Many dog enthusiasts love taking their pets with them in the car (when weather permits). Even the most dreaded errands are made easier with a happy pup along for the ride.
So, your vehicle should always be ready with basic necessities: a leash (please, no retractable leashes in public areas) and secure collar for potty breaks; poop bags; water and a bowl; and tasty treats and chews to keep your pooch occupied when alone in the car.
It’s also obvious that dogs love hanging their heads out the window as we’re driving. But there’s a risk of injury to the eyes from colliding with insects, weed seed and other debris. So, it’s best to roll the windows down just a crack, or teach your pup to wear goggles and use them on road trips for protection.
Without question, the safest way for dogs to travel long distance in a car is secured in a crate. In an accident, if the dog is ejected, it will most likely survive if crated and it won’t be able to run away in panic from the scene. Another option for securing your pet is with a canine seat-belt.
Allowing a dog to ride loose in the back of a pickup truck is not only extremely dangerous, it’s illegal. It must be tethered, but this is still not a safe form of transport as it leaves the dog exposed to flying debris and extremely vulnerable in an accident. Improperly tethered dogs can also jump or fall out of the truck bed and hang themselves.
A sobering fact that takes a lot of fun out of having your pooch along for company is the risk of theft. Always lock your doors when running errands, and wind the windows down a crack, enough for ventilation. Think ahead about where you’re going – and leave your pet at home if you’ll be in a risky area.
Take the time to teach your pup appropriate car riding behaviour if he remains loose, which includes leaving the driver alone. Drivers have enough to focus on without having to deal with incessant barking, ear licking or overly eager lap jumpers.
Teach your pooch the rules of the car during special training sessions when you are not the driver, or from a parked position if you’re alone. Attach a leash if needed, and use it to gently teach your pup where its boundaries are.
If limited to the back seat, make sure the dog is placed back in that direction each time it attempts to move to the front. Giving your pup a delicious project to chew on – like a bone or tendon – will help settle the pooch down and keep it safely in the back, long term. – Tribune News Service/The Modesto Bee/Lisa Moore