On-the-road with Fido: safety tips for happy trips
Summer is here, and you’re likely planning fun day trips with your family or maybe even a much-needed getaway for a few days. Once you’ve decided that you’ll be vacationing with your dog and have your Fetch! Pet Care sitter booked to look after your cat and fish while you’re away, the next step is then to ensure Fido’s safety while on-the-road.
Yet the thought of packing up her bowl and bone and driving to the coast with her panting out the back window may fill you with trepidation. If it’s not something you’ve done in the past, and if you have a noisy human pack to deal with too, it may seem like more effort than it’s worth. This isn’t the case. With a bit of common sense, some planning, and just a few spare dollars, you can easily make the shared car trip a pleasure for you and your pet, so you don’t have to spend the best weeks of summer without each other’s company.
There are a number of solutions for keeping her secure while you drive. If you have kids to transport too, it’s possible that the only spare room for your dog is in the way back of your SUV or station wagon. Well, a decent SUV way back is around the size of a decent kennel, so it’s a great option as long as you take steps to make it safe and comfortable. A dog who doesn’t fidget too much may even agree with being put in a dog crate to travel in the way back; a bigger dog, or one that likes to rearrange her sleeping position every few minutes, may be happy just with blankets. In this case, you should also think about buying a dog guard to put between the trunk and the back seat, so she neither jumps into the main body of the car nor is thrown there by a sudden unexpected stop.
If you have a bit of space in the rear seat, it can be nice to keep her up with the family instead. There are some great seat harnesses available that work with your existing human seat belt fixtures which can be found at your local pet supplies store or on Amazon. We recommend that alternatively, you buy a carry box that hangs safely over the back seat, giving a smaller dog a secure, elevated spot from which to observe what’s going on and feel like part of the pack.
If it’s just you and another traveling, then, of course, your dog could have the luxury of the whole rear seat to herself. In that case, if you trust her to stay relatively calm and still, you can actually buy a doggy hammock that hangs off the front and rear headrests to create a kind of cradle of the back seat – so she can’t fall into the foot space or get thrown up into the front. It’s good to get one with a non-slip underside so that your dog can stay securely on the seat.
We all know what a pain kids can be when you’re on a long drive, but for dogs, it’s even less natural – and they won’t always let you know when they’re unhappy. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take plenty of breaks as you travel. Stop when you can, and put her on the leash for a couple of minutes walk to cool off, have a drink of water, and go potty.
Here’s a handy infographic from our friends at Budget Direct to refer to if you plan on taking your dog on-the-road…
What are some of your safety tips when traveling with your dog? Let us know in the comments below…
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