Safety Tips for Driving with a Dog
Most dog owners will agree that your dog is not just a pet, but a member of your family. It’s one thing to care for your dog at home, with lots of interior and yard space for your dog to freely roam, but it’s an entirely different thing to safely travel with dogs in a moving vehicle, especially if you’ll be taking a long trip. However long or short your trip may be, there are essential safety tips for driving with your beloved dog, in order to ensure that both of you will have a safe and enjoyable journey.
Know the Laws
You must know the laws for traveling with animals in your vehicle. These laws can actually vary from place to place, so it is even more important to research the laws before you travel so you don’t accidentally get stuck with a steep fine. This includes laws regarding the safe transport of your pet, such as whether or not the dog needs to be in a carrier.
Prepare for Anxiety and Nausea
If your dog doesn’t like to travel or gets carsick, driving with them can be quite the challenge. Luckily, you can train your dog to actually enjoy car rides!
Start by slowly getting your dog to eat food in a parked car, eventually working up to eating in the car while it is running. Then begin with short trips that end someplace fun, like a dog park. This process can take weeks or months, before they’re ready for long trips.
Getting carsick is a completely different matter that you can’t train for. You may be able to consult with your veterinarian about medications to help calm your dog’s nausea.
Keep Your Dog Safely in the Back and Belted
It can be dangerous to operate a vehicle when your dog has free range of the car. For safety reasons, your dog should be in the back of your vehicle, not in an open area such as a truck bed. There are pet barriers that you can install for most vehicles that keep your dog in the cargo area, or you may wish to cage-train and have them ride in a comfy carrier. If your dog won’t be in a crate or carrier, make sure they have some form of harness or seat belt that will keep them safe in their seat.
People were not designed to sit for eight or more hours in a vehicle, and your pet should not be expected to, either. If you are on a long trip, make it a priority to stop every two to three hours to get out and stretch, providing your dog the same courtesy. Take them for a little stroll to get out some pent-up energy before getting back in the car. When dogs have been cooped up for too long they may become aggressive.
Avoid Locking Them In
Whether it be too hot and suffocating your dog, or temperatures dropping too low and your dog could freeze, it’s never a good idea to lock them in a car. Avoid getting your windows smashed in to save your dog, or worse yet, a fatal accident, by never locking your dog in your car unattended.
Anxiety can bring out unusual behavior in dogs. In addition to taking precautionary measures before any potentially difficult experience (like a long car ride), be sure to obtain pet liability insurance.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.