Cruising with Fido: Tips for a Safe and Fun Car Ride with Your Dog

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February 7, 2015
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Most dogs love car rides. It’s exciting to them to look out the window and watch the buildings, trees, and other cars whizz by. The wind and different smells keep their noses moving and will bounce from window to window.

Dogs like to explore and having them loose in the car allows them to move around and find their perfect perch spot. Now, not all dogs will bound around. Some will find their spot and settle down. Some dogs I know just lay down in the backseat and don’t move. But, an overly excited dog might get in your way as you drive and that can create a dangerous situation for you.

Make sure your car rides are safe:

Keep Fido in the back seat: Keeping your dog in the back protects them for the harm of an airbag opening and hurting them. Airbags open with a force of about 200 miles an hour, which could severely injure your pet. Car harnesses aren’t 100% safe but they prevent your dog from blocking the rearview mirror, trying to sit on your lap, or hitting the gear shift.

For the safety of your pet and you, remember to use a pet safety harness and keep your dog in the backseat. Car harnesses can be purchased at your local pet store. They look very similar to a regular walking harness but have a strap where the seat belt fits through. Your dog can sit, stand, and stretch out in the backseat comfortably and you can concentrate on the road.

Use a crate: If you are going on a long trip, you may want to use a carrier or dog crate in the back hatch area of your car. If you have a large car or SUV, a mid-size dog crate fits in the back with plenty of room for your luggage. Your dog can lie down, have a bowl of water, and some food. It also will keep your dog from losing his/her balance as easily as when standing on the backseat when you make that right or left turn. For long trips, it is best to not feed your dog a regular size meal but many small snacks. It will help prevent motion sickness.

Keep Fido IN the car: Not every dog needs to be restrained. If you have a dog that doesn’t bounce around the car in a hyper manner, you’re very lucky! However, never let your dog stick its head out the window. It’s not safe and the wind can actually give your dog an ear infection. Dust, debris, and that flying cigarette from the car in front of you could hurt your pup!

Opening the window a few inches is enough for your dog to smell the air, enjoy the breeze, and stay safe. Also, you’ll be able to make sure your dog doesn’t accidentally fall out the window or jump if there’s something worth chasing!

If your destination isn’t too far and the weather is perfect, skip the car, put on your best sneakers, and take the walk! Your dog will thank you for it. Remember, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

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