Driving With Your Dog

Most dogs love jumping in the car and going for a drive, whether it”s down the road to the park or down the interstate to another city. However, just because your dog is happy taking the passenger”s seat doesn”t mean you don”t have to take the necessary precautions to keep him safe while he”s in the car.

Here are some tips to help you keep man”s best friend happy and safe while you”re behind the wheel.

Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your dog will have a safe and secure car trip:

  • No Beds: If you”ll be taking your dog for a drive in a pickup truck, don”t allow him to ride in the bed. Dogs can not only fall out of truck beds, but they can also jump from them. Also, never keep your dog tied to the bed of the truck. If he is tethered and jumps or falls, he could choke himself.
  • No Driver, No Dog: You should never leave your dog in an unattended car. In hot weather, your dog could suffocate or experience heat stroke. In cold weather, he could experience hypothermia.Even in the best of weather it isn”t a good idea to leave your dog alone in the car, as someone could steal him from your vehicle.
  • No Front Seat: If you have an airbag in your dashboard, you should not allow your dog to ride in the front passenger seat, as a deploying air bag could injure or even kill him. Air bags are designed to protect adults sitting approximately 20 inches from the dash. A dog”s head is generally much lower than an adult”s and could be much closer to the dash.
  • Secure Your Dog: Many dog owners allow their dogs to sit unsecured in the car. While this may be fun for your dog, it is also vary dangerous, both for dog and driver. Dogs can jump on the driver”s lap, get under the pedals or obscure the driver”s view. Also, in the event of an accident or sudden stop, you dog could be seriously injured.To keep your dog as safe as possible, keep him in a dog carrier or in a restraining harness. You should be able to find both of these items at your local pet store.
  • Watch Your Windows: Most dogs love to stick their heads out of the window when riding in a car. While your dog might enjoy sniffing the new smells and letting the wind blow his fur, an unrolled window puts your dog at risk.To keep objects from hitting your dog”s head and to keep him from leaping from the car, open the window a few inches only. This will allow him to sniff the air but will keep his neck inside the vehicle.

Before You Travel with Your Dog

Although many dogs enjoy riding in the car, some don”t. Before taking your dog on a road trip, ask yourself if he will be happy and comfortable as you travel. If the answer isn”t a definite “yes, ” consider leaving your pet with a friend, family member or dog sitter. Many veterinarians also offer boarding for dogs in their offices.

Dog Travel Accessories for Extended Trips

If you”ll be taking a long road trip with your dog, you”ll need to arm yourself with the proper dog travel accessories. To travel with your dog, you”ll need the following:

  • any necessary medication
  • blankets and/or a dog bed
  • disposable bags for cleaning up messes
  • dog carrier that is clearly labeled with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address
  • dog collar that shows the dog”s name and your name and contact information
  • dry food packed in plastic bags
  • treats
  • two bowls, one for food and one for water
  • two leashes, in case one gets lost or breaks
  • water bottles
  • wet food, if necessary
  • your vet”s contact information, in case of an emergency.

If you will be on a long trip, also remember to stop frequently to allow your dog to exercise, relieve himself and eat and drink.

Finding Pet-Friendly Hotels

If your travel plans require a hotel stay, call the hotel in advance to find out if it is a pet-friendly hotel. While some hotels will accept canine guests, others will not. Also, it is important to note that some hotels will require a deposit in order for your dog to stay. Most of the time, this deposit will be returned at the end of your stay if the room is in good condition.

When staying at a hotel, it is a good idea to keep your dog confined when you are not in the room. This will prevent him from escaping if hotel staff enters the room to clean, replace linens, etc. To give your dog plenty of space, consider investing in a small wire crate, lightweight pet tent or collapsible shelter. You can find these items at many pet stores.

To keep your dog as comfortable as possible, place a blanket, toys, food and water in his cage or tent when you are out of the room.