Restraining your dog during car travel will not only protect your pet, it will also protect you and your passengers. Studies have shown that, in an accident, a 25-pound dog that is unsecured in a car travelling only 20 miles per hour, can become a projectile exerting over 500 pounds of force on itself and other occupants.
The best way to ensure your pet's safety while travelling is to use a travel crate. There are two things to consider when buying the travel crate:
* Will the travel crate fit into your car.
* Is the crate large enough that your pet can fit into it comfortably?
On the road
Don't leave your pet in the car, especially in hot weather. If you absolutely must leave your pet in the car, park in the shade and make sure there's a window open to provide fresh air. Limit the time you are leaving them in the car alone to minutes.
Make sure you have a bottle of water and a bowl in case your pet needs a drink. You'll also want to ensure your pet has had a chance to relieve itself before the ride.
Dogs love to ride with their heads hanging out of the car window. This is not safe. They are susceptible to getting particles of dirt in the eyes, ears or nose causing injury or infection. What's more, excessive amounts of cold air taken into the lungs can cause illness. Also, Pets can jump out of the car window if they are not restrained.
Always have your dog on a leash when exiting the vehicle. Never let them jump out into traffic.
Dogs should not be allowed to ride un-tethered on the back of trucks. We've all seen dogs riding in the back of pickup trucks as the trucks fly down the highway. Many people see nothing wrong with letting their dog ride un-tethered in the open bed of a pickup truck. Sometimes the dog seems to be enjoying this open air experience, while other times the dog looks terrified as he tries to maintain his balance. Regardless of whether the dog is having fun or is frightened, transporting them un-tethered in the back of a pickup is placing them in a very unsafe situation. It not only endangers the dog, but other motorists who could have an accident when they swerve to miss the dog if he falls out.
A loose dog in a pickup truck bed can easily become a projectile if the driver has to slam on his brakes, swerve to avoid something in the road, or hits an unexpected bump. A dog falling off the truck bed OR jumping out of the truck bed can result in broken bones, road rash, bruises and even death if they get hit by another vehicle. Even if the dog manages to survive falling out of an open truck bed, treating his injuries could incur a sizable vet bill.
Please don't put your pet at risk. A responsible pet owner is one that makes sure their canine companion stays safe and healthy, both at home and on the road.
Tri-County has faced one of these vehicle safety concerns this past week when one of our fostered dogs climbed out a truck window. The driver was wearing his seat belt and Oscar was sitting in the passenger seat unrestrained with the truck windows open. They were heading towards Lincolnton on highway 321 just past the High Shoals exit. Traffic slowed to 5 mph and Oscar went out the window and up into the woods. Even though we have searched the area, Oscar is still missing. Oscar is wearing a collar with his rabies tag attached. He is gray with white on his chest and weighs about 80 pounds. Oscar is a big baby. Please help us find him.