There are some pet parents who would love to take their dogs with them in their travels. After all, it wouldn’t be much fun if their furry four-legged friends were left at home. Unfortunately, the modern car was never really intended for conveying pets. This can lead to potentially serious issues in terms of not only road safety but also safety for your pet. There are, however, several ways you can safely travel with your dog in your car. Here are ten of them.
1. Invest in an Appropriate Pet Travel Crate
For optimum pet safety when traveling, it is recommended that dogs be kept in appropriate travel crates or pet carriers. These are available in different types. Some are styled as wire cages while others feature a plastic cage construction. Whatever the type of pet travel crate you are going to get, it is important to look for one that has excellent ventilation. It should also be spacious enough for your pet to move about.
What is equally important is teaching your pet to learn to stay in the travel crate. It would mean nothing to get the best dog crate if your dog simply doesn’t like the idea of staying inside this cage. As such, it is important that you teach or train your dog first how to use its mobile home. It is always advisable that pet parents start training their dogs to use the pet crate in the comfort of their homes before trying it out in their vehicles.
2. Help Your Dog to Get Used to Riding in Your Car
Not all dogs find it amusing to ride in a car. While some dogs are naturally inclined to like the feel of a moving vehicle, there are dogs that can get especially anxious and restless whenever they take a ride. It is for this reason that you should spend some time teaching your dog to learn to like riding in your car.
Once you’ve acclimatized your dog to stay inside its crate, you can take it for a ride. Aim for shorter distances first. For example, you can drive your dog in your car for just a few blocks. Gradually increase the distance of your daily trips until such time that your dog is no longer anxious during the ride. You can help your dog to feel more comfortable by creating a more pleasant experience for it. You can bring its favorite toy so that it will feel less anxious. It can also be a good way to keep it busy.
3. Learn about Specific Laws that are Related to Pet Travel
It is always best to know about the laws that each state may have about dogs or any other pet traveling in cars. This is especially true if you are going to cross into another state. Some jurisdictions have friendlier pet travel laws than others. You should always make sure that you understand the implications of these laws for both you and your pet.
If the law of the place you are going to travel to requires all dogs to be placed inside pet carriers or crates in the vehicle at all times, then you should observe such rules and never allow your dog to sit beside you at the front passenger seat. Don’t draw the attention of local law enforcers as you’re just a visitor of their place.
4. Make Sure Your Pet is Fit to Travel
Before traveling, make sure you bring your dog to the vet so that its health status can be established. Dogs with motion sickness or any other form of the health condition that can have their condition worsened or exacerbated by travel have to be addressed first before the trip. If there are health conditions whereby traveling is contraindicated, then you might want to think of foregoing the trip if you’re not comfortable leaving your pet alone at home.
Your veterinarian will also make sure your dog has all the correct and necessary shots during the travel. This is especially true if you’re going to travel to a place where they have very strict laws about traveling pets. Your pet should be immunized or vaccinated with the required shots.
5. Make Sure Your Pet has Tags and Microchip
Don’t be over-confident that your dog will never run away. When you go on a trip, you are opening a whole new world for your dog to explore. Dogs are naturally curious animals and as such will go to great lengths to try and explore and discover new things. No sooner than arriving at your destination, your dog will already be bolting out the door.
It is crucial that you let your dog wear its collar that comes with a pet tag complete with information about its name and your contact details. If you want to be high-tech about it, it is best to invest in a pet GPS tracker so that you will be able to keep tabs on your pet’s whereabouts. Equally important is a microchip that’s been embedded in your dog’s body.
6. Bring Your Pet’s Documentation
Even if your dog already has a microchip, it is still important to bring its identification papers and veterinary records with you. If you get flagged by the police and would like to request for some information about your dog, they don’t have the device to read the information on your dog’s microchip. The same is true if you’re going to walk into an establishment that would like to ascertain the safety of your pet. What they will be asking from you are physical documents or records to prove that your dog is safe.
As such, always carry with you your dog’s important papers such as registration certificate, veterinary records, health certificate, immunization records, and the like.
7. Prepare a Doggie Travel Kit
If you’re looking to travel with your dog in your car, make sure to bring its own travel kit. What is important is water. While it is true that there is water in your destination, your dog’s tummy may not be accustomed to this kind of water. To avoid any potential health problem, it is best to bring your dog’s own bottle of water. Dog food is also an important part of the travel kit. Bring just enough to last the entire duration of the travel.
Don’t forget to bring its dog bowl, grooming supply, medications, leash, harness or collar, and dog toys. Equally important are dog poop bags and poop scooper. Your dog will be doing its business wherever and whenever you make a stop. Don’t leave your pet’s poop out in the open. Be responsible enough to pick it up and dispose of it properly.
8. Don’t Ever Leave Your Dog in Your Car
Don’t think that leaving your dog all alone in your car even for a few minutes is safe. Even if you rolled down the windows completely to allow air to enter, the passenger cabin of your car can still turn into one hot furnace on a scorching hot summer day. This increases the risk of heatstroke in your dog. Parking your car in the shade and rolling down the windows can help, but it can still get uncomfortably warm inside the car.
The same is true in winter. It can be extremely cold inside your car that your dog can turn into a four-legged popsicle in no time. Don’t tempt fate by believing that your dog will be safe inside your car if the temperatures outside are unbearable even for you. Here’s the thing. If the weather is hot or cold for you, your dog will feel the same way but amplified twice.
9. Don’t Let Your Dog to Put its Head Outside the Window of Your Car
They may look adorable when sticking out their heads through the window of your car, but you yourself know that this is never safe. It is not so much as your dog getting sideswiped by another car or vehicle, but rather the risk of flying objects or debris hitting your pet. Even if the car is in a stationary position, there is still a chance that your dog may be hit by a falling object or any other item that may be thrown its way.
10. Feed Your Dog a Few Hours Before the Trip
Your dog will need to have the energy for the ride. However, it is best to give it a rather light meal than a heavy one about 3 to 4 hours before heading out. This time period will help ensure the food you gave has already been passed into the dog’s small intestines. As such, there is very little chance of your dog feeling queasy or nauseous. Under no circumstances should you feed your dog during the trip, regardless of how long the drive is.
Traveling with your dog in your car can present a few challenges. But with appropriate planning that takes into consideration you and your dog’s safety and security, traveling in a car with your furry best friend is well worth it.
If you’re planning to take your dog on a road trip, consider looking into pet insurance to receive health care coverage for your pet. Be sure to check out Clearsurance’s pet insurance guide for everything you need to know.
- 10 Tips for Safe Car Travel with Your Pet, Pets WebMD