KEEPING YOUR PET SAFE DURING TRAVEL
Posted on October 08 2018
We love our pets, they are a part of our family. It is not surprising that more and more people want to take their pets with them when they travel. But how do we keep them safe?
The first rule in your pet’s safety is to NEVER leave your dog alone and unattended in a car. By now we have all heard stories of pets dying after being left in a locked
vehicle. Cracking a window on an 80-degree day is not going to help. If you do not think you would be comfortable in the locked car then your dog will not be either.
Do not allow your dog free roam of the vehicle. Use a safety restraint that hooks to a seat belt or crate your dog. If a crash occurs, you want your dog to be restrained and protected. Choosing a car seat or booster seat is an ideal way to keep your pet safe. Usually a car seat has an adjustable strap that attaches to the headrest and it has car seat loops on the back allowing you to secure the seat safely, protecting your pet in the event of an accident or sudden stop. You have the option of zipping your pet inside or securing their collar to the safety strap inside the carrier and leaving the top open. The mesh top allows for plenty of ventilation if you decide to keep the carrier closed. This is ideal for dogs or for cats. For large breed dogs we like the Adjustable Car Safety Mesh Harness by Pawaboo. This harness is placed on your dog and then it secures to the seat belt of the car. It allows for enough movement so that your dog can lie down or sit up but still keeps him restrained from wandering the car and will keep him secure in the event of a sudden stop or crash.
We all need them. Make sure to stop and take your dog out for potty breaks every once in a while. I always take mine out when I need a break myself and when I stop for gas. Taking him out for a short walk to let him stretch his legs and relieve himself is crucial to his comfort, and will prevent him from having accidents in the car.
If your dog is prone to car sickness or is not used to car travel then it's best for him to travel on an empty stomach. You can also talk to your vet about medications that may help your dog with motion sickness. Always make sure your dog has fresh water though.
CRATING YOUR PET
You may think it is not fair to keep your dog in a crate, after all, you wouldn’t want to be locked in a crate. Don’t project your feelings onto your dog. Dogs often feel safest in a crate, they are den-dwelling animals and it is instinctual for them to find comfort in small confined spaces. Make sure your dog has been walked and exercised before placing him in the crate. Be sure to remove any harmful objects such as a loose collar or leash before placing him inside. Offer fresh water. You can buy clip-on bowls for most pets that will prevent the water from sliding or spilling while traveling. Put a comfortable bed in the crate for him to snuggle up on but remove any toys or chew treats that could cause a choking hazard.
Keep a doggie emergency kit in your car. Leash, extra collar, poop bags. Talk to your vet about Benadryl (in case your dog has an allergic reaction) and other over the counter medicines that are safe for your dog and find out what the vet recommended dose is based on your dog’s size. Bandages, topical antibiotics, scissors, nail trimmers, should also be included in the kit.
If you will be staying in a hotel with your pet make sure to research pet friendly hotels before leaving on your trip. You can read about some pet friendly hotels with amazing perks here. Before going into the room take your dog for a walk. Let him relieve himself and get used to the new smells. Your dog may feel nervous after the journey so be cautious when other animals or people approach you. Let him get used to his new surroundings.
Make sure that your dog is wearing a collar with ID tags at all times. Be sure the tag includes your cell phone number. If you are staying at one location for an extended time you can make a name tag instantly at many pet stores and even Walmart. You can include the name or address of the place you are staying at along with your cell phone and the hotel/ campground/ rental home number. You may also want to consider a permanent form of ID like microchipping. Make sure to have a current and clear photo of your dog with you in case he does get lost.
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