How To Travel Safely With Your Dog in the Car
Most dogs love to go in the car with you, plus they make great companions on a road trip. And face it, it’s hard to leave Fido home. But whether you’re traveling across the country or just to the nearest dog park, taking your dog with you takes a little bit of planning and preparation…for safety’s sake.
How often are you driving down the street, and when you look at the car next to you, it looks like there’s a dog driving? Although there is no law in the state of Washington that specifically prohibits dogs from riding on the driver’s lap, there is such a thing as common sense, and there is a law against negligent driving.
The dog in our picture is not only obstructing the driver’s vision of traffic, but was very distracting as it moved back and forth on the seat. (Did I mention there was a 2nd dog darting around in the front seat of this car?) Yes, it’cute to see a dog with its head out the window, but is it safe?
I don’t mean to sound negative about taking your dog in the car, because I am not against it, I’m just concerned for your safety, others who are on the roads safety as well as your dog’s safety.
With that said, I’d like to share…
Some Tips for Safe Car Travels For You and Your Dog
- Although it’s safer for your dog to travel in the back seat or cargo area, it is all right for him/her to ride “shotgun” as long as she is restrained and as long as your car doesn’t have side air bags which can severely injure or kill your dog.
- Did you know that it’s $187 fine, in the state of Washington, if you have unsecured cargo/animals in your vehicle?
- There are harnesses made that will restrain your dog much like a seat belt with padded chest plates which convert to a walking harness when you want to go for a walk. I sell Wonder Walkers for $33 which has a matching strap for $14. (If you’re interested in this product please go to my contact page and send me a message.)
- If your dog is traveling in the back, you should use a dog crate or special barrier to keep her from roaming around the car, or being tossed around if by chance you are in an accident.
- When I was taking Yukon, my 125 pound Malamute to dog classes (before I became a trainer) I was on I5 going down a hill and it started hailing very hard. Everyone started braking very hard. Yukon who was in the back seat of my car, slid between the front bucket seats and put my car in park at about 40 mph! I have been a big supporter for seat belting dogs in!
- Refrain from letting your pup travel with her head out the window…not only could flying rocks or other objects hit and injure her, but in the event of an accident, she could be thrown from the car.
- Dogs traveling in a pick-up truck should also be restrained. By tethering her to the truck, you can avoid broken bones and bruises if you need to turn sharply, stop quickly or hit a pot hole.
- Several years ago, a lady I know was driving down the road, when an oncoming pick-up truck with two untethered German Shepherds in the back, stopped just in front of her in preparation to turn into his driveway. When the truck stopped, the dogs recognized that they were home and immediately jumped out of the bed of the pickup truck right in the path of the lady’s car, who had to slam on the brakes in order to avoid hitting one of them. This could have had a very sad outcome.
- If your dog gets car sick, but loves to travel with you anyway, it might be helpful for her to travel on an empty stomach.
- Rescue Remedy and Happy Traveler supplements are great for dogs with car sickness. Dramamine and or benadryl can be used, too, but check with your vet before using and for dosage which varies from size and weight of dog.
- Always have Fido’s leash with you, and put it on before opening the door to prevent her from bolting and becoming separated from you and possibly lost.
- If you’re traveling long distances, you should plan for several stops for potty breaks and time to move about a little bit.
- Don’t leave your dog locked in your car alone. Whether it’s hot or cold, both can cause harm to your dog. In a car, if it’s hot outside, it’s hotter inside the car, and if it’s cold outside the car holds the cold in and could cause your dog to freeze.
Taking your dog in the car with you can be fun times, just take a little time to prepare so it can be a fun time!
Pawsitive Steps Dog Training believes that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are under given circumstances and situations.
Check out our Family Friendly Training Classes