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!
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?
Pierson has actually been using the Ruff Rider Roadie for some time. He actually has several dog car harness brands to choose from, but I’ve been using the Roadie almost exclusively since that report from the Center for Pet Safety came out in October 2013. Besides safety, there are a lot of other reasons why I love this brand. So let me share them with you, along with some opposing features.
The Center for Pet Safety did an independent crash test study of various dog seat belt brands in October 2013, and I’m happy to say that the Roadie did very well. They determined the ClickIt Utility to be the safest and the Roadie and the AllSafe followed 2nd. This information makes me feel better about my boy Pierson’s safety.
One thing about the safest ClickIt Utility brand is that it is also the most restrictive. You dog can’t stand up in it and will have a difficult time moving from the sitting to the laying down position. This restriction is a good thing in safety, but let’s face it, many dogs do not like to be that restricted. One great thing about the Ruff Rider Roadie is that it can allow your dog a little more freedom to move. Its tether has two setting, one that makes the tether very short and one that makes it a little longer. With the longer option, your dog can sit, stand, and lay down with ease. Pierson is good about staying in one place in the car, so I generally use the shorter tether option.
MADE IN USA
Nope, the ClickIt Utility is not made in the USA. Neither is the AllSafe. But the Ruff Rider Roadie dog seat belt is made right here in the United States. And it has been around and continuously improving for 15 years.
FITS ALL SIZES
Pierson is a medium sized dog, so he doesn’t have a problem in sizing. But you should know the ClickIt and the AllSafe are not made to fit very small dogs. The Roadie, on the other hand, does fit little pets.
The Roadie pet car harness is very well made. The material is a very strong webbing, yet not bulky. The size adjusting buckle is plastic, but this buckle is not part of what keeps the harness on your dog. If it breaks, your dog will still be in his harness.
The Roadie does not have a padded chest piece like the ClickIt or AllSafe. But the cross piece is designed to lie low on your dog’s chest so that it doesn’t choke him. Pierson likes it because it’s comfortable without being bulky.
Because the Ruff Rider Roadie pet seat belt isn’t put on with clasps, it can be a bit difficult to put on. Luckily, my Pierson is very cooperative. He’s been wearing dog car harnesses since the day I got him, so he allows me to slip the Roadie on and put each of his legs in the leg holes. If you have a dog that doesn’t hold still well or is likely to resist, then you may have a challenge in putting this one on.
Because the Roadie doesn’t have clasps and because it has to be adjusted loose enough to put on your dog, it fits a little loose. This is actually a good thing. You don’t want a harness that is too tight. If you have a dog that keeps trying to get out of his dog seat belt, a tighter fit is not going to stop him from trying. The tighter it is, the more likely he is to hurt himself when he tries to get out of it. With training, a dog is more likely to get used to a loosely comfortable harness than a tight fitting one.
The Ruff Rider Roadie has seven different sizes. This makes it a bit difficult in determining which size to get your dog. At the same time, because it has so many different sizes, it is likely to fit many more dog breeds than other brands.
When shopping for the right pet car harness for you and your dog, look at safety, but also be aware of the possible cons. The Ruff Rider Roadie is almost perfect because it has such a high safety rating yet only a few cons. It is also very competitively priced. I love the Roadie. And although Pierson is not thrilled with the process of me putting it on him, he is very comfortable in it once it is on.
“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?
Now that spring is here, I bet you want to be outdoors more. I bet your dog does too. Perhaps now that the sun is shining and the weather is warmer, you and your dog can go somewhere for a nature hike, visit the lake for a picnic or a swim, or go to that dog park you really love but didn’t go before because it was too cold outside and all the way across town. But before you and your dog head out the door, let me make one very important reminder about dogs in cars. And also, let me introduce a new product that is perfect for pet travel in warm weather.
I want to introduce the new pet travel product first. I’m excited about it because I think it is a great pet product for when we travel long distances with the dogs. See, the a/c of my car doesn’t get to the back of the car where Maya and Pierson are as easily as it blasts us in the front. So if I want my dogs to stay cool, I have to wear a coat and have the a/c on full blast. The new product we found is a pet cooling mat and it allows my dogs to stay cooler without me freezing my you-know-what off.
