The first time that you and your pet take a trip together in your car can be a real learning experience. Different animals can react differently to seeing the world around them suddenly start to move, and dogs, in particular, have been known to have a few different reactions. So whether it’s a quick trip to the vet or a cross-country driving vacation that will take you halfway across the United States, it can help to prepare yourself for whatever you may be in for.
The best way to make sure your pets are comfortable with long car rides is to make sure they get to take a few short car rides first, particularly during their first few years. By giving them this experience, your pets will be used to the idea of seeing the world flash by at 60 miles per hour and will be much less likely to spook or panic.
These days it’s fairly easy to find a special kind of restraint which either hooks into the seat belt latch or else goes around the back of the seat so that your dog can move around without ending up in an unsafe spot or getting in the driver’s way. However, you must also remember to connect this restraint to a harness that goes around the dog’s front legs and chest, because in the event of a crash a restraint tied to a dog collar would put too much pressure on his or her neck.
The dog with his or her head out the window is a classic sight, and they seem to enjoy it, but it’s not particularly good for them. The wind can blow bits of dirt and grit into their noses, eyes, and mouths, and if your dog sticks his or her head out too far and you drive too close to an object by the side of the road, it could result in a serious injury.
Cats enjoy leaping up to high places to have a commanding view of their surroundings, but that’s just about the last place you’ll want a cat to be in a car. If you allow a cat to roam through your car freely, he or she may wind up trying to climb into the driver’s lap or onto the dashboard, and, either way, it means trouble. As such, a cat crate is highly recommended.
It goes for young children, it goes for pets: never leave them outside in your vehicle if it’s hot enough to create an oven effect. Cracking the windows can help, but doing so doesn’t always help enough.
Driving with a pet isn’t particularly complicated. Just make sure they’re properly restrained or contained, check to see that they’re calm and happy, and then take them out for water, a bite to eat, and a stretch whenever you do the same. If you can do that, you’ll be set.