When the days start getting warmer and the pavements dry out, nothing sounds more enticing than taking a road trip with your pooch. Whether you’re heading to the nearest dog park or planning to set out on a cross-country road trip, there are safety precautions that you must take when driving with a pet.
For the most part, dogs make eager travel companions. You’ve probably seen a number of them posing up a storm on Instagram with their owners. With the right equipment, you too can go on long and enjoyable trips with your four-legged pal. But for the travel to be completely worry-free, thorough preparation is needed.
Know Before You Go: 5 Car Safety Items for Dogs
To help you get started, here are car safety items for dogs you must prepare before hitting the road with your furry friend.
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1. Vehicle restraints
No matter how hard you try to abide by traffic laws, accidents can still happen. When a pet is involved in one, they could suffer multiple injuries, if not restrained properly. Seat belts remain to be the best vehicle safety device and one of the must-have car safety items for dogs. It reduces the risk of serious damage and keeps your pets from moving around the vehicle so much.
Before you go driving with your dog, look for a harness or belt that is especially designed for them. This should be able to fit the animal’s build, and the webbing should be securely attached to its end fittings or anchorage points. Ideally, it is important that the restraint has gone through crash tests and passed. It must also have a padding in the chest area to lessen damage from an impact.
You better get that image of your dog hanging their head outside the window off your head; not only is this very, very hazardous, but it also happens to be illegal in most states. When inside a moving vehicle, dogs should never be allowed to roam free. Other than increasing the risk of injury when a road accident happens, they themselves could be the cause of an accident.
Other than restraints, a dog crate will also do you good especially when you have a large canine. Select a crate that is big enough to allow your dog to stand up comfortably. There should be enough space for them to turn around as well.
The crate should be fastened in place. SUVs, minivans, and wagons have tie-down straps in the cargo area that allow users to safely secure a crate.
3. Dog tracker
You might be thinking, Why do I need a dog tracker when my pet’s inside a vehicle? When it comes to traveling with a pet, you never know what the next detour is. You may get into an accident while on the road, or you could end up losing your dog when you make a stop at the gas station.
GPS pet trackers give you peace of mind by providing your pet’s real-time location. Simply attach the device to your pet’s collar and access the GPS data through an app. So in case they ever run off, you won’t have to aimlessly keep searching for them.
4. Pet barrier
As the name implies, barriers are designed to block off a certain section of the car. It’s there to minimize the impact from accidents and prevent the dog from reaching the driver. Experts recommend you use a barrier alongside other car safety items for dogs like crate or harness for optimum security. Barriers are made of materials like metal, plastic, or mesh. You can install it anywhere to provide a safe area for your dog for the duration of the trip. For example, you can place it behind the front seats or behind the back seats if you keep the dog in the cargo area.
5. Pet seat
Pet seats are ideal for smaller dogs. Since they can’t reach the windows, a pet car seat will safely elevate them. Be vigilant when selecting a dog car seat, as not every design has safety features. The first thing you should look for in pet car seats are the clips that attach securely to your car’s seat belt and the dog’s own harness. Avoid clipping the pet seat on your dog’s collar, though, as this could end up strangling them in the even that an accident happens.
There’s no doubt that dogs make excellent companions on road trips. With the proper equipment and a go signal from your veterinarian, you no longer have to think twice about taking them with you. So always make their safety your top priority and remember to have loads of fun!