AskPatty is #Grateful in November for... Furry Friends
A recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association reveals that 37 percent of owners they take their dog in the car with them, rather than leaving him behind when they travel. Your pet is part of your family, right? So, of course you want to take the same care to protect their pets during a car journey as you do for your children!
If you're planning a holiday road trip with your pets, please become familiar with these safety tips to help to make the trip safe and enjoyable:
- Dogs and cats need to be secured properly, both for their safety and yours. Several states now require animals to be secured in vehicles. Plus, approximately half of the states have fines for not restraining pets riding in vehicles. Also, do not allow them to ride in seats equipped with frontal airbags, which could injure them severely in an accident.
- The ASPCA cautions against allowing pets to ride with their heads out the window of a moving vehicle where dirt or debris can injure their ears, eyes, and noses. Not only do they risk being hit with a flying object, but they are also at risk of inner ear damage and lung infections. The first and best option is to crate your animal for the duration of the trip. Cats should always be confined to a cage or in a cat carrier to allow them to feel secure and prevent them from crawling under your feet while you are driving. For large animals, a more feasible option is to use a special harness that attaches to your vehicle's seatbelt. Crates and harnesses are available at your local pet store, though many automobile manufacturers offer a dog guard/compartment divider that keeps pets safely in the rear cargo area of station wagons, "crossover" vehicles, and SUVs.
- The noises and movement from car travel make many pets anxious. This anxiety can be expressed through barking, shaking, excessive drooling or even vomiting. Prepare your pets for a long trip well before you plan to leave. Start slowly by getting them used to being in the car. Once they are a little more comfortable, condition them with short trips around the block, gradually extending the duration of these trips. If your pet still suffers car anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about medications. Also consider keeping stain and odor remover in the trunk, just in case of an accident.
- Don't feed your pet right before you plan to leave. Instead, give him or her a light meal a few hours in advance. Never feed your pet in a moving vehicle. If your dog has a problem with carsickness, your vet can prescribe medication that will help the dog feel comfortable during a long car trip.
- Just as you will on a long trip, your pet will need periodic pit stops and stretch breaks, too. Bring along a leash, water and small treats, as well as a favorite toy the pet can play with for some exercise.
- If you're planning overnight hotel stays, be sure to check in advance whether the hotel has pet-friendly policies.