If you’re thinking about travelling with your dog this summer, there are many important safety considerations that you will need to factor in before you get into the car.
Keep the dog in the back.
The most important thing to keep in mind when traveling with your dog is to ensure they are safely out of your way while you’re driving. Dogs (and pets of any type) should always remain in the back seat while you are driving. Depending on if you’ve traveled with your dog in the past, you’ll have a good idea of how he or she takes to being in the car. For some dogs, it might be safest to put them in a carrier or to look into a restraining harness or pet car seat.
Never leave your dog unattended in the car.
Even if you need to pop into the grocery store for “just a minute,” it could be fatal to your dog. The temperature inside your car rises extremely quickly when it’s warm and dogs don’t do well in the heat. Dogs get heatstroke much more quickly than humans because they can’t cool themselves off by sweating; they try to cool off by panting which is useless in such a hot environment. If you leave your pet unattended in your car, you could even rack up a fine of up to $60,000 and get a lifetime ban on owning an animal.
Don’t let your dog stick any part of their body outside the car.
We all know that dogs love to stick their heads out the window when you’re driving, but this is actually a dangerous behaviour and easy way for them to get hurt. If any particle or debris hits them, they could be seriously hurt, not to mention that some dogs could even get sick from being exposed to cooler air for too long.
Always carry food and water for your dog.
You never know when your car might break down or you might get stuck in an epic traffic jam. This is why it’s a good idea to bring some dog food and extra water (along with a dog-specific water bowl) on longer trips. It’s also easier to feed your dog and keep him or her hydrated when you stop to stretch your legs and let them go to the bathroom.
Take breaks every few hours.
Just like it’s not good for humans to sit for extended periods of time, it’s not good for your dog either. If you’re on a longer trip, try to stop every two or three hours. You’ll get to move around, your dog will get to move around, you’ll avoid any backseat accidents and your pet will get to release some pent up energy.
In general, when you are travelling with your dog, or any pet, always be mindful of how they’re doing and what they need. If you’re aware of the above considerations, you and your dog are likely in for a fun summer together!