Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the unofficial start of the summer travel season…for people AND their dogs. We all know that Memorial Day weekend presents its own special hazards thanks to an increased number of people on the road. We just returned from a getaway with Irie and Tiki so we could squeeze in one more beach trip before summer hotel rates kicked in…but the crowds were already heavier than we’ve seen just weeks earlier in previous years.
How can you keep your dog safe while traveling this Memorial Day weekend and beyond? Here’s our top 5 ideas for keeping your dog safe and sound–and having a great time that will provide memories for years to come:
1. Buckle Up.
I’m old enough to remember when children would ride in the front seat in their mother’s laps. That was all good–unless the car came to a sudden stop. Today parents would never think about allowing their children to ride in the front seat much less unbuckled in a parent’s lap. Yet many pet parents allow their dogs to ride up front, unbuckled, often in the driver’s lap. I think that, eventually, it will become second nature for everyone to buckle up their dogs, just as we now buckle two-legged children. It’s safer for everyone: your dog, your fellow passengers, and you, the driver. We use Kurgo harnesses with Irie and Tiki and love the easy on, easy off harness. We buckle them in the back seat, and we’re set to go.
2. Keep Your Dog’s Head in the Car.
This makes me crazy, and it seems like I’m seeing it more than ever before. Please, please don’t let your dog stick his head out the window of your moving car. Not only are you putting your dog’s eyes at risk (even an insect can put out your dog’s eye when you’re traveling at any speed) but your dog can easily tip out of the car with catastrophic consequences. Just the other day, I saw a woman driving down the street with an Australian Shepherd on her lap, the window completely down, and over half the dog hanging out the car window. Please. Don’t. Do. That. Crack the windows slightly so your dog can enjoy the outdoor scents and that’s enough.
3. Visit Your Vet.
If you’ll be traveling with your dog this summer beyond day trip range, make a quick visit to your vet. Explain your travel plans and get your vet’s recommendations for flea and tick, immunizations, and anything you should be aware of in other areas. You can also ask for a copy of your vet records to take along on the trip.
4. Identify Your Dog.
When we travel, our dogs wear two ID tags–plus they’re microchipped (and the chip is registered with HomeAgain). The everyday ID tag includes our home address/phone information and a second travel tag includes our cell phone info.
5. Use Technology to Keep Your Dog Safe.
The Tagg tracker (we just bought a replacement for Tiki’s tracker about two years of use) uses GPS technology so that, if one of the dogs is lost, we can track her on our smartphones using the Tagg app.
We hope Memorial Day weekend kicks off a great season of summer fun and travel for you and your dog!
Kurgo is a DogTipper sponsor.