Dog Car Safety:
Follow These Dog Car Safety Tips Before You Hit the Open Road with Your Furry Passenger:
Begin Practicing Safety Even Before you Get in the Car
My baby, Chase, is a very exuberant passenger! He gets especially excited on his weekly trips to the holistic pet store to stock up on his favorite goodies. Since I know that Chase is going to bound out of the car as fast as his legs will take him, I keep a firm hold on his leash when unloading him from the car. Only when I have made sure that there are no moving vehicles around us do I give him enough slack to begin our walk across the parking lot.
Buckle up (Both you and your Dog)
Also, to practice good dog car safety, never let your pet ride in the front seat of the car. According to pet safety expert Melanie Monteiro, author of The Safe Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting your Pooch, Indoors and Out, “Airbags are designed for the height of a human, not a dog. If an airbag deploys while a dog is riding in the front passenger seat, the force can kill him.”
According to Monteiro, a dog riding in the front seat could also bump you or the steering wheel, or get between you and the pedals. (Traveling by plane with your canine companion? Check out our expert Q&A with Melanie on dog air travel ).
To secure your dog, use an amply sized crate, a dog car safety harness or a vehicle barrier, advises Monteiro. “Never use a neck collar to restrain your dog wile driving, as this could cause a throat injury or even strangulation,” she says. If using a crate, make sure that it is secured so that it can not slide or roll over.
Don’t Let Fido Hang out of the Window
Sure, our furry friends get some kind of a “doggy high” when they stick their heads out the window and let the wind rush through their flopping ears, but allowing this is a serious breach of dog car safety. For starters, dirt, rocks and road debris can fly up and into your dog’s face, seriously injuring him or causing severe eye damage. A dog hanging out of a window is also a target for cars driving too close. Or, just like Marley, they can even lower the window with their paw and climb out and into traffic (when driving with your dog, be sure to set the child window and door lock switch as an extra precaution).
Pack Cold, Fresh Water
Often, before we even back out of the driveway, Chase wants a drink of water. It seems that just the thought of going for a ride makes him thirsty! For that reason, it’s a good idea to always bring along a bowl of cold, fresh water. I pack Chase’s in a small storage container with a plastic lid and I also put in several ice cubes to keep the water cold longer.
Keep a Dog First Aid Kit on Hand
An essential part of dog car safety is to have a first aid kit in your car in case of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance. Keep the first aid kit in your glove compartment or other area easily accessible from the passenger seat, rather than in the trunk. Read more on the items to include in your
Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone in the Car
Always Make Sure Your Dog is Wearing His Collar and Tags while Traveling
Even if you’re only driving around town, don’t overlook a common sense aspect of dog car safety – making sure your dog is wearing ID tags with up-to-date contact information. At least then – if the unthinkable happens and he does somehow get loose – you will have a much better chance of finding him.
Just follow these tips to dog car safety and you’ll be well on your way to happy trails (or, I should say, happy tails)!
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