Today we have a special guest post from Judy over at Truck Champ Inc. about a very important subject: car and truck safety and your dog.
More and more people are taking their dogs with them for trips, quick errands, and vacation days to the beach/park/festival, etc. And while that’s great for both dog and owner – after all, who is better company than your furry four-legged friend – there are safety and comfort issues to consider when you’re on the road.
1. Do Not Drive with an Unrestrained Dog in your Vehicle.
For the safety of both you and your dog, use a pet carrier or crate to keep your dog from freely roaming throughout the car or truck cab. Not only can pets be a distraction for the driver, but they can also climb onto the driver’s lap, get between the driver and the steering wheel, or pedals on the floor.
An alternative to crates are dog seat belts – harnesses – that use the standard vehicle’s seat belt to secure it. And added note – do not use these in the front seat. In the event of an accident, a deployed airbag can cause severe injuries.
2. Don’t Let Your Dog Ride With His Head Out the Window
If you’re using a crate to transport your pet, this isn’t an issue. But the flexibility that a dog seat belt offers may also allow them enough room to get to the car window.
This is a definite safety risk that exposes your pet to all kinds of debris: bugs, dust, and small rocks flying up from the road. An even greater risk of the dog hanging his head out the window is the possibility of falling or jumping from the vehicle. Needless to say, this can result in immediate danger to your pet, and to other vehicles on the road.
3. Prepare your Dog for Riding in the Truck
Most dogs innately enjoy going for rides in a vehicle, and need to be trained to behave properly. If possible, train your dog while still a puppy – allow the pet to wear a dog seat belt in the house and get used to having it on. Likewise you can train your dog to get used to being in a crate so that it’s natural for your pet.
If you are training your dog for the first car/truck ride, it would be helpful to have him simply sit in the vehicle while it is parked in the driveway, and not moving. After this, take short trips so your dog adjusts to the experience. Over time, make the trips longer until you feel your dog is ready for lengthy trips as well.
4. Do Not Leave Your Dog in the Vehicle Unattended
The ASPCS advises travelers to never leave a pet alone unattended vehicle even for a short period of time. In just three minutes the heat in a car can increase by 13 degrees or more. If it is absolutely necessary for you to leave your pet unattended, be sure you have windows open part way for ventilation and that your dog is restrained. An unrestrained pet can inadvertently push a car door lock down, or may even flee the vehicle quickly once the door is open.
5. Provide Comfort for your Pet on Extended Trips
Whatever method of restraint you choose, you want your pet to be comfortable and to be able to nap if desired. Dog beds fit well on folded down seats, or even on the floor of the vehicle. Make sure to have adequate food and water. Portable feeding dishes, especially designed for travel, are convenient and easy to obtain at any pet supply store. Dog waste bags and a leash are essential for the stops you will need to make on lengthy trips. Bring along your pet’s favorite toys to help him feel at ease and have something familiar close by.
With attention to these few rules, you and your dog can have an enjoyable trip and you can relax, knowing you’ve done your job in keeping your pet safe and happy.
Judy lives in Wisconsin with her husband and writes for her personal blog as well as her company’s. She works for Truck Champ Inc., which sells an array of truck accessories. An animal lover at heart, Judy has made it a mission to spread the word about safe pet transport for those who love to have their dogs while in transit.