Dog owners know that their furry companions are more than just pets; they are important members of the family. When it comes to driving with dogs, there are several safety precautions to take in order to make sure everyone gets to the destination safe and sound. This is especially important during the winter months.
While it is always best to leave dogs in the comfort of your home, there are times (running errands or taking a road trip to see family for the holidays) where you will be driving with your dog. For this reason, we have complied this list of safety tips for driving with dogs during the winter.
Understand the Laws of Driving with a Dog
Before setting out on your holiday road trip, it is important to know the laws regarding driving with dogs. These laws can vary from state to state, so make sure you are informed regardless of where you are traveling. Remember that truck beds are never a safe place to put your dog while driving, especially during the cold winter months.
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
Even if you are only traveling to another city during the winter, it is important to pack for an emergency. If for any reason you get stuck somewhere, or are without access to a pet store, it is key to have water and food packed for your dog. Even if there isn't an emergency, your dog should still have access to clean drinking water throughout the duration of your road trip, so they do not become dehydrated. Whenever you stop for gas or to eat, give your furry friend a treat as well.
Keep Dogs in the Backseat
As mentioned earlier, you never want to put your dog in the bed of a truck. The safest place for your dog during a road trip is in the backseat. In order to keep them from jumping into the front you may want to consider a harness which attaches to the seat belt or a pet carrier. There are also several options for car seat covers which can create a barrier between the front and back seats. As a side note, many dog owners roll down windows in the back to let their dogs get fresh air while driving. During the winter, however, you should refrain this doing this. Although your dog may love to stick their head out, the cold winter air can be very damaging to their lungs.
Remember to Take Breaks
Just as sitting for 8 hours takes a toll on the human body, your dog will need breaks outside the car to potty and stretch his/her legs. If it is especially cold or icy, consider putting a sweater or coat on your dog. There are also boots specially made for dogs which help protect their paws from the cold and salt.
Never Leave Your Dog in the Car Alone
A common topic that arises during the summer is people leaving their pets in hot cars. Just as hot temperatures are detrimental to your dog's health, a cold car can lead to frost-bite, dehydration, and death. If you are driving with dogs, avoid leaving them alone in a car at all costs. Even though they have fur, dogs are just as sensitive to the cold as humans are. If it's too cold for you, it's definitely too cold for them.
Drive with Caution
Driving during the winter months can be a very taxing task. Remember to always drive with caution and pay attention to the condition of the roads. By taking the proper precautions you can avoid accidents which could put your and your dog's lives in danger.
Driving with dogs is a lot like driving with small children. Since your dog cannot take care of themselves, it is up to you to ensure their safety and well-being at all times. If you plan on taking a holiday road trip this winter, remember these tips to keep your pup happy and healthy!