Travelling with Dogs in your car

11 Aug

Car seat for short trips around town only.

What dog doesn’t love going for a car ride? Mine do. It could mean a trip to the ocean, the mountains, or an agility trial.  Most dogs love car travel! Here are a few tips to make it even more safe and enjoyable.

1. Rest Stop Finder App
This could be one of my favorite apps ever! I recently drove with friend and 5 dogs from Atlanta to Vermont to attend Camp Gone to the Dogs.  It’s hard to stop at gas station for a bathroom break with one dog – never mind 5! Reststops are the way to go. Most of them have some grass, shade, and designated dog walking areas. We alternated our gas station stops and “rest stops” by using the APP.  One word of caution though – be careful when your dogs get in and out of the car at rest stops – as many of the parking areas are pretty busy with traffic.

2. A Solid “Stay”
There are times when training a dog to do something can be just fun and cute, and there are other times where it can be a lifesaver. Travelling with your dogs in the car means doors opening and closing and plenty of chances for your dog to hop out. Rule of thumb from day one in my house – dogs are not allowed to leave a car until I say so. You never know when a flat tire or other incident can have you opening your door very close to traffic – the last thing you need is your pup trying to “bolt” from the car when you open the door. Make sure your dog has a solid understanding of what is expected of  him/her when getting out of a car – staying still until otherwise instructed!

3. Emergency Contact Info
Not a fun thing to think about – but what would happen if you had your dogs in the car and were in a bad car accident?  Lots of bad things could happen – from your dogs running away, to rescuers not knowing to do with them. As scary as that thought is – there is something you can do ahead of time to prevent a total disaster – make sure your emergency contact info and dog instructions are available.  I would suggest creating a laminated card attached somewhere instead of the car with information like:

  • Your name
  • Emergency contact name and phone number
  • Contact information for who will attend to your dogs
  • Number of dogs in the car, descriptions, photos, and names
  • You might wanted to include specific instructions such as:

    Crates strapped down with Bungee cords

    ATTENTION Rescuers
    If I am incapable to care for my pets, please consider my signature below as my acknowledgement of my financial responsibility for any expenses that occur as a result of  providing care for my pets until my emergency contact or myself can verbally give further direction.

  • Additionally, you could leave specific direction on dog care in case your emergency contact can’t be reached. An example would be – “Please take my dogs to the nearest animal emergency room and provide the veterinarian with this card. Do not contact Animal Control”

Regardless – you want the information to be clear, concise, easy to find, and easy to follow. Your dogs would be down the list of the priorities of the rescuers if anyone is hurt in the accident.

Bark Buckle UP is a great website with lots more tips and facts, as well as a Be Smart Ride Safe® with Bark Buckle UP’s Pet Safety Kit

4.  Bungee Cords!

I travel all over the South east competing in agility trials. I put a lot of miles in with Wyatt in the car.  The scenario I talk about in #3 above is something that I do think about just because of the sheer number of hours we are on the road.  I have a Honda Element – so I have a very dog friendly car. It has lots of hooks and hoops you can attach all kinds of things to. When on a road trip, my dogs ride in their crates and the crates are bungeed down.  If something had and the car rolled over – I think I have things strapped down enough they would stay in place.  Dogs that are in crates that are solidly strapped down are even safer if there is minor sudden breaking.  The photo to the right was taken about 10 minutes before an accident. We were on our way to the beach, and a driver ran a red light and tboned my car. All the dogs were fine (and so were we)

5. Phone Number on your dog’s collar

Even if your dogs don’t wear a collar full-time, get them a special “car collar” with your phone number stitched in. If your dog did flee from an accident scene, this collar can make is easy as possible for someone to contact you if they find your dog.

Happy and safe travels!

Phone number stitched on to dog collar

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2 Responses to “Travelling with Dogs in your car”

  1. Barry August 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Now that is a real good tip…

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