Getting ready to take your dog on a car trip? Before you hit the open road, there are a few things you can do to make sure your dog is safe in the car. That way, you can crack the windows, feel the breeze, and enjoy the scenery, knowing your dog is safe and sound.
Road Trip Essentials for Your Dog's Safety
The first part of dog car safety is making sure you have these five essentials on hand.
1. Car Safety Equipment
Cars come standard with seat belts for a reason. Unfortunately, vehicles don’t come with doggy belts, so you need to purchase equipment that is tested for canine safety. Sleepypod carriers and safety and harnesses come with top safety ratings from the Center for Pet Safety. In the event of an accident, Sleepypod's Pet Passenger Restraint System (PPRS) components secure your dog and restrict him from harmful movement.
2. First Aid Kit
You just never know what may happen on the road, so it’s good to have a first aid kit for you and your dog.
3. Extra Leash and Collar
Keeping your dog close to you keeps him safe. Having a spare collar and lead is always a good idea. Keep them in the glove box of your car, so if one leash and collar gets wet, dirty, or tangled, you'll have another set on hand.
4. Medical Records
Should something unfortunate happen (like getting into an accident or encountering an emergency or natural disaster while traveling), knowing exactly what shots your dog has had, what medications he is on, and whether he has any preexisting conditions is very important.
Some dogs won’t drink strange water, so bring some from home. It’s also good to have water if you get stranded. And don’t forget bowls –- Sleepypod’s Yummy Travel Bowls are made from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food-grade, BPA-free silicone. Yummy Travel Bowls have a spill-resistant water bowl plus a food bowl so you can carry water and food in one tidy package.
Get Your Dog Used to His Car Safety Equipment
Be sure to get your dog’s travel carrier or harness ahead of the trip to get him used to it and to ensure you purchased the right size.
If you're using a Sleepypod carrier, simply treat it like crate training. Get your dog to love his new travel carrier by leaving the door open, so he can go in and out as he pleases. Any time he goes in, reward him with a yummy treat or toy. Feed him his meals in the crate. When your dog is going in and out of the carrier on his own, start shutting the door and leave him in there for short periods of time, while he enjoys his meal, a toy, or chewie treat. Gradually build up the length of time.
If your dog is using the Clickit Sport or new Clickit Terrain, you will want to put the harness on him and let him wear it around the house, so he gets used to the feel of it. Dogs that are not used to wearing a harness may become stressed by a change in routine, so only leave the harness on him for a few minutes at a time at first, and practice having him wear it in the car, gradually increasing the length of time in your trips.
Preparing Your Dog for a Safe Road Trip
Finally, start by taking your dog on a short trip to town to test out all of the equipment. This also lets you make any adjustments, if necessary, before your long drive. Some dogs get sick if they are not accustomed to long car rides. They may be fine with a short ride, but can become anxious or sick with longer trips.
If you have a dog that has a history of carsickness, talk to your veterinarian about medications and supplements that may help ease his stomach. Do not feed your dog right before you hit the road. Try and plan meals, while on the road, when you will have at least one hour for his food to settle before getting driving again. Luckily, being secured in a Sleepypod carrier or harness can cut down on stress and carsickness, as well.
These are just simple tips, but following them will help you have a safe road trip with your dog and one that you can both enjoy.
Learn more about Sleepypod's lifesaving products here.
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