The Slumber Pet cooling mat is very easy to use. Simply put it in the refrigerator to let it cool down. And then take it out for your dog to lie on. Your dog can lie on it directly, or you can put it in their pet bed. Your dog can lie on it inside the house, outside, or in the car for pet travel in warm weather. (If you use the pet cooling mat outside, use it in the shade so that the coolness lasts longer.)
This pet travel product brings me to the point about safety I wanted to make. This product does not mean that you are allowed to leave your dog alone in the car while you run inside to get groceries and such. Never ever ever leave your dog alone in the car. The pet cooling mat can stay cool for long periods, but not if it is exposed to extreme heat (such as the extreme heat that builds up in a car).
Even though the weather is not hot yet, it is warm enough to make the inside of your car hot, even if the windows are down. Don’t believe me? Go to the grocery store in the afternoon when the sun is out on a 60 degree day. I did that yesterday (without my dogs, of course) and by the time I got back to my car 30 minutes later, it was super-hot inside. If Maya or Pierson had been left in there, they might have had a heat stroke.
Heat is not the only danger of leaving your dog in the car. Someone could steal your dog. Trust me, this happens all the time. People take dogs from cars because they believe you are cruel for leaving them in there, because they want to use your dog as a bait dog, or for a multitude of other unsavory reasons.
Don’t leave your dog vulnerable to theft or to heat stroke. Always make sure someone can stay with your dog in the car, or just leave your dog at home. Plan trips to the park and such separately from your grocery trips and other errands. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water for your dog to drink!
Maya and Pierson are very special to me. They may not be children, but they are more than just my pets. I don’t just feed them, play with them, and take them to the vet annually or as needed. I also take on other responsible roles such as making sure they eat healthy food, get enough exercise, train them, brush their teeth, clip their toenails, brush out their coat, etc. And I have them wear a dog safety seat belt when they ride in the car.
Some people think this is over-the-top for “just a dog”. But if you’re reading this, then you know that your dog is an integral part of the family. If your four-legged family member doesn’t currently buckle up in the car or isn’t safely restrained in the vehicle in any way, here are some reasons to consider it:
Reduce Driver Distractions
When I brought Maya home for the first time, she didn’t have a dog seatbelt yet. So, on the ride home she kept trying to climb in my lap. It was a big distraction which caused me to run a red light. I got honked at but thankfully did not get into or cause a car accident. But it taught me to always be prepared. Perhaps your dog paces in the car or keeps trying to climb from the back to the front seat or tries to stick his face in your face while you’re driving.
Protect Your Pet
Perhaps your dog rides well in the car and doesn’t distract you in any way. My dog Pierson is like that. He just sits there quietly the whole ride. But what if I have to stop suddenly or swerve out of the way of another car or something in the road? Or worse, what if I get in a car accident? Car accidents or even simple emergency vehicle maneuvers can cause a dog to be ejected from the vehicle or cause serious injury to your dog if they hit the dash or the windshield. A dog isn’t going to understand why your car suddenly went crazy on the road. They are going to be terrified and may try to escape. What then? More often than not, the dog will run as fast as they can to get away from what caused their fear. They could run into traffic or run away and get lost.
I don’t know about you, but if I get in a car accident I prefer not to be struck by a 50+ pound flying projectile (i.e. my dog). I also do not want my dogs to stick their head out the window. Before I realized the danger of this, my dog Sephi did it all the time. But then my vet told me about one of his client’s dog that had to have his eye removed because of flying road debris. When your dog wears a dog safety seat belt, it is more difficult for them to put their head out the window. They can still get the nice breeze, but at least they can’t be hurt from things on the road and they can’t jump or get thrown out of the car.
It’s not yet a law in my state but New Jersey has a law stating that animals inside the vehicle must be restrained. I have no doubt that other states will soon follow. Even states that hesitate to make such a law will have or may already have laws that allow police officers to issue a ticket to anyone who is driving unsafely due to a distraction.
Maya and Pierson do not suffer in the least because they wear a dog seatbelt in the car. They might not be able to move around much or put their heads out the window but trust me when I say they still love to ride. With a little practice and perhaps a little time, your best friend can get used to his safety restraint and love the ride just as much as before.
