Dog walks, visiting my family, and running some errands in the market are among the activities I do with my chocolate Labrador. But over the years, I realized that it is never really easy to do all these tasks without making sure he is safe in the back while I’m driving.
Although a simple dog cage can do the trick, I discovered there are many things you can do to ensure dog safety.
1. Never underestimate the power of seatbelts.
Even if it is a dog, never ever forget to let your pooch wear harnesses that are attached to your car’s seatbelt system. These things could not just save your dog’s life, but also your own.
Come to think of it. Can you drive properly with your dog in your lap? Yes, it is really difficult. After all, you don’t want your dog to fly from behind and hit your windshield in case of a potential accident.
So before you even hit the road, securely fasten your dogs using an unbreakable harness. As Americans always say, “Don’t leave home without it.”
2. Always check your car’s airbag system.
If your dog is used to sitting beside the driver’s seat, please make sure you check your airbag. Some vehicle models do not have them. Others still need to be turned on. The newest models also have switches that need to be turned off when no weight is on the seat.
When in doubt about your car’s airbag system, it is best to have your dog secured at the back.
3. An elevated car seat might help.
If you are carrying a very small pooch in the back seat, you might want to use an elevated car seat and place it in the middle.
In case of a collision, the centremost portion is considered the safest. Hence, be sure that the car seat you get include a seatbelt. Otherwise, you might want to purchase another crash-tested car seat harness.
4. Keep your medium-sized or large-sized dog safe in the back seat.
If you have a medium or large-sized pooch, it is a great idea to put him in the back seat secured with the car seatbelt. By doing that, you can ensure that your pet won’t join you up front, mess with your concentration, and block your ability to steer.
5. Keep them away from the window.
Even if your dog enjoys it so much, always make it a point to prevent him from popping his head out of the window. Keep in mind that the most common injury a pet acquires is having foreign objects in its eyes.
Thus, despite the joy your pooch shows when riding with his head out, his safety is something you must never compromise. So as much as possible, close the windows.
6. Check out for loose items in the cabin area.
If you are going to place your dogs in the cabin area, be sure that you keep away any loose items. Anything heavy might cause harm to your dogs, so keep these items inside a container where they are least likely to bring damage to your pets.
7. Bring water and a bowl.
Water is vital for dogs. So when taking long road trips, it’s smart to bring along some. You never know when the need may arise.
To ensure that you always have water in handy, store a bottle in the car and keep it in the emergency kit. Having a water bowl is also great. That way, you don’t have to let your dogs drink in your hand.
8. Give yourselves a break.
Traveling with dogs is never easy. We know that you can withstand long road trips, but take note that dogs have different needs.
Basically, having a dog in your car is like traveling with a child. Therefore, it would be better if you take a stop every two to three hours. During that time, you can let them out to stretch. And while they do their business, you can rest.
9. Never leave them alone in a parked car.
Even if you leave your windows open, never leave your dog alone in a parked car. An immobile vehicle can easily become a furnace in no time, especially on a hot day. If you leave your dogs inside, heatstroke can develop.
During cold weather, a car can also become a refrigerator. It will store in the cold and result in your dog freezing to death. You don’t want that to happen, right?
10. Gear up for a long trip.
Before you take your dog on a long trip, it is best that you gear him up on a series of short drives. Eventually, lengthen the time spent in the vehicle. But please make sure that you secure him in a dog crate so that he won’t shift back and forth in the event of collisions or quick stops.
If you wish your dogs to get accustomed to traveling, you can train them. I’ve provided an eBook below, which you can use to train them. But with these tips about dog safety, I’m quite certain that your vacation will turn out smoothly.