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  • Writer's pictureAndy Wiltz

Tips for Safely Transporting Your Dogs

If you're hitting the road this holiday season with your pups, it's important to make sure they are safe in the car. There are multiple options, and lots of factors to consider, so here are some helpful tips!

1. Plan Ahead

Think about where your dog will be sitting in the car, as this will impact what options you have to transport them. If you have multiple passengers, will they and your pup both be comfortable sitting together? Will your dog have full reign of the backseat? Do you have a spacious cargo area they can fit in? Think about the size of your dog and their comfortability in small spaces as well. If your dog is large, you want to make sure they have plenty of room to turn around and get comfy.

2. Decide on your restraint

Just like humans need seat belts - dogs need restraints as well. Human seatbelts won't work for dogs, but there are ways you can adapt the seatbelts in your car to help keep your pup safe. The first type is a seatbelt harness. These clip right on to your dog's harness like a leash, but click into the seatbelt. Best for well-behaved dogs, these allow your dog to roam around the backseat but keep them from jumping in the front seat. Check out this option from Chewy.

Another option for larger, well behaved dogs is a backseat hammock like this one. This option allows your dog to lie down comfortably without allowing them to fall onto the floor in case of sudden stops. An added bonus of this option is that it helps prevent any shedding hair off the seats of your car. This option is best if your dog will be your only backseat passenger.

For smaller dogs who like to be able to see out the window, these baskets are a great option. Your pup can see and smell everything, which will help prevent them from jumping around. The straps are adjustable and the harness strap attaches to your dog so they are always secure. These baskets are comfy enough that your dog can lie down for a nap, but snug enough to keep them safe.

If your pup will be riding in the cargo space of your vehicle, consider fitting a guard behind the last row of seating so that you're pet isn't tempted to jump in the front. This guard will also prevent your pup from being thrown around in case of an accident. Be sure to find a guard that fits your vehicle and can be secured to the top and bottom of your car. This is best suited for dogs that like to move around a lot and see all the sights as you're cruising on the open road!

Of course, if your dog is used to a kennel or crate, these are also an option. Travel kennels should be large enough for your dog to stand up and completely turn around in. Be sure to include a blanket or comfort item for your pet. Secure kennels should be store either in the cargo area of your hatchback/SUV or on the floor of a car, so that they don't slide around when moving.

3. Pack a bag

You'd never leave the house without your essentials bags, so don't forget your pet's either. Be sure to bring water bowls, food, and treats. Also bring waste bags, disinfectant wipes comfort items, and any medicine your dog may need. Don't forget your pet's medical and vaccine records - even if just a digital copy - you'll never know when they might come in handy!

4. Get your pup used to the car

It's best to start training your dog with short car rides. Take them around the neighborhood, to the vet, and of course to Woof's to see all their friends! Then gradually work up to longer trips. Pay attention to how your dog reacts to getting in and out of the car. Are they anxious? Do they love it? Make sure your pup doesn't get carsick. If your pup is acting anxious or like they don't like the car, try providing them with comfort items like blankets, stuffed animals, or a treat.

5. Avoid overfeeding before long trips

Bathroom breaks are a must for pups (again, just like humans), so if you're going to be on the road for an extended time, be sure to plan plenty of breaks. And just like you wouldn't chug a 32oz soda before a long trip, make sure your dog hasn't had too much to eat or drink, or they will be needing a bathroom break sooner than you might like! When planning your breaks, allow time for your pup to run around and burn off energy before getting back in the car, so that they can be more relaxed in the car.

6. Keep the windows up

As much as we all know dogs love to have the wind in their hair, it is extremely unsafe for dogs to stick their head out the window while driving. Besides the fear that they could easily jump out of the window, there is a chance your dog could be hit by a projectile. Having the wind on their face for long periods of time is also not good for your dog's eyes.

Of course - if your trip is too far away or your dog doesn't like the car, you can always book a stay with Woof's, and we'll be happy to take care of your furry friend while you're away.

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