This post is part of the Pet Blogger Awareness Day for pet travel safety.
We have a guest post today from our friend in the UK. Here is some great information about your dog’s food and overall health.
All pet dog owners will clearly tell you of the love and pleasure the dogs give to them and their families. It’s for this reason that these pets deserve various kind of care in return. Many of these pets require such care several times a day, but this should not scare you as with time it becomes part of your familiar routine. The better you care for your pet, the more pleasure you will derive from your relationship.
The same way it is to us, a nutritious, balanced diet is very essential to your dog’s health. You should therefore learn what to feed your pet dog at various stages of its life. Dogs are remarkably able to adopt and survive on a variety of foods. Their digestive system can get nutrients from anything that is edible, unlike cats that needs nutrients found in meat-based diet only. Despite this, you still need to be equipped with various pet dog health tips. To start with, you should know that dogs are naturally meat eaters, therefore making meat protein an important part of a dog’s diet. However, an all-rounded balanced diet for dogs should include protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins, and water.
Fresh, clean water is very important to your pet dog than all other nutrients. Did you know that a dog can go for several days without food, but not without water? This is caused by the fact that 70 percent of a dog’s body is made up of water that is vital for its tissue lubrication and cell function.
In addition to clean water, you need to choose the right food for your pet. The main factors to consider when choosing the right food for your pet dog include a balanced nutrition (that we have mentioned above), taste, calorie level and digestibility. In terms of balanced nutrition, whatever you buy should be marked complete and balanced, to show that it has the right amount of nutrients needed by the dog. Give your dog natural, whole foods. You can also give a small portion of snacks, but avoid garlic, onions, raisins and grapes, which are toxic to dogs.
In addition to feeding your pet dog well, it will also require regular exams. Ensure a veterinarian examines your pet dog at least twice every year. This will ensure that any case of arthritis, heart problem, a toothache, among other conditions can be detected and treated early. Such visits to a veterinarian should also touch on weight control and nutrition, parasite control, vaccination, among other issues. Ensure your dog gets regular vaccinations.
Ensure that you spay and neuter your pet dog early enough. This can be done as early as six weeks of the dog’s age. Spaying and neutering has many benefits. Some of these benefits include lowering the risk of certain cancers, lowering the risk of getting lost as it decreases the tendency to roam, among other benefits.
Don’t forget to also provide your pet dog an enriched environment. This includes a daily walk. It also means some play time with you to keep the pet’s muscles toned as well as prevent boredom. To know more about health tips for pet dog you can also have live talk with certified veterinary surgeon or pharmacists on websites like Vet Medic and they also have wide range of pet products as well.
This article is paraphrased from an article we wrote on our American Dog Blog. It was a good article and worth repeating. Pets are great, but they may not be the best Christmas gifts. Here is why and what you can do instead of giving a puppy or kitten instead:
Picking out a Pet is a Family Event
If you are considering giving your child or loved one a puppy or kitten for Christmas, consider giving a gift certificate or a promise note instead. This way the entire family can get together and decide which pet is perfect for everyone. If done after Christmas, this will also help all the pets which have ended up in the shelter because they were given as gifts and not wanted. This happens more often than you think so waiting until the entire family is ready and can decide together helps both your family and the pets that found themselves homeless.
Picking out a Pet is a Personal Experience
You wouldn’t go pick out someone else’s wedding dress, would you? The puppy or kitten you think is perfect may not be the ideal pet for the person you are picking it out for. Even if that person described every detail about what they want in a pet, it’s like finding the perfect wedding dress – the right pet is chosen based not just on a description but also on emotion. Also, that person may not really be ready for a pet. By giving a promise note instead, they can choose when the time is most right for them. The holidays are already overwhelming. It might be best not to overwhelm things more with a little fur-ball of mischief.
Give a Stuffed Animal with a Promise Note Instead
If you know for a fact that a certain person really wants a puppy or kitten for Christmas, giving a stuffed one along with a promise note instead is a very creative idea. This allows them to pick out a real live pet themselves and you have still given a gift on that very special day.
Give a Donation in Someone’s Name
Now that you know how many pets are abandoned after the holidays because people weren’t really ready for them, you can give homeless pets and a person you care about a gift by donating in their name to a shelter or rescue group. If someone you know lost a pet recently, giving the gift in their pet’s name is an even better idea.
