If you are planning a road trip with your pet or just a quick trip to the dreaded vet...there are a few things you can do to ensure your pets safety, and yours.
First, if you have a small dog or cat, the best way to safely transport them is in a crate. Believe it or not, most small animals actually feel safer in a crate as opposed to free roaming in the car where they can also pose a hazard for you the driver. For bigger dogs, there are a variety of of harnesses that attach to the seat belt. If you have a SUV, pet barriers are another option. This is also very important in case you are involved in a car accident. If the animal is restrained, their chances of serious injury is lower. Also, when the police or paramedics arrive, they will be able to do their job without having to worry about a loose animal.
Never let your animal ride in the front seat with you, much like small children, they are safer in the back seat due to the airbags. And for all of you pickup truck owners, if you put your dog in the back of the truck...YOU risk severe injury or death...from ME If I happen to be behind you....if you have someone else in the truck and there is no room for the dog.....make them walk!
Don't let your dog ride with his head sticking out the window; he could be hurt by flying debris. They could also decide to chase down that sexy poodle for her number or go after that handsome rock star Rottweiler...and out the window they go!
On long trips, make sure to pack food, water and a simple first aid kit. Be prepared to make frequent stops for exercise and bathroom breaks. Pit stops also help for those dogs who have car anxiety. "The Werewolf" hates the car...she's getting better...but if we go too long without a break...I'm cleaning up either vomit or worse....much much worse......
Try not to leave your pet in a parked car. Sometimes, its unavoidable, like paying for gas. Try to park the car where you will be able to keep an eye on it and lock the doors! Pet theft ,especially of purebreds is on the rise due to the economy. Aside from theft, depending on the climate, the pet could be subjected to heat stroke (even in moderate weather) or hypothermia....if you are going to be more than a few minutes, don’t bring your pet! How would you feel if someone left you in a car while they went shopping or for a nice steak dinner for hours? I shouldn’t have to even write this, but the truth is I have seen it too many times. Once I came upon a car at a all day Renaissance Festival and someone left their dog in the car...In the summer...Don't be that person....Don't make me bust out your window and call the police.
Once you get to your destination, leash your dog immediately. Maintain control before the dog gets out the car. Practice the WAIT command. "The Werewolf" does real well with this, even when she is totally excited and ready to hit the trail.
Road Tunes for your Pet:
Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
What's New Pussycat? - Tom Jones
Hey Bulldog - The Beatles
Me and You and a Dog Named Boo - Lobo
Year of the Cat - Al Stewart
Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats
Dogs of War - Pink Floyd
Of coarse these are mere suggestions, you know your pet better than anyone....so if your pet likes AC/DC, Lady Gaga or Mozart....play what they like...at a reasonable volume of coarse...."The Werewolf" prefers Iron Maiden....she takes after her mommy...
Don’t forget the camera...chances are they will do something worthy of a facebook post!