Our dog, Effie, loved to ride in the car. Most of the time it meant she was going some place fun, like the dog park. Occasionally, it meant a trip to the vet. But she seemed to forget about those less-than-pleasant-trips and always enthusiastically hopped in the back seat. She had a slightly less than enthusiastic reaction to her seatbelt harness, but she eventually got used to it.
Effie says "Don’t forget to buckle up!”"
Since COVID-19 hit early in 2020, dog adoptions have been up across Canada. And since there is likely to be some travel over the upcoming holidays, I thought it would be a good idea to review the best ways to travel safely with your pet. It is important to note that every province has its own regulations regarding pet restraint in cars and pickup trucks, so it is best to check with your provincial SPCA.
In general, there are three ways to safely restrain your dog in your vehicle:
- A seatbelt harness – a harness that is fitted to your dog and then attached to your seatbelt receptacle. This lets your dog have some movement in the back seat, but will restrain them in case of a sudden stop.
- A crate – a sturdy container that confines your pup while you’re traveling. It should also be secured via a harness to the back seat or via a tether in the cargo area of your vehicle. Not all dogs are good in crates, so be sure to get them used to it at home before you travel.
- A car seat – similar to booster seats for children, these are better for small or medium dogs. They can see out the window, but are safely restrained while you travel.
Your local pet store can help you choose an appropriate safety restraint for your dog.
If you are driving with your dog over the holidays, in addition to the right safety gear, you’ll want to pack the essentials – food, water, bedding, their favourite toy, collar and leash, and any necessary medications – and bring a copy of your pet’s medical record, in case you need an emergency vet along the way.
Our furry friends bring such joy to our lives, let’s be sure to keep them safe.