Top Tips to Maximize Car Safety for Dogs While Traveling this Summer
Whether you go for a quick car drive around Colorado Springs or take a long vacation to camp in the Rocky Mountains, car safety for dogs matters as much as it does for the rest of your family. Protecting your dogs, cats or other pets in a vehicle is a huge part of your responsibility as a pet owner.
Honest Accurate Auto Service loves the incredible animals that make our lives better. Many members of our team are pet owners themselves. Promoting pet/dog safety in the car is our responsibility as caretakers of your vehicle and educators on proper vehicle use, maintenance and safety. As such, we’ve decided to share some of our top tips for car safety for pets when you’re out and about. Because dogs are the most common pets to take along, our focus will be on sharing tips for road trips with dogs and how to keep dogs safe in the car. However, keep in mind that most of our tips are applicable for other pets you may need to transport. Let’s get started.
Make Your Car a Safe Environment for Your Dog
You can get your dog-friendly road trip off on the right paw by making your car a safe environment for your dog.
Put Your Dog in the Back of the Car
Safe car travel for dogs begins with making sure your dog is placed in the backseat or cargo area of your vehicle. While it is a lovely idea to have your dog right within petting distance on the front passenger seat, the safest place for a dog in a car is in the back areas.
Restrain Your Pet
An unrestrained dog becomes a heavy projectile during a road accident. It can not only result in a serious injury for your pet but also for the people in the car. Not only that, an unrestrained dog is a potentially dangerous distraction. If you want to get where you are going without problems, the last thing you want is your dog climbing on your lap, giving you kisses, or begging for attention while you are trying to navigate traffic.. Distracted driving is a major cause of many car accidents today, so properly securing your pet makes sense for everyone’s sake.
You can restrain your pet with a dog safety net for cars, SUVs or trucks. The net separates the cargo area from the rest of the car, preventing enthusiastic dogs from running about. There are also car seats for dog safety: small, box-like structures that work well for smaller dogs. Last, you can use a safety harness. The latter is one of the best ways to secure a dog in the car. Many people ask, “Can I put a seat belt on my dog?” The answer is yes – if it is designed for dogs. Do your research on pet forums or at the pet store to find the best dog car safety harness for your needs.
Keep Pets Away from the Windows and Doors
As much as your dog may love to hang their head out the window and feel the Rocky Mountain wind in their fur, doing so can be catastrophic in the case of an accident – or even just a short stop or quick swerve. Also, rocks and other debris from the road can get kicked up by tires and hit your dog in the face.
NEVER Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car
The news is unfortunately full of horrific stories of pet owners leaving their dog or other animals in the car unattended. The internal temperature rises incredibly quickly and even cooler days outside can become oven-hot inside. In short, there is rarely a safe temperature for a dog in a car. Pets in hot cars can experience heatstroke. They may become violently ill or lose their life. If that unfortunate event occurs, you will be legally held accountable for this extremely bad choice in addition to your grief.
Create a Pet Emergency Kit
When you’re out traveling with your pet it is a good idea to create a pet emergency kit. You can also add pet-related emergency supplies to your existing car emergency kit if you need to save space.
Your dog road trip essentials should include:
- Self-adhesive wrap that can hold dressings in place even on animals.
- Powdered blood stop or hemostatic blood stop strips for helping stop bleeding on minor injuries until you can properly treat the wound.
- Prescribed medication (take care to ensure they won’t be damaged in the changing temps of your car).
- A soft muzzle. Injured pets sometimes lash out while their pet parents are trying to help them and a soft muzzle can gently stop them from doing damage. Plus, a soft muzzle is also useful if your dog starts behaving differently due to the change in routine.
- Cat litter or absorbent powder to help with cleaning up a case of car sickness.
- Spare leash and spare waste pick-up bags.
- A gallon of extra water and a portable water dish.
Plan for Pit Stops at Pet-Friendly Restaurants and Local Dog Parks
Like every other passenger, dogs need breaks too which means it’s important to plan for pit stops at pet-friendly places. Fortunately for locals and visitors alike, there are many pet-friendly places in Colorado Springs.
We have lots of pet-friendly restaurants in Colorado Springs, which means you never have to decide between eating out after a long day of fun or taking the pup home to beat the heat. Depending on the restaurant, you may even be allowed to have dinner inside with your dog.
If you’re out with your dog in Colorado Springs, Pub Dog is a dog-friendly restaurant outside of Old Colorado City and near Manitou Springs. You can bring your dog inside while you eat (the food is good and they have a dog menu). You can also let your dog loose in the play yard next to the outdoor patio. Cerberus Brewing Co., which is a popular brewery just west of downtown Colorado Springs, allows dogs on the patio and in their giant social seating area. They also have a puppy patty (plain burger patty) on the menu.
These are just two examples, but finding a pet-friendly restaurant in Colorado Springs truly isn’t difficult. Many of the local breweries are allowed to have dogs indoors if they do not serve food. Other places allow them on the patio. Just call ahead and ask!
Burn Off Steam at the Dog Park
Traveling around in the summer can become a little boring for your dog after a while. After all, there are only so many ways to enjoy checking out other dogs before a dog gets antsy for some exercise. If you’re traveling long distances, plan ahead by searching for dog parks along your route. You can also look for rest stops with pet relief/pet park areas.
If you’re staying local, there are several great dog parks in Colorado Springs you can visit so your dog can let off some steam. Bear Creek Dog Park is the most popular dog park in the Pikes Peak region, with an agility area, large creek and no leashes required. Another popular dog destination is Red Rock Canyon Open Space. They offer an upper and lower Dog Loop, where you can let your dog off leash to run. The rest of the park requires leashes, but the hiking will make your dog happy.
Another dog park that is more centrally located in Colorado Springs is the Palmer Park Dog Park. The Palmer Park Dog Park is smaller, but it’s surrounded by nice and shady trees and provides a lot of open space to run. Like Red Rock Canyon, there is also ample leashed hiking nearby, too.
Following these tips will make taking dogs on road trips much easier for you and your pet. Safe travel for dogs in cars just requires a little preparation for a big pay-off: hitting the road with your favorite best friend.
Honest Accurate cares about keeping humans safe in cars, too. Give us a call for a vehicle safety inspection or to have us look at any other automotive needs. Our master technicians will help you and your dog travel safely this summer.