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10 Day Trip Safety Tips for Your Dog

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We love day tripping with our dogs–and, as the authors of Day Trips from Austin, Day Trips from San Antonio, and Day Trips from Houston–we do a LOT of day tripping to keep our books updated!

As we all know, accidents can and do certainly happen close to home so safety is just as important on a day trip as on a two-week vacation.

A survey by Progressive showed that over half the auto accidents occur within five miles of the person’s home. Another figure we saw said that only one percent of accidents occur more than 50 miles from home.

Here’s a look at our day trip safety routine:

This week's day trip took us to "Stonehenge," an art installation in Ingram, Texas.

Before the Trip

  1. We get out travel collars which include their rabies tag and an extra ID tag with our cell numbers. Although our dogs wear collars every day, they only wear a basic ID tag with our home address and phone. We don’t live in a municipal area so they aren’t required to wear a rabies tag at home.
  2. We charge our Whistle GPS units for the dogs’ collars. Our dogs wear them around the clock but we always make sure we go into a day trip with a full battery on each. (The Whistle units only need recharging every few days.) One thing I don’t like is that the units are sometimes mistaken for bark collars by people who aren’t familiar with them; they are nothing like that. The device makes no sound or vibration when the dog leaves the “home” area that you’ve designated but you receive a notification on the phone that you dog is outside the area. That’s it. The device provides a lot of peace of mind for us when we’re traveling.
  3. We pack enough water for the dogs for the entire day; it’s much easier on their tummies than getting local water (and cheaper than buying bottled water).
  4. Our dogs eat a light breakfast; we pack the remainder of their food for a picnic lunch.

On the Road

  1. Our dogs wear their Kurgo harnesses; they’re then buckled in before the car starts.
  2. Windows remain up or down just a crack. At times when the AC isn’t absolutely necessary (not that often in Texas!), we roll down the windows but the back seat windows remain open just enough for the dogs to put a nose out. If your dog’s face can go out the window, his eyes are at risk from flying insects, rocks and more.
  3. Until they’re leashed, the dogs remain buckled in; only once the leash is on are their seat belt connectors unbuckled. Only when they’re calm do we proceed to let them out of the car.

During the Day Trip

  1. We travel with a list of veterinary offices in the towns we’ll be passing through and visiting.
  2. Our dogs remain on leash on our walks.
  3. We keep a close eye out for potential hazards: discarded chicken bones in picnic areas, bait and lures in fishing spots, etc.

After the Day Trip

  1. Once we’re home, we do a quick hands-on check of the dogs to make sure they haven’t picked up any hitchhikers: ticks, burrs, or stickers.
  2. If our day trip included a swim at the lake, we give each dog a quick bath.
  3. We replenish any items we’ve used from our day trip packing list and get ready planning our next doggie day trip!

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Paris Permenter
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