Many people feel that their dog is a part of the family and just like the rest of the members of our family, we want our furry best friends to ride safe inside a car. We’ve all seen the image of the dog enjoying a car ride with his head out of the window, but that’s definitely a recipe for disaster, as it can be quite dangerous.
Here are five tips to make sure your pooch has a safe ride with his favorite person.
Use a Crate
No matter how far you’re driving with you dog, crates are the best thing to use, as they are the safest option.
First of all, choose the right-sized crate for your dog. If it’s too big or too small, your friend is going to have an uncomfortable ride. Your dog should be comfortable enough in the crate to sleep, stand up, and turn around, so make sure to take him shopping with you so he or she can try it and you can see if it suits the situation.
Make sure your crate is crash-tested and safety-certified. This might mean you pay more for the crate, but quality is more important than the price, since your dog’s life and safety are on the line.
Material and design may also be important to you. Material choices could include aluminum, fiberglass and for smaller breeds soft suitcase material. The crate should be well ventilated and has fasteners to secure the crate inside the vehicle.
Finally, you could add crash bags inside the crate, just in case it breaks after a small accident.
Use a Harness
A harness is like a seatbelt, but for dogs! Used like a seat belt, the harness ties your dog to the seat, which will not only keep him or her safe, but also stop your dog from distracting you while you are driving. Before you order a pet harness, here are some points to consider:
- In order to buy the right size harness, measure your dog’s chest and neck. The harness should not choke but allow some movement. Even if your dog is one of the smaller breeds, such as a Maltipoo, there are brands that make harnesses for toy dogs!
- Buy a crash-tested harness, as some have been proven to be, basically, useless in a crash.
- Shop around, read reviews, and make sure to choose the best one for your pet. It’s a lot to think about, but it’s better than losing a best friend to a car accident only because his or her harness didn’t work properly when it should have.
Bring Water and a Bowl Every Trip
Even if you are taking a short trip with your pet, make sure you bring water and a bowl. Dogs need to be hydrated at all times—your best friend will thank you for this, especially on hot days. Either mineral or tap water works as long as you bring water for your thirsty pooch.
Leave treats and snacks at home. If your dog eats in the car, he or she might get sick which is never pleasant. Bring something to clean accidents of every kind, just in case.
Turn off the Power Windows
If you have power windows in the back seat, best to turn them off. Even when restrained, a dog can easily open the window by accident. A dog’s head or even his nose out of the window can be very dangerous. Your dog could be hit by flying object or gets excited, becomes unrestrained and jumps out of the window.
Do Not Let Your Dog Sit in Your Lap While Driving
Driving with a pet in your lap is the ultimate distraction and should be a No-No every trip.
Whatever you do, never leave your dog alone in the car. Not only is it illegal in some states, it’s also dangerous to your best friend’s health.
You can safely transport your dog on a short or long trip. It just takes planning and training of your pet to keep him or her safe and sound.
Houda Laabadi is a full-time writer, traveler, and self-proclaimed dog person. She likes to make lame jokes, write poetry, and loves eating weird food in faraway countries. “Did I mention that I was a dog person? Yeah, give me all the puppies, please.” You can reach Houda on Facebook, Pinterest and on Twitter @DiamondPupBlog.