Tuesday, November 18, 2014

7 Ways to Help Your Dog Stay Safe in the Car

7 Ways to Help Your Dog Stay Safe in the Car
We all buckle up our human passengers whenever we get in the car--even for a short trip--but how do you keep your dog safe in the car? As more dogs join their people on both short and long excursions, it's more important than ever to keep Fido safe in the car and, at the same time, help protect your human passengers!

Does your dog like to run errands with you? Or accompany you on day trips, family visits, and vacations?

Today more and more dog lovers are enjoying traveling with their four-legged family members. While most of those travelers routinely buckle up before ever turning on the ignition, the large majority of those travelers aren't ensuring the safety of their dogs in their vehicles. A safe dog travel study by Kurgo and AAA showed that, while nearly six in 10 people have traveled with their dog in the car at least once a month over the past year, only 16 percent were restraining their dog while in the vehicle.

Before your next trip with your dog, whether that's to the bank drive-through window or a cross-country dream vacation, be sure to check out these tips to make sure your journey is a safe one for your car's two- and four-legged occupants:

1. Don't let your dog ride in the front seat.

Just as children no longer ride in the front seat in their mothers' laps, dogs should never be in the front seat. Along with distracting you, a dog in a lap or in the passenger seat is at risk for injury from an air bag.

2. Buckle Up!

You, your passengers, and your dog are safest when your dog is buckled, whether that's restrained in a dog crate or a booster seat for small dogs or wearing a seat belt. This protects your dog and also ensures that your human passengers won't be struck by a dog in the event of an accident and that a dog won't escape a car into traffic if emergency personnel should have to open the car in the event of an accident.

3. Keep the windows up.

We all have seen joyous photos of dogs with their heads hanging out of the car window as they merrily travel down the highway. But what you don't see in those photos are the dangers: the risk of your dog falling from the car with an unexpected turn, jumping from the car if he suddenly spies another dog (or squirrel!), being decapitated by objects too close to the car, or having an eye put out by flying debris. Crack the window slightly to permit outside air (and interesting odors!) into the car but keep your dog's head in the car where it belongs.

4. Never allow a dog in the back of a pickup.

Allowing your dog to ride in the back of a pickup truck is illegal in some states but it doesn't take legislation to know that this is a recipe for disaster. Please bring your dog into the cab with the rest of the family.

5. Train your dog to an arrival routine.

When you arrive at your destination, be sure your dog exits the car when you are ready for your dog to leave the car, not when the door is suddenly opened. Train your dog to remain in the car until he's safely leashed. When your dog is wearing a harness and buckled in, this is easy to do; when you give your dog a release word like "OK" after safely leashing your dog and checking for traffic, he can then step out of the car.

6. Always have an ID tag on your dog.

Dogs can always slip away on arrival so be sure to have a clearly legible ID tag on your dog with your name (which is more important than your dog's name) and your phone number.

7. Never leave your dog alone in the car.

Research your trip in advance so your dog can accompany you on your stops. Cars can heat up to deadly levels in a matter of minutes and, even during temperate fall weather, your dog is at risk of being stolen if left alone.

Be sure your next getaway with your dog is a safe one by following a few safety precautions and doing a little pre-trip planning!

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