Promise to Volunteer
If a good friend or family member wants a pet but you are concerned a pet may be too much for them to handle, give the gift of agreeing to volunteer at an animal shelter together. This way, the person can see how much work is involved in caring for a pet. They might discover they don’t really want a puppy or kitten after all, or they might find out they are allergic to animals. Also, if the person doesn’t have time to get together with you, this might be a sign that they wouldn’t have time for a puppy or kitten either.
Please don’t buy a pet for Christmas this year. Consider the above alternatives instead and save one of the animals who were given up because someone wasn’t ready.
Win a $25 Gift Card On Our First Monthly Photo Contest From PetAutoSafety.com
Have you traveled somewhere fun with your pet? Share a photo with PetAutoSafety.com and enter to win a $25 Visa gift card!
There are three simple steps to win:
1. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/petautotravelsafety.
2. Follow us on Twitter @naturebydawn.
3. Email a photo of your pet on vacation at email@example.com. Put “October Pet Photo Contest” in the RE section, attach 1 .jpeg image, and tell us about your vacation.
The contest entry below asks you to tweet about us and leave a blog comment but these two items are not required and do not increase your chances of winning. To win, you must complete the three above steps (exception may be made for those not on Twitter). The winner will be judged by us based on the quality of your image, the aesthetics of the photo, how apparent it is that your dog is at a vacation spot and not at home or near home, and how happy and/or cute your dog looks in the photo. We will allow our definition of vacation to be as simple as a one-day trip such as a hiking expedition or day at the beach.
1. Sorry, US entrants or people with an AE address only. We are not able to mail your gift card outside the US (unless it is an AE address) and if you opt for a $25 discount from our site instead we are not able to ship outside the continental US (unless it is an AE address).
2. One entry per person, even if you have multiple pets. If you don’t win this time, you can enter our next month’s giveaway even if it is the same photo, but the same photo cannot win more than once in a 12 month period.
3. You must like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Please don’t unlike us after the contest. We will have more contests and giveaways, will give discount codes and sales, and share fun and interesting stuff.
4. Contest entry must be received by October 31st, 2012. Winner will be determined November 1st or 2nd (depending on the number of entries) and announced on this blog on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012.
5. Your Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter must be current at the end of the contest, October 31st, 2012.
6. Since the prize is a gift card, it can be used anywhere that accepts gift cards. Our PetAutoSafety.com website accepts gift cards, however, if the item you are purchasing is over $25 the gift card won’t work since you can’t make partial payments on a website. If you are a winner and wish to have $25 off an item from PetAutoSafety.com, please let us know so we can send you a discount code instead. The discount code will only be able to be used once and will only be usable for a limited time.
7. The photo must include your pet and should include indications that you are somewhere other than at home or at the local park.
8. Employees of PetAutoSafety.com and Nature by Dawn, Inc. are not eligible.
Terms & Conditions:
1. We will not share your personal information or email address.
2. We will not send spam email or email you for any other reason other than that related to your contest entry.
3. By emailing us your photo, you agree to let us use the photo on our social media sites and for promotional purposes.
4. You understand and accept that the contest is judged subjectively and our winner decision is final.
5. We promise not to judge with favoritism so if you are a regular commenter on our blogs or have purchased from us in the past, don’t mention it in your contest entry because it won’t help.
6. Although we encourage that you travel safe with your dog, it is not required that your photo show your dog traveling safe in order for you to win. Whether you use a pet travel safety device for your dog when he rides in the car is not the subject of this particular contest and so will not increase your chances of winning. We do appreciate that you travel safely with your pet, though! Perhaps this will be the subject of a future contest.
7. By entering the contest, you agree to all the rules and terms & conditions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I used to give my dogs rawhide bones all the time because they absolutely loved them and I thought it was good for their teeth. But when they ate the whole bone within a matter of minutes, I worried. Should they be eating that much at one time? Even though it is good for their teeth, is it good for their bodies? Rawhide is made from the hide of animals. I couldn’t imagine that it had much nutritional value.
We came across an article recently that spells out the truth about rawhide bones and why you probably should not give them to your dog. Check out this great article by Jon Dakins: