Looking back on 2020, one of the facts about the pandemic we are weathering that blows us away here at DeBoer’s Auto is the fact that pet ownership has increased 56%. That means there are a lot of happy doggies, kitties, and other animals out there who recently came to their forever homes.
Whether you are a long-time pet owner, or one of the more recent newbies to the scene, we have some great tips on how to keep your pet safe and happy while traveling.
We know how important it is to buckle ourselves up, but did you know that there’s a safe and effective way to buckle in your pets? Many manufacturers make a clip that connects to your vehicle’s seat belt system, and connects to your pet’s body harness that you may use for walking. It is important that this system be connected to a harness, and not your pet’s neck collar. In the event of a crash, this type of security helps keep your pet safely in the back seat. It also prevents your pet from jumping out the window should you open it a little too far. You can find many types of pet safety harnesses and seat belt tethers online, but The Center For Pet Safety out of Reston, VA has links to crash-test certified products on their website. Be sure to check all instructions before you buy!
Of course, not all dogs will be comfortable in a harness/tether and sitting in a seat while riding in the car. If your pet is large, or doesn’t seem comfortable sitting in the back seat, consider using a crate while traveling. Crate-trained animals sometimes feel much less anxious while traveling in their crate, so please be sure to consider your pet’s unique reactions and adjust accordingly.
Control the Mess
We love our pets, and there’s no feeling quite like the joy you can have watching your dog or other pet take a long hike and get into some water or mud. But boy, is that mess going to make a lot of work for you in cleaning out your car. Seat covers are a convenient and easy solution to controlling the chaos that can occur when your muddy or wet pet wants to hop back in for the ride home. The seat covers are removable, and often easy to clean with a hose, or even in a washer and dryer.
Remember to Hydrate
Humans need about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, according to popular medicine. Dogs (and other pets) are not much different than us. Don’t forget that just because you might be traveling, your pet’s water needs do not change. Local pet shops often stock collapsible water bowls for purchase. Keep these on hand, along with a few extra bottles of water, so that your pet can stay well-hydrated for the duration of your trip.
Don’t forget to take frequent breaks as well. What goes in, must come out! Pet relief breaks will keep your pet’s anxiety level down and increase their enjoyment of a long trip. Make sure you pack your pet’s leashes, so that when you take these breaks, you can safely tether your pet to you. Another important item, those “doggy doo doo” bags, will help you clean up your pets mess and keep the environment healthy. Be sure to dispose of them properly at the earliest convenience.
Entertainment and Comfort
Traveling can be an exciting experience for some pets. For others, it may be fraught with anxiety. Either way, be sure to remember your pet’s needs for entertainment or comfort. Select their favorite chew toys, bones, blankets, or stuffed animals to have in the car while they travel. Your pet associates these favorite items with happiness, so having them on hand will reinforce their feelings of comfort and safety.
Ventilation and Ambient Comfort
When you’re riding in the cay by yourself, and it feels too warm or too cold, you put on your air conditioning or heating. If your pet is a warm-blooded animal, their tolerances are going to be very similar to yours. Dogs, cats, and other furry friends maybe even more sensitive to the heat than you are. Be sure to have proper Air Conditioning ventilation for them.
While opening a window is nice, be sure not to let your pet’s head stick out of the window. They seem to have fun, but items on the road can be kicked up by the tires of the vehicles in front of you, and can accidentally cause injury to your pet’s face or head. Also, it is absolutely imperative that you never leave your pet alone in a car. They can be anxious without you there, and even with the vehicle running and the air conditioning or heat on, there are instances where a vehicle can shut down without warning. Once the air is off, it is only a short time before a car becomes too hot or cold for your pet, exposing them to the threat of heat stroke or hypothermia. Instead, be sure to stay with your pet in the car at all times. This may mean that, while traveling long distances, you use only drive-through food stands, or you can plan to pack your food to reduce the need to stop. It is highly recommended that when traveling long distances, you have a human companion to help stay in the car for needed “relief breaks.”
Have Fun, Make Memories
Our pets are such a source of happiness and joy. It’s true that sometimes our furry friends feel like more than just companions, they are family! We hope these travel tips help increase the comfort in your ride. If you’re taking any long trips, always remember to have your vehicle inspected before leaving, to get ahead of any potential concerns that may arise while traveling. Reducing breakdowns will keep you and your fur baby from having a stressful journey, so that you can focus on having fun and making memories.