Going on the road with your furry best friend sounds like a perfect way to spend a vacation, but is it? Before you hit the highway together, be sure they’re ready for the trip and that you’re ready for whatever happens by answering the following questions about the best ways to keep your dog safe in the car.
Should They Travel at All?
Even if your dog is thrilled by a short ride to the vet, their eagerness to travel doesn’t mean that they should. Clearly, you should never travel with a sick, injured, or pregnant animal, but you should also consider whether your dog is too young or old for the trip. If they’re a biter, loud barker, or are prone to motion sickness, you won’t enjoy spending your vacation monitoring or hearing them, and they certainly won’t either.
Are You Prepared for Anything?
You’ve packed your clothes, toiletries, sleeping bag, and survival snacks. You’re ready to go! Dogs, on the other hand, are notoriously bad packers. Prepare your pup with food and bottled water (unfamiliar local water can cause upset tummies), a comforting blanket or toy, and any necessary medication. A first aid kit is a good idea for both of you as well. Do some research and see if there’s a local vet who will see your doggo if worse comes to worst.
Are Dogs Welcome Where You’re Going?
Your pooch may have the run of your backyard, but that doesn’t mean they’re free to wander at your chosen destination. Consider whether it’s worth bringing them at all. They may be delighted with new territory to explore, but the environment may not be so good for them. As such, be sure they have a collar with ID and rabies tags, and if they haven’t been microchipped, do so.
How Much Freedom Should They Have?
Your dog may be even more excited about your trip than you are; maybe too excited. If they have trouble controlling themselves—climbing, jumping, and licking your face as you try to drive—it puts you both in danger. Train your dog well before you embark on your trip for an easier time of it. And, if necessary (or if you haven’t had a chance to train your dog for car rides), a carrier or crate is one of the best ways to keep your dog safe in the car. Ensure it allows them to breathe easily, turn around, holds a blanket and fixed water and food dishes, and (most importantly) that it’s leakproof. One big piece of advice: as cute as they may be when they’re doing it, never let your dog ride with its head out the window. It leaves them open to injury from passing vehicles and road debris.
They may not be great conversationalists and they can’t take turns at the wheel, but when you look out for them, your dog can make for a terrific traveling companion—wherever the road leads!