Dogs are on the go with us these days. Wherever we go, our dogs go with us, too. Whether we’re traveling across the country or just going to the vet, dogs spend a lot of time in our vehicles. Here are some tips for safe driving with your dog.
1. Use a crate or harness for your dog when he’s traveling with you. Whether you have a large dog or a small dog, it’s much safer for your dog to be in a crate or safely harnessed in your car. Just as you are safer wearing a seatbelt when you ride in your car, your dog is safer when he is protected by a crate or harness. If you have an accident a dog in a crate will not be thrown through the window. If the crate is thrown around the vehicle your dog will have more protection. If the crate is thrown from the car, your dog won’t be loose on the road. Pet harnesses also provide some degree of protection in case of an accident.
2. Don’t let a small dog ride in your lap. If your dog slides down he can interfere with your use of the gas pedal and brakes. A dog in your lap can interfere with you when you’re steering. Driving with a dog in your lap is very dangerous.
3. When you travel with your dog in your vehicle make sure that he is wearing a collar with up to date contact identification. Your contact information should also include your vet’s address or someone who can take care of your dog in case of an accident. If you are in an accident you want people to be able to identify your dog immediately.
If you are taken to the hospital your dog would be separated from you. Anyone responding to the scene would need to be able to contact your dog’s ID information and speak to someone who could take care of your dog while you are being treated. Most veterinarians can take care of a dog for a few days while an owner is laid up. If you’re in the hospital longer than that other arrangements can be made, such as having a friend take your dog. So, make sure that your dog’s ID and contact information is up to date.
4. When you’re driving with your dog you should take along a water bowl and some water from home or bottled water. You never know when your dog may get thirsty when you’re out together. It’s good to have a water bowl for your dog that stays in the car at all times so it’s always there when you travel.
If you are going to be gone for more than just a few hours you should plan accordingly. Take your dog’s food, feed dish, bedding, favorite toys and other indispensable items for overnight trips.
5. Keep a copy of your dog’s vaccination records in your glove box. Your dog should be wearing his rabies tag and other local tags on his collar when you travel. It’s always possible that law enforcement or some other organization could ask to see proof that your dog is up-to-date on his shots. Most states require that your dog be current on his vaccinations when entering their state. This information is rarely asked for, but it can be requested if you are stopped by the police, for instance.
If you keep these tips in mind then driving with your dog you can have many safe and happy driving experiences on the road together.
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