On the Road With Your Dog

February 13th, 2013 by

Traveling with petsThere are few things that our dogs love more than riding in the car. If a walk is a 60 on the fun meter, and playing catch is an 80, going for a car ride is a solid 100. Getting to leave the proximity of the house and surrounding neighborhood must be something akin to space travel to them. Even if its just a short 10 minute trip to and back from the store, it puts them in a good mood for hours.

They seem to have this psychic sense of when I’m about to take a drive, too. The simple action of me getting up and heading downstairs will cause them to scurry and wait patiently by the garage door. Even from another room, they can hear the tell tale signs of jackets ruffling and keys jingling.

There are a few rules we have, though. A dog should never be up in the driver’s area. A suddenly movement or distraction can cause a life threatening accident. And while it is tempting to ride with a small dog or puppy in your lap, this only increases the risk of something happening. Pets are unpredictable, and a sudden movement could cause you to jerk the wheel and endanger the lives of everyone in the car. Not only that, but an airbag deployment will undoubtedly crush the pet to death.

During longer trips, we crate our pets. We’re also careful to monitor them to make sure how they’re doing. Special dog seat harnesses are another recommended option. Working much like seat belts, they are one of the best ways to protect your pet in case of an accident.

Other Tips for Better Traveling

  • •   Always bring a leash with you, even if it’s just a short trip. You never know when your pet is going to need a break from the car. Some extra baggies for pet bathroom breaks are also recommended, and maybe even a small, portable garbage can to temporarily store them if there is no on-site disposal.
  • •   A towel or fitted seat cover to collect dog hair. If your pets are like mine, they leave a furry imprint of themselves wherever they’ve been. A seat cover is much easier to clean than getting the hair out of every inch of the seat.
  • •   Extra water and a bowl! This is always a good idea, especially if you’re headed to the dog park. A dog can easily get dehydrated, especially on a long trip. Make sure they get plenty of water!

Treats! A small treat can help to calm a fidgety pet. It can also be used to reward good car behavior.