Having a furry best friend is amazing. While you like snuggling up and palling around at home with your fur baby, it’s nice to take them on trips too. Consider these tips before you get in your vehicle.
1. Make Sure You Have Room
Dogs come in a variety of sizes, and so do our little friends. You need to consider that a teacup Chihuahua might topple over with an abrupt stop, and you need to consider whether your German shepherd is a good fit for your small hatchback. For larger dogs, you should consider using a large vehicle. If you don’t have one, you might want to look into getting an affordable large vehicle, like a truck or Ford Expedition for sale. You don’t have to get smaller vehicles for little dogs, but you want to put them in a pet carrier with padding to prevent them from getting hurt. You can always lay down your seats or put your friend in the back.
2. Get Your Dog Used to Riding in the Car
Many dogs have to ease into the idea of riding in a vehicle. Older dogs can get frightened about riding in the car. If you start them early and they’re not traumatized by anything in a vehicle, they generally do well. Most often, dogs get into the habit of hopping into vehicles when they see their owners grab their keys and open the door. If your dog freaks out in your vehicle and you need to take them to a place like the veterinarian, you can give them medication to help keep them calm.
3. Safety Is Important
You want to consider your dog’s safety, but you have to consider your own too. Your dog shouldn’t distract you while you’re driving. Some dogs like to put their heads out of windows while you drive, but this can be dangerous. Something could hit them, you could get into an accident, or they might jump out. The same is true for dogs that like to ride in the back of pickup trucks. Keep your dog secure with a few methods. Ideally, you want your best friend to ride in the back seat. Dog carriers have already been mentioned, but you can use a special restraint device that’s specifically designed for dogs. It can secure your dog in the same manner you would use a seat belt. Dog guards can prevent your dog from flying into your front seat in the event you have to stop quickly. If you have a smaller dog, you need to consider that they can run underneath your seat and your feet, which can get in the way of stopping or accelerating when you need to.
4. Keep Your Vehicle Clean
Some dog breeds don’t shed, some shed very little, and most others shed quite a bit. Regardless, there are a variety of products you can and should take advantage of in your vehicle. Backseat covers help to keep fur and accidents away from your seats. It can also help to keep your best friend from getting hurt. Some pet carriers can be secured or attached to seat belts to help them from moving around. They’re made with sturdy, soft material to prevent falls and other problems. Keep small baggies, wipes, puppy pads, a water bowl and anything else you can think of that will help your dog be comfortable, contain messes and help for cleanup. However, even when using protective covers, you will still need to clean the car out every once in a while to keep the resale value.
Despite how fun it is to take dogs on trips, please use your discretion. If it’s going to be a hot day, don’t leave your dog inside your vehicle. It doesn’t matter how quick you’ll be in the store. It’s better to leave them at home than chance it.
Sasha McGregor is a part-time freelance writer and full-time educator.