]Do you travel with your dog? Or is the thought of it just too hard for you to contemplate?! Here John Cole has some tips on how to make a good traveler of your dog. Happy travels!
Being a dog owner can sometimes mean being the inverse of a fair-weather friend: when the weather is bad, you’ll happily spend hours cuddling up on the rug scratching pooch’s belly and generally hanging out, but as soon as the sun comes out you jump in your car and drive to the coast – and there’s never quite enough time to figure out how you’re going to take your so-called best buddy with you.
The problem is that there are so many factors to think about if you want to take your pet on a car journey with you. His or her safety and comfort, and yours too, for starters. It’s one thing to have them jump in the back for a five-minute ride to the park, but a more serious trip requires more serious consideration of the arrangements.
Each dog will have their own requirements, so it’s worth figuring out what’s best for your dog long before you make your trip. There are several different seating solutions – so let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
A dog harness seat belt, for example, works with the belt fixtures that you already have in the back seat of your car. It’s secure, but not especially restrictive, so it’s a good consideration for a dog who’s pretty well behaved – a fellow who is unlikely to fidget too much or to attempt to chew their way to freedom.
The more hardcore version of this solution is the zipline harness. This likewise works with your existing seatbelt fixtures, but offers a firmer hold for a wrigglier dog – while still allowing enough freedom that they should not become distressed.
And for a seriously pampered pup (so long as they’re on the smaller side) you can get a carry box that hangs from the back seat, giving them an elevated view of what’s up front and a consistent visual on you to keep them calm. Think of it as little opera box for your pet – maybe you can even make him a tiny pair of opera glasses.
If you’ve got kids to transport too, or you want to keep the seated area of your car fur-free, you may prefer to transport pooch in the trunk. So long as your dog doesn’t get freaked out by confined spaces, and your trunk opens up into the main car (rather than shutting up like a coffin), an appropriately-sized crate can be acquired to keep them secure and comfortable.
Conversely, a more relaxed rear-seat solution is the hammock. Yes, dog hammock – if you’re driving a long way in the heat, you’re likely to become jealous of them for this one!
While not quite swinging as freely as the classic garden hammock, the dog hammock hangs between the front and rear seats to prevent a clumsy or older dog from slipping down the gap between or climbing up front with you. However, it gives them a bit more freedom on that back seat than does the harness or seat belt.
If you’re dealing with multiple dogs, or a hound who you can trust to take it easy, you can just erect a dog guard between the trunk and the rear seat to give them room to stretch their legs while you travel. This is often best for longer dogs such as retrievers and Labradors.
But just because they’re seated nicely, doesn’t mean their whole in-journey welfare is accounted for. One of the key things to remember when driving with a dog in the car is that they can be far more sensitive to hot temperatures than us. Leave the windows wide-open, however, and you have the risk of them jumping out if you haven’t secured them properly, or – more likely – sticking their head out to feel the breeze in his ears. As cute as this is, it’s dangerous and can also dry out their eyes, so if you have aircon then that’s a better option. You should stop regularly to let him feel the ground beneath his feet, stretch his legs, cool off, and take care of any other regular dog occurrences, too. After all, he’s your best friend – and it’s his vacation too!
About the author
John is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.
Original source of the infographic: https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/blog/keep-dog-safe-car.html
Dr Jo says: Remember to check the rules of car travel in your country, state or area. In some paces, it is the law that dogs are restricted by seat belts or harnesses. Ensuring your dog is a good traveler will make your life much easier!