Even when we’re busy with school, work, and other things, we still need to care for our furry friends. Sometimes they have to travel with us when we need to get stuff done. However, a car may not be the safest thing to ride around with your dog. As a matter of fact, although there are no official statistics on the topic, it is estimated that tens-of-thousands of pets are inside a car during an accident each year and most are unrestrained (https://www.dogingtonpost.com/car-accident-with-dog/). If you want to learn more about dog safety in automobiles, here are some tips to help you take precautions to keep your dog safe.
Get Your Dog Used to the Vehicle
It may sound crazy to so many people because their dogs just absolutely love going for a ride in the car. But for many dogs, a car ride is not an enjoyable experience. You may have to take baby steps in getting your dog to enjoy the car and once you do that, keeping them safe is the number one priority before taking your faithful friend with you on a trip. You can start by sitting in a parking space with your dog inside, with the windows open or partially open. Let him get used to being in your vehicle for a while.
They’ll become familiar with being a more condensed space.
Second, you can make a quick trip somewhere for like 10-15 minutes. That way, your dog will be used to moving inside the car and understand the surroundings.
Then you can get around to driving for 30 minutes to an hour. You can gauge your dog’s behavior for longer car rides.
One of the best things you can do for dog safety is to create a barrier between seats. If you’re driving an SUV, let your dog be in the cargo area. You can use a divider to help keep him away from the passenger seats and jumping over things.
Also, the cargo area gives your dog enough room to stretch or play with its toys. If you have a large dog like a golden retriever or a Great Dane, you need that back area to be spacious to keep them comfortable.
A dog guard works well if you have an accident or have to stop abruptly. You can bolt the guard and lock it to the inside of the roof. It’ll prevent your dog from flying to the front.
When you have a pet carrier, that acts as double duty for your dog. One, you’ll be able to hold your pet while it’s secure in the dog carrier. Two, you don’t need to strap a dog tether or anything on your dog when it’s in your back seat or on the passenger side.
You can use the second-row seat belt to secure the carrier in place. If you have a smaller dog, you can place the dog carrier on the floor right behind one of the front seats. Think about how you can keep them secure in the seat or behind you.
Make sure your dog is calm, so you don’t have distractions while you’re driving.
Keep a Crate or Booster Seat
You might have a younger or older dog that gets motion sickness. A booster seat or a crate can help keep things steady. Also, you can have your dog facing forward the whole time to keep its eyes from constantly looking at different angles.
You never know how your dog responds to the speed of your car and how it feels from your dog’s perspective. Open the window just a little bit. A dog’s body temperature rises quickly, especially in the warmer months.
When there’s a bit of air circulating in the car, it’ll help the dog stay calm as well. Not to mention, he’ll feel less queasy being in your car for long trips.
Have a Carry Box
Some dogs want reassurance that you’re in the car. You can have a plush box that feels comfortable for them to sit in for however long it takes to get to your destination. You can strap a dog harness (https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/g37620229/best-dog-seat-belts/) to it to keep them secure.
They’ll feel comfortable being able to look at the surroundings to give them a soothing vibe. Looking at you can help them ease their minds because they know you’re riding with them in the vehicle.
Feed Them Hours Before the Ride
You want your dog to eat a couple of hours before driving. Your dog may still be susceptible to motion sickness. Also, the anxiety of being in an unfamiliar place can get to them as well.
They may pant and move around a bit more than usual, which results in them throwing up.
A comfortable ride can make driving easier and safer when you have a dog with you on trips or errands. And if your dog is still nervous, you can consider using something, over the counter, to help calm their anxiety, like CBD. Its recommended that CBD be given to your dog approximately one hour before a car ride and you may have to adjust the dose, based on your dog’s weight and nervousness.