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!
In determining the best way to protect your best pal when he rides in the car consider your personal preferences, your dog’s behavior, and the type of vehicle you have (a car or an SUV?)….
Continue reading this article about crash tested pet travel products on PetAutoSafety.
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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Watch out for Sephi and Maya! They are going to travel in our Pet Auto Safety car from Overland Park, KS to Austin, TX just before the big Easter weekend. They are going to go to visit their human grandparents, human aunts and uncles, and their doggy cousins. It is going to be quite a housefull of both dogs and humans. The doggy cousins include Fritz the Yellow Lab, Kalua the Toy Chihuahua, Killer the Lhasa Apso, Lucky the Chihuahua mix, Callie the Chocolate Lab, Tinkerbelle the Italian Greyhound mix, and Mocha the Toy Chihuahua.
Sephi and Maya will be sitting in the back seat of the car and they will each be wearing a dog car harness. The back seat of the car also has an Extend-A-Seat so that they have more room to move around and I don’t have to worry about them falling on the floor. We will stop at several rest stops along the way since it is a 12+ hour drive. This way the dogs can go potty and get a fresh drink of water from their portable dog travel bowls. Rest generally have pet areas just for those people who travel with their dogs. I won’t forget to pick up after Sephi and Maya and I won’t let them in the rest area bathrooms.
It should be a fun trip! Wish us luck as we travel in pet safety.
In conjunction with the dog car seat belts, I use the Backseat Bridge in my car whenever Sephi and Maya travel with me. The device worked perfectly when we first used it on a four hour trip from Kansas City to St Louis. Sephi and Maya were much more comfortable on this trip because they had more room to move around or lay down and stretch their legs.
What is a Backseat Bridge? The Backseat Bridge is a sturdy device which attaches around the front car seats and headrests in order to cover the floor of the back seat. The Backseat Bridge by Kurgo is slightly padded and designed for dogs over 30 pounds. Sephi is 55 pounds and Maya is almost 70 pounds and the it has shown no signs of weakness or breakage.
How does the Backseat Bridge protect your dog? The most defining feature of the Backseat Bridge is it keeps your dog off the floor of the car. If you have to make a sudden stop your dog could fly forward and crash onto the floor, possibly spraining or even breaking their leg, hip, or back. But if your dog is wearing a seat belt, how could this happen? True, with some dog car seat belts the dog would not crash onto the floor because those seat belts severely limit your dog’s movement. However, other dog car seat belts have an adjustable strap which gives them more freedom to move and sit, stand, or lay down. The Backseat Bridge provides even more space for your dog to move around which can be very comfortable for those long road trips.
How does the Backseat Bridge protect me? The Backseat Bridge has a flap which provides a visible barrier between the front seats. So if your dog is not wearing a dog car seat belt, this flap may deter them from trying to get into the front seat and distracting you while you are driving. The flap is not a complete deterrent, however. The best way to prevent your dog from getting into the front seat while you are driving is to have your dog wear a dog car seat belt.
Are there any drawbacks to the Backseat Bridge? One feature we have noticed is there is a slight gap around the side edges. So it is not recommended for smaller dogs who may be able to slip between those gaps. The straps can be tightened so that the padded base is flush against the back of the front seats. However, if the back of the front seats are not straight, there may be additional gaps. The back of the front seats of my car are not straight. However, since Sephi and Maya have the dog car seat belts with adjustable straps, I make the straps long enough for them to still move around but short enough so they can’t get their foot caught in the gaps.
Is the Backseat Bridge right for my dog? To find out, ask yourself these questions:
1) Is my dog or are my dogs over 30 pounds each?
2) Do my dogs hate being restrained in the car?
3) Will my dog be using a dog car seat belt with an adjustable strap?
If you answered yes to all three questions, then the Backseat Bridge is perfect for your dog!
Many dogs love to ride in the car. You see them often with their noses to the wind and a happy doggy grin on their face. So you know dogs can enjoy a car ride but perhaps you are not sure how to get your dog to enjoy it too. Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, here are a few tips to help help your dog enjoy the car ride.
First, you need to consider using a pet auto safety device such as a pet car seat, dog seat belt, or pet carrier. If you use a pet auto safety device for your pet, you need to allow your pet time to get used to it. If you are using a pet car seat, for example, allow your pet to use as a bed for a short time before putting it in the car. If you are using a dog seat belt, put the safety harness on the dog (without the buckle strap attached) and allow them to wear it around the house (with supervision). If you are using a crate, crate train your pet first.
Tip #1 – To Help to Prevent Vomiting or Voiding in the Car
* Do not give them anything to eat for an hour or two before the ride.
* Don’t allow them to drink excessively.
* Allow your dog to take a potty break just before going for a ride.
Tip #2 – Take Short Fun Trips
Once your dog is used to the pet auto safety device, start taking them somewhere they will enjoy. This will help them learn to associate a car ride with these special places.
* Go to the park.
* Visit the pet store.
* Take your pet with you to visit a friend.
