Make sure to specifically tell the roadside assistance representative that your pet is locked in the car. If it is very hot outside, then you may need to take more drastic measures.
While waiting for roadside assistance, monitor your pet closely. Call their name and check that they are reacting normally. Also, try not to leave your car unattended if possible. Once help arrives and your car is unlocked, confirm that your pet still appears to be healthy. You could even consider bringing your pet to the vet, depending on what the weather was that day and how long your pet was in the car. Offer your pet water as soon as possible, since they most likely have not had access to it for the duration of being locked in the car. If it is cold outside, wrap your pet in a blanket and turn the car’s heat up.
Even if you never need to use your roadside assistance club, this program could give you peace of mind. In addition to roadside assistance, you could also consider bringing a spare key with you. You may not always remember the spare key, but it would be one more way to help keep your pet safe.
Author Bio: By Elizabeth on behalf of Allstate Motor Club. Visit www.allstatemotorclub.com to learn more about our motor club benefits.
A Face Behind the Pet Car Safety Lady
Hi! My name is Dawn Ross. I generally put Maya & Pierson in front of the camera when I talk about pet car safety. But thanks to an idea from Amy with GoPetFriendly.com, perhaps I should tell you more about me. There are four things I love to talk about the most… Maya, Pierson, my husband, and myself! 😉
What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
I love the world of fantasy with dragons, knights, wizards, and castles. My all-time favorite fantasy novels are the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.
What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
Action/adventure, sci-fi/fantasy, and Disney movies are what I like best. Trying to choose one movie is very difficult, so I will choose one from each of my three favorite genres. Action/adventure – Indiana Jones. Then again, I could watch the Transformers movies over and over again. Sci-fi/fantasy – Star Wars or perhaps Lord of the Rings. Disney – I absolutely loved Tangled.
What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
Cheese. I love cheese. Any kind of cheese will do. Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cheese cake, goat cheese, Munster, Havarti, gouda, brie, parmesan, cottage cheese, okay maybe not blue cheese.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time? What’s that? I used to do a lot of crafts. I enjoyed beading. At one time, I was even making my own beads out of rolled up paper. I also like to use plastic canvas. Plastic canvas can be cut into shapes. You can then thread designs on it using yarn, and then sew the shapes together to make something three dimensional.
Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
1. Drawing – If you follow my American Dog Blog, then you probably already know I am an artist. I love to draw nature and animals. In fact, I have a website dedicated just for my artwork at NatureByDawn.com.
2. Reading – I love to read about ancient history. Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient China, Greece, Rome, the Dark Ages, Renaissance, etc.
3. Writing – My love for history led me to a love for mythology, which in turn led me to a love for fantasy. In fact, I have written three fantasy novels, “The Third Dragon”, “The Raven’s Fire”, and “The Dragon & The Lion”. As is common in fantasy, these three novels encompass a trilogy I call “The Dukarian Legacy”. Each book has its own story that can stand on its own. But the characters are all the same throughout and there is a grander tale tell. You can buy my books on Amazon in either paperback or e-book version. I also have another blog for my writing, although I haven’t updated it in some time. Still, you can read a couple of my short fantasy stories there along with some of my writing and publishing tips.
What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
Now, back to talking about my dogs. Dogs really are my passion. I’ve had dogs my entire life and cannot imagine life without them. My dogs bring me more joy than the three things mentioned above combined. Regardless, there are still things about my dogs that drive me nuts. For one, I would love to travel the world. I’d love to see the ancient Greek temples and other things I’ve read about in my love for history. But my dogs make it difficult for me to do these things. Let’s be truly honest, though, it is also lack of time and money that keep me from being able to travel.
Another thing that drives me nuts about the dogs is all the shedding. You’d think that because I’ve had dogs my entire life I’d be used to it. And to be sure, I am probably more used to it than most other people. But it still drives me nuts.
