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Fido On Board - Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Car

Summer trip with dogs
Photo: iStock

We're headed over to Pender Island for our first road trip of the summer next week and we're bringing our dog Emmy Lou. Even though Emmy is super super old, she still perks up in a new place and it's always fun to watch her discover new smells and figure out how to defend an unfamiliar hotel room.

Planning for this trip got me thinking about traveling with pets in general - and keeping your dog safe in the car in particular! It's not illegal to let your dog have the run of the car while you're driving but it's certainly not safe - some police officers may issue tickets for careless driving if they see your dog romping around your vehicle.

Here are a few tips for those of you hitting the road with your furry friends this summer:

Secure your dog with a harness or crate. Emmy will NOT get in a crate but she loves her harness - it give her some mobility to change positions but keeps her from wandering all over the car. Worst case scenario, a harness will keep your dog from becoming a dangerous projectile in case of an accident; best case, it will keep your dog from distracting you while you're driving. If you're putting your dog in a crate, be sure the crate is well-secured.

Don't roll the windows all the way down. Enterprising pooches may leap out and hurt themselves trying to chase a squirrel.

Don't let your pup hang her head out the window. As cute as it is when Fido's ears flap in the breeze, flying gravel and other debris can cause injuries. Plus, wind and cold air can cause lung infections and inner ear damage.

It IS illegal to let your dog ride in the back of a pick-up truck. So…don't do that.

Never leave your dog alone in the car. It's best not to leave your dog in the car at any time of year but it's particularly dangerous in the summer. Even with the windows cracked, the temperature in a parked vehicle can rise up to 49C in minutes - and your dog is wearing a fur coat.

Make plenty of stops along to way to let your dog stretch his legs, have some water, do a little business. It's best not to feed your dog while you're on the road, particularly if they get car sick. If possible, stick to water until you reach your destination.

Make sure all of your pooch's tags are up to date when you go on a trip in case you somehow get separated from your dog.

Never let your dog out of the car without a leash. Even Emmy Lou, the slowest dog in Slow-onia, will suddenly become Usain Bolt if she spies a cat while exiting the car.

Do you have any trips planned with your pets this summer? Does your dog LOVE riding in the car? Tell us in the comments!

- Rose R.



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