Tips for a Safe Summer Vacation With Your Dog
By Justine Lee, DVM, with additional writing by Martha Barnette and Melanie Mannarino
Photo by Garden State Hiker/flickr
Planning to take your pet with you during your summer travels? There are a few things you should know, first. Cats are generally bad travelers, so it’s best to leave them with a sitter or board them at a kennel. But if you have a pup, here’s how to prep for a trip:
BEFORE YOU GO…
See your vet. If you are traveling across state lines or out of the country, you’ll need a health certificate dated within 10 to 30 days of travel.
Research emergency vets. Find several veterinarians at your destination or along your route.
IN THE CAR…
Keep your dog in the back. Driving with her in the front is unsafe—and illegal in some places.
Coordinate rest stops. Each time you pull over for a bathroom or water break, be sure to extend the same courtesy to your dog.
Consider your pet’s comfort. If it’s hot, park in the shade and leave water out and the AC running—cars can warm up rapidly in hot temperatures, resulting in fatal heatstroke. Likewise, in extremely cold temps, keep the heater turned up to prevent your pooch from freezing.
In a minivan, SUV, or station wagon: A crate is a smart choice, says Christie Hyde, automotive/driver safety spokesperson for AAA National. Even a divider between the backseat and trunk/cargo area isn’t enough to protect your pet in a crash. Make sure the crate is large enough for her to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around—but not so large that she can pace. Place the crate in the back, facing forward (to prevent car sickness). Pick a hard crate for safety and unclip her leash to prevent dangerous tangling.
In a sedan or sporty two-door model: A crate might not fit in the backseat. A seatbelt harness, available at pet stores for about $20, will keep her secure. Look for one with a broad front, lots of padding, sturdy metal hardware, and wide straps that are made of a seatbeltlike material.
Related: How to Take Your Dog on a Road Trip