If you’re going on car trips this winter and are planning on bringing your dog along, there are certain things you should do to ensure that everyone stays as safe as possible during the ride. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a quick trip, say, half an hour away—you should still follow our checklist to make sure that everyone has a good trip.
1) Warm Up the Car Before Starting to Drive
This is less of a suggestion for engine efficiency and more of a suggestion for personal comfort and warmth. While your warm coat may protect you from feeling the chill of the first ten minutes of your trip while your heater revs up, your pooch may not have that luxury—though they do have fur, that may not be enough to keep them warm and cozy. Instead of suffering through it, just turn on the car a few minutes before you head out with the dog.
2) Bring Blankets
Even if your car gets nice and toasty, it’s still a smart plan to have some blankets on hand, either to use as a dog bed in the backseat during drives or as a backup in case your car breaks down or you get into a car accident and you need a secondary way to stay warm.
3) Consider Using Dog Seatbelts
With slick roadways and snowstorms, it’s not a bad plan to implement dog seat belts to ensure your dog stays put during more precarious driving conditions. Even if your dog is very well trained and stays put during car rides, any driver distraction when weather is bad can be the difference between safe traveling and a car accident, not to mention there’s always the possibility of needing to suddenly stop your car—in this instance, or if you slide on an icy road, you dog might get hurt if he or she is not secured in one spot.
4) Make Sure to Stop for Potty Breaks
The stress and excitement of being in a car can be a lot to handle for some dogs—it’s important to let them relax every couple of hours for a few minutes by pulling over and letting them take a potty break. You don’t have to let them run around for too long, and of course only do so if there’s a safe place to so, but it’s important to let them get some air, especially on longer drives.
5) Bring Along Their Treats and Food
Another precautionary measure, bringing along your pet’s food and some treats is a good idea just in case you get stuck somewhere for a long time and need to keep them occupied and calm, or if your car stalls somewhere and you have to find a new way to get to your destination (which will inevitably get your there later your original arrival time). Hungry dogs can become agitated, so it’s nice to have some snacks on hand for them.
Drive safe this holiday season!