I also dislike having to stand outside in adverse weather waiting to pick up Maya’s poop so Pierson doesn’t eat it. I don’t like the fact that Pierson is dog aggressive, that Maya still pulls on a leash despite six years of training, how Pierson barks at everything, and that Maya knows she is not supposed to jump on people but does it anyway.
Despite all those things, they pale in comparison to the joys Maya and Pierson bring me. I love playing with them, cuddling with them, training them to do fun tricks, taking them for walks, taking them shopping, and so on.
If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?
I would still choose dogs. I like cats okay, but prefer dogs. I’ve never had the same breed or breed mix twice, so I suppose I would choose a breed or breed mix I haven’t had before. I tend to prefer medium to large dog breeds, so whatever I choose probably won’t be a toy breed. But I don’t always choose the dog I want. Sometimes they choose me.
Have I talked about myself enough yet? Are you bored now? Well, perhaps it is time to read about other dog bloggers. Check out this blog hop below to read about some of my favorite dog, cat, bunny, and bird people:
Is it Friday already? Where has the week gone? Well, let’s see by checking out this week’s edition of Follow Up Friday hosted by Jodi from Heart Like a Dog.
Flea from Dog Treat Web with the delicious Jones Natural Chews said, “I’m so glad the bark control collar works for Pierson! Hoorah!!! He sure does look miserable, but my babies give me the same look.“
Isn’t it just the most adorable look? No, I don’t like my dogs to be miserable, but he is miserable from having to wear the antlers for an entire half minute while I took pictures. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by the bark collar except when he wants to bark but has to exercise self-control.
Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs said, “Hubby and I have spent many a Thanksgiving by ourselves when family has been far away. Those can be fun too.“
To be honest, I kind of like the relaxing holidays at home when I don’t have family obligations. But then again, being with family is nice too.
TRAVELING BY CAR WITH OUR DOGS
Ann with My Pawsitively Pets says, “Great tips! I think the tire thing is pretty important… I remember going on a trip as a kid with my parents and we got a flat tire in the middle of no where. After the spare was on, another tire decided to go flat not long after lol.“
OMD! A car breaking down on a long road trip is a terrible experience. Sephi and I got stuck in Idaho once on a road trip from Kansas to Oregon. I was not married at the time so it was just me and her. Scary.
Donna and the Dogs said, “I just love that first photo! And I totally understand about wanting to drive so you can have your pups with you. We drove all the way to Florida – a two day drive – just so we could bring two of them along. We would have brought all three if we could have fit them!“
Wow! A two day drive? I bet it was interesting seeing different parts of the country. Thanks for the compliment about Maya’s picture. She really is so photogenic, isn’t she? Here is another one of her riding in the car:
Snoopy with Snoopy’s Dog Blog said, “That’s a lot of organizing, but planning is the best way to ensure it all goes smoothly for all.”
We do it every year so it all goes smoothly now.
Lindsay with That Mutt said, “Great tips! It definitely helps if the pets are used to traveling, and it helps if they don’t get car sick. I have one cat that tends to get car sick, so he doesn’t get to eat breakfast the morning before a trip.“
Pierson can handle highway driving pretty well. I didn’t have problems with him getting sick on our trip last year. So I will probably give him a little bit of breakfast before we go.
WIN A SEAT COVER
This contest for one of our paw print seat covers ends on Sunday so if you haven’t entered yet, you better go enter now. Plus, you can get at least three more additional entries by tweeting daily. There are only 176 entries so far so your chances are pretty good.
Thanks for stopping by for Follow Up Friday! I hope all of you have a Wonderful Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
(This is a very busy month for me, so I may not be blogging as much for the rest of it. But I you will see more of me next year, for sure!)
It’s almost time for our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas to visit family. The drive takes about eleven hours. Taking such a long trip with two big dogs requires careful preparation and planning.
Why Do We Drive?
An eleven hour trip sounds intimidating. But when you have two big dogs, visiting family for the holidays doesn’t leave many options. Boarding kennels and pet sitters tend to be booked up this time of year. Flying can be expensive, not to mention a very stressful situation for pets that need to ride in the cargo area of the plane. Winter weather can also prevent your dog from being able to fly.
