If you’re like most people, your dog is an important part of your family, and, as some would argue, the most important member of the family. If this sounds like you, then odds are that you have driven with your dog around town before. Whether it’s running out to a dog park or just going for a drive to pick up the kids, you love taking your dog with you.
He gets a great kick out of it, and it’s fun for you, too, to have someone to talk to. As you can probably guess, however, there are many safety guidelines and tips out there for making sure that you and your pet have a great, safe time on the roads.
Make sure your dog is comfortable with the car
Many dogs find the car fun, but there are some who don’t like being in it at all. These tend to be the dogs who have lived past lives that are uncertain (such as rescue dogs), or those who have had bad experiences in cars. If you are someone who wants to bring their dog with them, make sure your dog is finding the car a good place to be, and not a bad one. The last thing you want to do is force your dog to come with you if he is upset or scared.
Additionally, you can train your dog to like the car by introducing it to him in short trips that always end with him somewhere that is pleasant, like a park or a favourite walking spot. He’ll start to understand, then, that good things happen when he goes in the car.
Make sure he is strapped in, or in a kennel
Safety first. Make sure that your dog is carefully secured in his kennel (which is strapped in, too), or at least in a seat-belt. Dogs can become hurt (or can hurt you) if they are loose in a car during an accident. As well, dogs like the idea of being strapped in because it makes them feel as though they are secure and taken care of.
You may find that an unstrapped dog is anxious and pacing, whereas a strapped dog is perfectly behaved and simply enjoys looking out the window as you drive around town together.
Regardless of your opinion on the matter, safety should come first when you take your dog out for a drive. Remember that.
There are a lot different types of crates, so use one that meets your needs. Sturdy ones like MidWest Life Stages Folding Metal Dog Crate or plastic ones are considered better as they are aren’t chew-able and give additional protection. If your dog is not crate trained, use sturdy car harnesses (never collars) that are secured to a seat belt like Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness
Never leave your dog alone in the car
Never leave your dog in the car alone, after all, you wouldn’t leave your kids there. A warm or cold day can be enough to kill a dog if he is left inside a car too long. It easily gets too cold or too hot while your dog is trapped in that metal box. No one wants to witness a tragedy like that, so take your dog’s health and safety seriously.
On the other hand you are leaving them exposed to potential scary events like rude kids or sudden thunders. I’d go by the rule – if you would leave you kids in a car alone then leave your dog too. I would lie if I say that I never leave Kala alone in the car, I do, but only if I’m just getting out for a second to grab something and never in the summer time.
After all, some of the US states have laws prohibiting leaving your pet in the car and other advising against it and it’s not for no reason.
Don’t let him hang his head out the window
It’s understandable that he’s going to want to stick out his head and enjoy the fresh air, but you have to make sure that he doesn’t do that. Sticking his head out the window while driving is dangerous for you, your dog and the other drivers.
Having him hanging out the window will distract you, meaning your likelihood of getting into an accident will be much higher, making you a danger to yourself and other drivers. Additionally, a dog can suffer serious damage to his eyes and nose by debris hitting him in the wind. It is a serious problem that a lot of people don’t think about when driving with their dog.
A good compromise is to open the window when you get to a parking lot, or to open the window when you’re driving just enough so that he can smell the breeze. That’s all he wants to do, anyway, so let him press his nose up to the gap, but make sure the window isn’t open enough so that he can stick his snout through.
He’ll be happier than ever, and no one will be stressed out or in danger of getting hurt. Sounds good, right?
These tips do not make up an exhaustive list for how to drive with your dog, but they do create a great baseline to start from so that you can start to enjoy drives with your dog around town. You can do it safely so that both you and him can enjoy the trip, and both of you will get a lot out of the bond that you develop while on the road.
It’s a great way to enjoy an afternoon together, so put it on your “to do” list with your family sometime soon.