When my daughter was a baby, she was safely strapped into her car seat and now, of course, is not allowed to travel by car without a seatbelt on. Additionally, I was always prepared for emergencies with food, change of clothes, toys, and any other necessities she might need. Now, like many dog owners, I can’t bear the thought of leaving my pups at home. This means whether I am heading out to work, going on outings, or travelling for vacation, the dogs are going to be in the car. Safety and travel preparedness for pets should receive the same thoughtful preparation as traveling with children.
Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when travelling with your dog.
Dogs should not sit in the front sit. The deployment of an air bag could cause significant injury to a dog. If your dog happens to be in the front seat without a safety constraint, a sudden stop will impact your dog in the same way it impacts a human- it will be thrown forward hitting either the dashboard or (worse yet) hitting the windshield.
Dogs should either be constrained with a safety harness in the back seat or placed safely in a travel crate in the far back of the car/SUV. One of our favorite companies, Kurgo Pet Products makes fantastic products to safely transport pets. In addition to providing products to keep your car clean and from being damaged by claws, dirt, fur, etc….they offer a wide range of seatbelt constraints for all dogs. We have peace of mind knowing that BOLO can ride safely during car trips.
Getting in and out of the car can be a challenge as well. It’s easy to pick up small dogs and get them in and out of a car easily, but what about larger dogs? Dog can incur injury to joints jumping in and out of the car. To protect BOLO’s joints and bones getting in and out of my SUV, we have her using the OTTO STEP.
For emergencies, make sure your car is equipped with an emergency kit. Denise Fleck, owner of Sunny Dog Ink offers a fully equipped pet first aid kit with everything you will need http://bit.ly/1eRa7Bs. If you like to hike with your dogs, as I do, you should also be armed with Sunny Dog Ink’s “Dog On-The-Go” Ultimate Hiking and Travel First-Aid Kit.
Later this month, we will be taking BOLO to a trade show in Florida. This requires air travel and there are many things one can do to ensure that travel runs smoothly and safely. Fortunately, BOLO will be allowed to journey in the cabin and, as a future Leader Dog, is not required to be contained in a crate under the seat. This is a good thing because, at 35lbs+, she is too big. However, if you do have a dog or cat travelling with you on a flight, Sturdi Products makes some of the best collapsible and soft top carriers. Additionally, they make collapsible crates, which will be perfect for BOLO when we stay in a hotel. What I like most is that, because the soft crate is collapsible, I can easily bring it with me to the trade show we are attending to provide BOLO with a place to escape when she is tired.