While driving requires several hours of our vacation to be spent on the road, for us it is the best option. I’m not sad and worried about Maya and Pierson because they’re with me. And the gas expense is less than one flight ticket.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIP
Now that we know we are going to drive, we just need to work out the logistics. Is our vehicle in good shape, including the tires? Is a car enough, or should we rent an SUV? Last year we rented an SUV because our friends went with us and four adults and two big dogs just wouldn’t fit in our sedan.
This year it is just my husband and I and the two dogs so we can take our car. We’re not taking mine this year, though. We are taking my husband’s. My car is already fitted with all the dog gear, but it is an older model vehicle and I don’t want to risk it breaking down on the way. So before our trip, I need to outfit my husband’s Camry for Maya and Pierson. The first thing it needs is a seat cover. I will also install the Backseat Bridge because it covers the floor and gives my big pups more room to stretch out for the long trip.
Will we do the entire drive all in one day, or will we stay overnight at a hotel? Most times, we drive straight through. But this year, we are visiting friends in Tulsa and so will stay in a hotel. To prepare, we need to find a pet friendly hotel in Tulsa and make reservations.
Health & Temperament
Maya and Pierson are in good health and so will be fine on this trip. But depending on your pet, you may want to consider his health before going on your road trip. In addition, think about how much or how little your dog likes to ride in the car. If he doesn’t like to ride, you may need to start getting him used to it now by taking short road trips to somewhere fun. You can also ask your vet about possible pet anxiety treatments you can give him.
A week before the trip, I compile a packing list. I add to it as things come to mind so that by the day of the trip, I know everything I need to take. For the dogs, I need their food, treats, food and water bowls, water, toys, blankets, beds, leashes, veterinary records, poop bags, their dog seat belts, first aid kit, and I need to make sure their id tags are secure on their collars. Since we are staying in a hotel, I should think about bringing their pet crates too.
Right Before We Leave
Besides checking off the packing list and making sure our vehicle has gas, I also like to administer Travel Calm to both Maya and Pierson. Maya gets excited in the vehicle and the all natural Travel Calm really helped keep her relaxed and quiet on our trip last year. Pierson sometimes gets car sick and Travel Calm helps with that too.
The next thing we do before we go is let the dogs go potty. And the final thing is to make sure our house is secure. If we didn’t already have someone watching our house, we’d be talking to our neighbors to ask them to keep an eye out. We’d also reduce the thermostat and make sure we didn’t leave any unnecessary appliances turned on.
THE ROAD TRIP
When traveling such a long distance, it is a good idea for us and the dogs to make plenty of pit stops. We stop at rest areas or gas stations to stretch our legs or use the restroom. For the dogs, I make sure their leashes are secure before letting them out of the car. It helps that they are already secured in their dog seat belts. All I have to do is attach their leash, then release the buckle that keeps them secured.
When I take them to go potty, I make sure they only go in designated pet areas. And I always pick up after them. If we’re in a public area, I am careful about not imposing my dogs on other people. I keep control of them as much as possible for both their safety and for the sake of others.
While it would probably be much more convenient if we could travel without having to worry about the dogs, I really enjoy taking them. For me, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without my Maya and Pierson. If you’re traveling by car this holiday and taking your best friend with you, consider our preparation plans and apply them for your situation. And send us pictures!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Welcome to the Scoop that Poop blog hop hosted by Sugar the Golden Retriever. I can’t tell you enough about how important it is to pick up after your dog. This is especially important when you travel with them. Why? Because you want there to be more dog friendly places, right? Parks, rest stops, and hotels are going to be more open about allowing dogs if we pick up after them.
So the next time you travel with your dog, take poop patrol very seriously. Pick up your dog’s poo. If you see someone else’s dog left a little present in the grass or on the sidewalk, it would be really pawsome if you picked that up too. Yes, it is gross. But it is also easy to do.
Join the Scoop that Poop campaign and check out the poop patrol blog hop below.