Road Trips With Dogs – Tips and Tricks

July 9th, 2018 by

Now that summertime is here, it’s time to take advantage of the warm, sunny weather. There’s nothing better than driving around with your furry friend in your car, truck, or Jeep. When traveling with your pet, however, there are many different factors to take into consideration.

Whether you’re planning a summer vacation or a quick weekend road trip, people have many choices when it comes to choosing what to do with their pets, and the first question is whether or not they will come with you at all. For some people, the best option is to take your dog along for the adventure. For others, the best option is to leave pets with a family member or friend or get them boarded at a kennel. Not all pets do well in the car for long periods of time, so one must consider their animal’s ability to travel the specific distance by vehicle.

Ready for a ride with your furry friend?

Ready for a ride with your furry friend?

Pet owners must also understand what it takes to travel safely with a pet in the car.  It’s very tempting to want to show pets affection while driving; you may even want to put them on your lap. Obviously, this may interfere with the ability to see clearly and drive accurately. Just make sure your dog is comfortable, hydrated, cool and safe at all times – and not in your lap, roaming around or interfering with the driver.

Contrary to popular belief, letting pets hang out of the window does more harm than good. It may seem to be harmless and cute, but a dog that rides with his head outside of the window risks serious injury. As the speed of the car increases, it is hit with debris that’s carried by the wind or kicked up from other vehicles. Debris has the potential to hit the dog in the face. A dog may also fall out of the vehicle or jump out. In the event of an accident, a pet hanging out of the window may face severe injury or even death.

This is why research into proper restraints is a very important consideration when keeping your dog safe on the road. In the event of a traumatic accident, seats, straps and carriers can come into play by protecting animals from being thrown around or ejected from the vehicle. Depending on the size of your dog, various types of restraints may be available.  Check with your vet or local pet store for options for your particular pup.

Often on long trips, stops for restroom or meal breaks are essential for the human passengers.  Leaving your pet in the car is never a good idea. When a car is parked, the interior temperature may rise as much as 20 degrees in as little as 10-15 minutes. After an hour, the temperature can be up to 40 degrees higher than the temperature outside. Even on a mild, but sunshiny day, with outdoor temperatures of 65 degrees, a car’s interior could elevate to 105 degrees or higher in almost no time at all.  When you do need to stop to use the restroom or grab a bite, take turns with other responsible passengers to walk the dog, feed them or give them water and allow them the stretch their legs instead of leaving them in your car, even if it’s running.  Pass through the drive-thru if need be and stop frequently regardless to give everyone a break.

When traveling this summer with your dog, be mindful of the rules of the road, the awareness of the driver and the comfort and safety of your pet with the tips listed above.  Enjoy the scenery, take multiple breaks and have a wonderful summer road trip!

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