There’s nothing better than having your best friend along for the ride. But before you hit the road, find out how you can ensure your dog stays safe behind the wheel.
Utter the words “dog” and “car” together, and the image that comes to mind is of a fun-loving dog – tongue lolling in the wind, as they stick their furry head out of the car window. However, there are many dangers you must be aware of in order to safely travel with your dog in the car.
Tips for travelling with dogs
Accustom your dog to car rides
The first step is to get your dog used to your car and travelling in it. To associate your car with positive feelings, provide them with a variety of fun toys and treats that they only have access to when they’re in or near your car. Relieving your dog’s stress about travelling in your car can also help with overcoming any motion sickness they may have. While most dogs soon grow out of their initial car sickness, you may want to take them in for a checkup at your local Greencross Vets if their symptoms persist. Once your dog is happy with short car rides, it will be much easier to take them on long road trips.
Keep your dog restrained
Seatbelts are a must for us, and the same thinking needs to apply to our beloved pets. Unrestrained, your puppy could move around and distract the driver of the car – or worse, become airborne, should an accident occur. We recommend keeping your puppy in a travel-safe crate or boost seat during car trips. As your dog grows older and bigger, you may need to upgrade to a dog car harness that attaches to a seat belt. It’s best to keep your dog in the backseat of the car, or in the rear of a station wagon. And if you have a ute, we really discourage you putting your dog on the tray, as not only are they unprotected, but metal ute beds can get incredibly hot and burn your precious pup’s paws.
Be safe around windows
As much as your dog may be curious to feel the wind on their face, think about sticking your own head out of the window of a fast-moving car. If you find yourself worried about the possibility of dust, dirt and debris hitting your eyes, it’s worth considering that your pup faces the exact same dangers. They could end up with a serious eye or ear injury resulting from even a short drive to the shops. While you should crack a window open to allow for fresh air and ventilation, you should restrict your dog’s access to it so they cannot jump out.
Pack a dog travel bag
Much like you would prepare to keep a child entertained on a long trip, you should pack a travel bag of necessities that your dog may need during the drive. The most important thing is to have plenty of food and water for your dog, as well as some treats to keep them happy throughout your journey. If it’s going to be a really long trip, consider bringing a few toys that you can rotate through so that your dog is mentally stimulated. You’ll want to take them out to stretch their legs at rest stops so remember to bring some doggy bags, a lead, and make sure that your dog’s collar clearly states your current contact number.
Never leave your dog unattended in the car
Sadly, unattended dogs die in hot cars each and every year. According to the RSPCA, you can lose your best mate in just six minutes, even if your windows are down or your car is in the shade. This is because, aside from through their foot pads, dogs don’t sweat so they are highly susceptible to heatstroke. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent your dog experiencing heatstroke by ensuring you never leave them in a car unattended.
With this in mind, hit up your local Petbarn to stock up on our wide range of dog car accessories and enjoy cruising in the car with your canine sidekick. And remember – the best thing about these backseat bandits is they can’t criticise your parking skills!