Planning a summer road trip, or just lots of weekends camping and visiting loved ones with your dog? Time spent travelling in your car, or anywhere out and about can be risky for your dog. Millions of dogs and cats are hit and killed by cars each year, and unrestrained animals riding in a car can be injured (or injure you), even in low-speed accidents.
According to an American Automobile Association survey, more than half of dog owners frequently drive with their dog in the car - that’s a lot of pets on the road every day! If you are travelling with your dog this summer, here is how you can keep them safe - both in and out of your car.
Dog Car Safety: In Your Car
Use Restraints: According to that same American Automobile Association’s survey, Only 16% of people who travel with their dogs in their car are using safety restraints. If an accident occurs, unrestrained animals can pose a big injury risk, both for themselves and their owners. Tying their leash down is not enough: it is recommended that pet owners use harnesses made with belts, sturdy metal attachments (not plastic) and two connections, or anchor points.
Be Prepared: What if you are injured in a car accident, and can’t share information regarding your pet? Make sure that your pet is microchipped, and always wearing ID tags with your contact information. You can also include emergency contact information for your vet and other caretakers in your car for rescuers to reference.
Dog Car Safety: Outside of Your Car
Keep Your Dog Contained: A fence around your yard or property is a great source of protection for your dog, keeping them off of the road and away from dangerous traffic. Make sure that you check it for gaps or other issues frequently, and make sure that gates are not left open, particularly during busy, distracting events like summer events. Consider a crate as a back-up for things like travel, parties, and camping.
Walk Safely: Whether you live in the city or the country, keep your dog away from traffic while walking, and don’t give them any chances to break away. Make sure that you walk your dog with a strong, high quality leash and collar that they can’t break or easily slip out of. Consider other tools like a harness or martingale collar, if needed.
Make Training A Priority: Work with your dog on recall commands, or making sure that they come back to you when you call them. This simple command can save your dog’s life! Consider carrying treats on your walks as a way to get their attention, if needed.
Sharing new experiences with your pet, whether it is a challenging hike in your neighborhood, or a drive across the country, can be amazing. If you are venturing out with your dog this summer, make sure that you take the time to protect your pet (and yourself) from any injuries that can occur due to vehicles.