If your dog loves to ride in the car, you may be tempted to hit the open road and enjoy a few driving trips with your pet. Before you get behind the wheel with your pooch in tow, keep these safety tips in mind.
Everybody buckles up
This includes your dog--seatbelts aren’t just for humans--because it’s safer for both of you if your pet is restrained using a harness designed for use with seatbelts. These tether to the actual seatbelt or one of the cargo tie downs in some vehicles. It may seem more fun to let your pet wander freely in the car, but this is a bad idea for several different reasons.
A wandering dog is a distraction to the driver. If you have to slam on your car’s brakes, your pet can be thrown from its seat and become seriously injured, or it may seriously injure another passenger. Don’t take a chance, buckle everyone in for safety’s sake.
Car seats, air bags, and dogs
Smaller dogs benefit from the special car seats designed just for dogs, but if you use one, be aware of where you put it. Secure the seat using your seatbelt or an approved harness system. The safest spot is in the middle of the back seat, but regardless of where you use it, make sure your pet isn’t positioned close to an active airbag. If you can switch off the airbags in the seat where your pet will be, do it. Otherwise, move your pet to a seat without airbags.
Using a crate in your vehicle is an easy and effective way to keep your dog safe. This provides a feeling of security for your dog as well if they get anxious during car rides.
As much fun as your dog thinks it is to have his head hanging out the open window, it’s really a bad idea. Not only can he get projectiles in his eyes (think insects, road debris), but your pet could be injured by things close to your car, like mailboxes or items that fall off of other vehicles. If your pet wants a breeze, roll down the window just a little, but don’t let your pet stick its head out while you’re driving.
For more great tips on caring for your pet, visit the Bark Busters blog regularly.