According to statistics from the official US government website for distracted driving, distracted drivers killed 3,179 people in 2014 and injured 431,000 in the same year. When you think distracted driving, immediately cell phones and other electronic devices come to mind. But pets, specifically transporting your dog can often be every bit as distracting, if not more so, than attention hungry technology. So when transporting your dog, it’s important to take some simple measures to keep things safe for you and your beloved pooch. But also for all the fellow travelers out on the road with you. Here are a few things to keep in mind when transporting your dog in a pickup truck.
Tips for positioning and restraining your dog in your truck
Window up for safety.
We’ve all seen how much they love it, window down, head out, ears flapping in the rushing air. But despite how much they may enjoy it, this is actually extremely unsafe and potentially damaging to your furry companion. For starters, there’s the potential danger of injury from projectile road debris. But the less obvious risk of dramatic temperature shock has the potential to cause serious respiratory damage. So keep the windows up to help eliminate this danger for your pet.
Be aware of airbags.
There is also the safety risk posed by the deployment of your trucks airbags. Which discharge with enough force to cause death or serious injury to your dog.
Restraint is safety.
The safest option for transporting your dog is to confine them either in a transport carrier placed in the backseat of the truck (if available). Or through the use of a seatbelt and harness like the #1 crash tested Kurgo restraint system. If your dog must ride up front, ensure you use a restraint system that keeps them firmly anchored to the seat.
Crating your dog.
When looking for a crate for your dog be sure your choice has been certified crash tested. Not all crates are created equal. And if the worst happens, and your vehicle is involved in a collision you’ll want to know you’ve provided the maximum amount of safety for your furry friend.
Transporting your dog in the truck bed.
If riding in the cab isn’t an option for your dog it is possible to safely secure them in the bed. Either by securing in a travel crate tied down and properly secured to an anchor point like one of our trusty BullRing products. Or by using a product like the Bushwacker vehicle restraint system. This includes a strap that goes across the width of the pickup’s bed. A special harness is then used to tether the animal to this cross-strap. Never leave a dog to ride loose or untethered in your truck bed. A frightened or excited animal can easily jump from a moving vehicle. Or even be thrown out by the forces exerted by driving at high speeds.
Prepare your pet for travel.
Get your dog used to the truck.
Condition the animal to the vehicle before actually traveling anywhere. Practice entering and exiting the vehicle and allow your dog to spend some time familiarizing themselves with your vehicle. This will help reduce some of the anxiety involved with actual travel in the vehicle. Use treats to associate a positive experience with your truck.
Anxious or carsick Dog?
Many pets experience nausea, anxiety, and stress when riding in cars. Both natural remedies and conventional medications are available.
Melatonin, given orally, half an hour before departure can help relax an apprehensive animal.
To calm a nervous stomach, try these suggestions:
- Kefir – fermented milk with beneficial probiotics.
- Essential oils like Lavender, ginger, peppermint, and dill, tarragon, lemongrass, and cardamom.
- Herbs such as catnip or ginger.
- The most popular homeopathic remedy for nausea caused by motion sickness is Cocculus (Indian cockles). Give these to your pet just before traveling.
- Other remedies, depending on your pet’s particular symptoms, include Aconitum, Argentum, and Ipecac.
- Medications, Dramamine or Meclizine, Benadryl, Cerenia Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) – A calming pheromone derived from a compound excreted in mother’s milk to relax nursing pups.
Do A Little Research.
Scout out pet-friendly locations like gas stations, stores, restaurants along your route. Knowing these locations ahead of time will minimize stress while out on the road. Most pet stores, Lowes, Home Depot will allow pets inside. Call ahead to make sure any hotels or motels you plan to stay at will allow dogs.
Pack Everything you need for travel.
For an extended trip be sure you take vet records, towels, a couple of toys, extra leash, their own food and plenty and treats. Easily accessible water for your pet to drink can also be a challenge. So be sure to fill water bottles with your home tap water. Or purchase bottled water.
Consider protective measures in case of a lost animal.
Consider microchip ID for your dog as dogs can get excited or panicked in new environments and get away from you. At the very least make sure your ID tags are up to date with current contact information and that the tags properly attached to your dog’s collar. Additionally, snap some photos of your pup on your phone to show in the event he or she does go missing.
A checkup never hurts.
Before a long trip is an excellent time for a checkup with the vet to ensure your pet is healthy enough to safely travel. Be sure to pack all daily medications, if applicable. If bound for flea and tick country, consult with your vet about one of the many prescription preventives available on the market.
On the road
When you get out on the road, be sure to keep in mind that this can be a stressful time for your pet. If you have small kids, tell them to go easy on the dog while in the car.
Make sure to use Use window locks to prevent the animals accidental activation of window buttons. Overexcited dogs can easily create a dangerous situation by opening the window of a moving vehicle. Creating an opportunity to jump out and injure themselves or roll up the window on their neck or leg.
We hope the above tips will help you make traveling with your dog in your truck safer for you and your animal. So you can enjoy them for years and years to come. From the gang here at BullRing accessories hope all your travels are safe and happy.