Safe Driving Tips When Traveling with a Dog

Traveling with a dog can be really stressful, not only for you but also for your furry friend.

You can’t just think about yourself anymore. If you need a rest stop, so does your dog. If you need a snack, so does your dog. If you get into an accident, so does your dog.

In order to ensure a safe and comfortable trip, you need to take preparations thoughtfully—especially when you are going to drive long distances. Here are some safe driving tips to help you prepare for a smooth trip with your dog.

Use a carrier for your dog

Purchase a pet carrier or crate specifically designed for travel if possible.. Make sure that the carrier can fit your dog comfortably and is properly ventilated.

It’s also a good idea to get your dog used to the carrier before you make a long trip. Train him to stand, sit, and lie down comfortably in the carrier when you are still in the comfort of your home.

Prepare your dog for a long trip

Take your dog on a series of short drives and gradually lengthen the time he spends in the car. After a few drives, your dog will be ready for a long trip.

Keep in mind that you are training yourself as much as you’re training your pup. So learn to drive with a crate with care. If you do not secure it carefully, it may slide or shift when you need to stop quickly.

Do not leave your dog alone in a parked vehicle

The inside of a parked car can become very hot on a hot summer day, even if you keep the windows open. The outcome can be disastrous—your dog may have heatstroke. In the winter, your vehicle can reach deathly cold temperatures that might spell doom for your dog.

Avoid locking your dog in a car altogether. If you’re traveling with friends or family, always leave someone with your pet. If you are traveling alone, always bring your pet with you when you leave the car.

Pack important things when traveling with your dog

Dogs, like humans, like the comforts of home. If possible, bring the bedding, brush, and toys that your pooch already has grown attached to. Consider packing treats, medications and a first-aid kit. And never forget to bring your dog’s own food. If you are planning on staying at a hotel with your dog, make sure the hotel is pet-friendly.

Avoid pickup trucks

Driving in the back of a pickup truck is not safe for your dog. When there are quick swerving motions, your dog may be thrown out of the truck bed. If the bed becomes too hot, dogs can also jump out. In the back of a pickup truck, there is no harness or leash to keep a dog safe.

Overall, it’s just a bad place for anyone to travel, but especially for pets who don’t always know how to keep themselves safe.

Dogs get car sick, too

To minimize the risk of car sickness, give your dog a light meal several hours before starting the trip. Do not feed him much during the drive. If you are road tripping, feed your dog at the beginning of a long stop so that he has time to digest before you hit the road again.

If you want to keep your dog busy, offer him ice cubes. Praise him a lot. Dogs remain alert and vigilant when they are praised, so they’ll better be able to withstand the long drive.

Take a break every few hours

Do not expect a dog to be comfortable for eight or more hours in a vehicle. When you are making a long trip, stop every two or three hours. This is one of the most important safe driving tips (even for yourself!).

Allow your pet to step out and stretch. If possible, go for a little walk. Both you and your dog can thus work out some pent-up energy. Make sure you feel fresh before getting back in the car.

Enjoy the travel

Traveling with a dog is not very different from traveling with a small child. Like a child, a dog needs a lot of care during a trip. Be proactive and always keep your dog’s needs in mind. Make sure that both you and your canine pal enjoy the trip.

Your furry companion is actually a member of your family. Caring for your dog is easier when you are at home, but the same canine comrade will need much more attention when you are traveling with him. However long or short your trip may be, keep in mind that there is an animal in your vehicle that is entirely dependent on your care and compassion.

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