Thursday, March 23, 2017

Happy National Puppy Day! Here are some safe travel tips for you and your furry friend

Today is National Puppy Day and what better way to celebrate than to take your canine companion on a C-A-R   R-I-D-E to some of his favorite places.

Some pet parents really enjoy traveling with their furry family members. According to a AAA/Kurgo Pet Passenger Safety Study, around 56 percent of all Americans travel with their pups at least once a month.

Whether you are heading down the street, the dog park or even out to a dog-friendly business, there are some “pawesome” ways that you can ensure that you and your best friend enjoy your time together and arrive safely.

Avoid doggy distractions, and leave the front seat for your human family members. Distracted driving can be caused by more than cellphone use and changing the radio station. Allowing your pup to ride on your lap can result in a number of dangers. Your dog could get stuck in the steering wheel while you are driving, or jump down and block the brake and acceleration pedals.  Even the “cute factor” of seeing your dog enjoy the ride is enough of a distraction to keep him delegated to the back seat. Your dog will still be just as cute and happy at your destination. 

Dogs belong inside the vehicle. As much as we believe that our dogs love to hang out of car windows and feel the wind on their faces, we are exposing them to a number of risks. Pollution from the cars around you can make your dog ill and dust and debris could be kicked up into their nose, ears and eyes. A passing vehicle could also clip them and turn what could have been an enjoyable car ride into a tragic nightmare. Keeping your windows rolled up prevents injury and even escape, which brings us to our next tip.

Restrain or secure your pup.  There are several ways you can do this. Some pet supply stores offer harnesses and doggy seat belts that will help your pooch stay in the back seat. There is a difference from a restraint and a secure harness.

A restraint will simply keep the dog in the back seat. It will provide the dog with enough movement to lay down comfortably.  However, in the event of a car crash, this will not keep your dog as safe as a secured harness would. Some dogs may not tolerate that level of restriction so training may be required.

Dogs shouldn’t be left alone inside cars. Just as with human children, leaving your dog unattended in an enclosed car is life-threatening. On warm days it doesn’t take long before a car can reach a deadly level of heat inside the vehicle, even when the windows are cracked. Leaving your pet alone can also attract pet thieves. If you can’t bring your dog with you, have someone wait in the car or simply leave them at home. They will be safer and happier.

Always have your dog’s collar, ID tag and leash with you when you travel. This will keep your dog with you, and help bring them home if they get lost.

Doggy car activities will help keep your dog occupied while you travel. Some good items could be your dog’s favorite type of chewing treat, a dog-puzzle toy or even a brand new.

Extra food and water are essential to traveling. If you are going out of town with your dog, be prepared for an extra day or two’s worth of food and ensure that your pet stays hydrated. Traveling can be stressful, and your dog will need plenty of water—and stops to stay healthy.

Visit the vet before you travel long-distance. Make sure your dog is healthy enough to travel before you leave. Your vet may also have some medical suggestions that can help your dog stay comfortable on your journey. Use this time to get a copy of your dog’s vaccination records in case you want to take your dog somewhere that may require it such a pet festival or to the groomers.

Wherever you choose to take your dog, remember to consider its safety. Dogs love unconditionally and will be happy because they are with you. 

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