Car safety equipment for dogs

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Recently, we took a long vacation with our 80+lb Lab, Vance, and I’m sharing tips and tricks about travel with a pet. Today, I want to talk about the products that keep your dog restrained and safe when you take your dog on a road trip.

If you plan on doing any car travel with a dog, it’s crucial that you have a way to restrain your dog in the car. This way, you don’t have to worry about your dog jumping out of the car if a door is opened, about your dog climbing onto your lap and causing an accident, or about your dog getting unceremoniously dumped on the floor should you have to slam on the breaks. A dog safety belt can also help keep your dog safe if you get into a car accident.

The Easy Rider Car Harness is a great price and has some extra padding to make it a bit more comfortable.

The Kurgo Harness pairs nicely with the zip line (below) to let your dog move around in the car while still being safely secured.

The Kurgo Dog Zip Line Restraint lets your dog walk back and forth on the back seat so that he can get comfortable. That’s perfect for long car rides if you have a dog who gets a little restless and likes to change positions. Vance likes to switch sides in the backseat from time to time so that he can check out what’s happening out each of the windows, and this gives him the freedom to do that while still keeping him restrained.

This Pet Lookout is great if you have a small dog who likes to be able to see out the windows. You’ll want to use it with a harness (instead of a collar) to keep your dog secured.

If your dog absolutely will not tolerate a car safety harness, you might want to pick up something like this backseat barrier which will at least prevent your dog from being able to climb into the front seat. It’s not as secure as a harness, but it might be helpful.

Do you use a vehicle dog harness during car travel with your dog? What kind?

Is a Dog Ranch right for your dog?

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I’ve gotten a few emails from readers about my series on travel with a pet wanting to know what I think of boarding your dog at a dog ranch.

I think it’s a great idea! A dog ranch tends to be set up for long-term boarding and it’s much more dog-friendly than caged kennels. Often, they’ll have lots of play time during the day for your dog. That helps your dog get plenty of exercise and have lots of fun while you’re away. Plus, by ensuring your dog has plenty of activity during the day, he’s more likely to sleep comfortably through the night (instead of missing you terribly).

A dog ranch is essentially like preschool–dogs learn some, hang out with their peers some, and nap some. When the dog ranch is good (and do make sure to check references), it’s a safe, comfortable place for your dog to hang out while you enjoy your vacation or business trip.

Another nice thing about a dog ranch is that they very often are on large pieces of property which means if you have a dog who likes to run that there’ll be plenty of room for him to stretch his legs. They also tend to be far away from busy highways and well fenced so that your dog will be safer there.

Of course, we loved having our dog with us on our recent vacation, but if you’d rather not (or can’t) take a dog with you when you travel, a dog ranch can be a perfect place to board a dog while you’re away.

Car travel with dog

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I just posted my favorite travel with a pet tips, and today I’d like to talk about specific car travel with dog tips because traveling with a cat is an entirely different animal ;-).

When you’re going to be venturing out on a road trip with your dog, three things are important:

1) Preparation.
2) The actual car time.
3) What happens when you get where you’re going.

If your dog is a grumpy traveler (or, worse, gets carsick!) talk with your vet before you hit the road. In fact, it’s always a good idea to check in with your vet about any travel plans that include the dog because there may be vaccinations to consider, preventative medications (like if you’ll be traveling to a tick-heavy camp grounds) or other concerns to address.

Another important part of pre-trip preparation is to make sure you have a proper harness for car travel with dog. This will keep your dog secure through the trip.

Finally, make sure you have a dog first aid kit and any special medications your dog might need. For instance, if your dog is allergic to ants, make sure to take along the antihistamines you give to prevent a reaction. Yes, most of what you’d need is available where you’re going, and will be available along the way, but do you really want to waste precious minutes searching for a drugstore when you could just reach into the first aid kit and find precisely what you need? I think not!

During the trip, you’ll find lots of great tips from my article on Travel with a Pet–make sure to pay special attention to the warnings about weather!

Then, finally, when it comes to getting settled in when you venture out for car travel with dog, it’s important to choose pet friendly hotels if you’ll be staying in a hotel. Also, as before you started the car trip with your dog, make sure to give your dog plenty of exercise when you get to the hotel. That’ll help get your vacation off to a good start.

Does your dog get car sick? Or do both of you enjoy car travel with dog? I’d love to hear about your experiences!