* Take your pet with you when you are only going to a drive-through such as at a bank or fast-food place.
* Go to a coffee shop or restaurant where you can sit outside.
Never take your dog someplace where you will have to leave them unattended in the car. The inside of a car is not safe for a pet, even if it is not hot outside or the windows are rolled down. Not only are there dangers, but it could also cause your pet to get lonely, anxious, or nervous. If your dog already fears a car ride, leaving them alone in it is not going to help.
Tip #3 – Distract Your Pet
* Give your dog a familiar object like their favorite toy or blanket.
* Talk to your dog while you drive, but don’t use a soothing voice. Talking to them in a soothing voice may confirm their thinking that the car ride is a bad thing. Use a regular tone of voice and talk as if nothing is wrong. However, every dog is different. Some dogs may get more excited by the sound of your voice, in which case you should ignore them. Try both talking and silence to see which works best for your pet. Try not to scold your pet. Positive reinforcement is the best way to make a car ride enjoyable. Do not let your talking to the dog distract you from your driving. It is also recommended that you do not pet them while you drive. Not only can this distract you from the road, it may also encourage the dog to pester you for more attention.
* Try playing the radio for your pet. Soothing music may have a calming effect on some pets. But most importantly, the sound of music will help cover the loud and unfamiliar sounds of the road. A passing semi, for example, may be a familiar sound to us, but the rumbling of these big trucks can be terrifying for a dog who has never heard them before.
* Open a window. Even if the loud sounds of the road are a problem for your pet an open window may provide a distraction of new and interesting smells for your dog. Most dogs seem to love this aspect of car rides. Your dog should not be able to stick their head out the window while using a restraint, but they should still be able to catch those exciting scents.
* If possible, have someone sit in the back seat with your dog. They can provide a distraction that you, as the driver, can not. This person, however, should not use a soothing voice and comforting manner. Remember, you want your dog to think that riding in the car is no big deal.
Being safe in the car is of utmost importance for you and your loved ones. New parents comb through products looking for the next big improvement to protect their children. There are hundreds of child protective seats available that are designed for children of varying ages which help reduce the impact of any car accident.
It goes to reason that this same product should be available for dogs which obviously cannot be secured in a safety device designed for human use. Having a special seat that can protect your dog is imperative for those that care about the safety of their most beloved pets. Dog car seats are an incredible innovation.
Like a cell phone, a dog can be a major distraction in the car. A phone call that distracts a driver has been statistically proven to cause car accidents and create cars of people more prone to injury and death. This can be said for an unruly dog in the vehicle. Even the best trained dogs can be excited in a car where anything can happen. A loud noise or an interesting dog walking down the street could be enough to send a calm dog into a fit. Avoid putting yourself and your dog in harms way by getting an inexpensive dog safety belt today.
Even though I only live four hours from St. Louis, I have never been there. So I made plans to visit this 4th of July weekend. The first thing I had to do was decide whether or not I was going to take the dogs. I considered a boarding kennel, a pet sitter, or leaving my dogs with a friend. But because it was a holiday weekend, these options were going to be hard to come by. So I decided to take them with me. Once this was determined, I needed to find a hotel that would allow my pets. After some research online at www.PetsWelcome.com, I found that the Sheraton generally accepts pets.
Once the hotel was booked, the next thing was to prepare for the trip. I had to not only pack for myself, but for the dogs as well. I packed their food bowls, water bowls, leashes, food, doggy biscuits, doggy poopie bags, crates, dog beds, and most importantly, extra water. I made sure they were in good health (both just had check-ups at the vet a couple weeks ago), that their tags were secure on their collars and up to date, and that my car was prepared for them. The back seat of my car has a car seat cover and I added the Kurgo Backseat Bridge which would give them extra room and keep them off the floor. My dogs wore their pet auto safety belts. The strap which buckles into the seat belt receptacle of the car was extended a little so that they had more room to move around but were still safe and secure.
On the way to St. Louis, we stopped at the rest stops along the way. There were three of them, each about 40-60 miles apart. Every interstate highway in the US has rest stops. I made sure the dogs only did their business in the pet area since the rest stops had a place designated specifically for pets. And I made sure I picked up after them. I also gave them water at each stop. Both dogs did great. No one got car sick. Maya was bored and tended to move around a lot, but because of her pet seat belt and the Extend-A-Seat, she was not able to bother me while I drove.
At the Destination
Both dogs were well-behaved at the hotel as well. Maya was a little hyper and wanted to greet everyone but I kept a hold of her leash and made sure she did not jump on or lick anyone. When I left the hotel and had to leave them behind, I kept them in their crates as required by hotel policy. I did not get any reports about them so I assume that they did not bark after I left. I did not always leave the dogs in the hotel when visiting St. Louis. I took them walking even went to a couple of nearby parks.
All-in-all it was a great trip. We all had a good time and we all kept safe. You and your pets can have a safe and pleasant time traveling as well. Just remember the four basics: Accommodation, Preparation, Travel, and Destination.