Ok, we love dogs. We love our dogs, we love your dogs. We are those people who say hi to a dog first before we say hi to the person walking the dog. Dogs love to spend time with you and get outside, so bringing them along on your next road trip or camping trip makes a lot of sense. At Road Adventures, we encourage you to bring your canine friend on your RV trip with you, but we want to give you a few tips on how to keep your dog safe while driving.
Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe in Your Vehicle
ONE. Take a few short test drives first.
If your dog has not spent any significant time in the car before, take him on a few, short test drives before you embark on a long journey with him. Take blankets, towels, and maybe some Clorox wipes just in case he has motion sickness. These test drives are also a great time to have your dog get used to his seat belt harness or whatever other safety restraining device you have chosen to use.
TWO. Feed and water the dog at least an hour before you leave. Don’t feed them while you drive.
This one might be more difficult, especially on longer road trips, but dogs get motion sickness just like humans do and feeding and watering him before you take off will help him feel more comfortable on the journey. If you stop for dinner, feed the dog first and then go have dinner. That way, he has lots of time to digest before a quick walk after dinner and you’re back on the road! Until your dog is comfortable with traveling in a vehicle and has lots of road time, stay away from feeding him snacks while driving too – just in case.
THREE. Schedule plenty of stops.
Puppies and older dogs will likely need to stop more often. As you stop to pump gas or get your coffee at the drive through, don’t forget that your four-legged friend may need a quick drink or to stretch his legs as well.
FOUR. Secure the dog with a seat belt harness, crate, guard net in the trunk, or a back seat hammock.
There’s different schools of thought on how you should secure your dog in a vehicle. Some people feel very strongly for or against one type or another. We are proponents of making sure your dog is comfortable and safe. Each dog is different, so you may want to try a few different methods before you find one that works for him. Things to keep in mind when looking for a way to secure your dog in a vehicle: He needs to have room to sit up and lay down. In the event of an accident, is he secure from being thrown into the front seat or the space behind him? If he’s going to travel in a crate, is the crate secured from being thrown through the vehicle?
We find that seat belt harnesses and crates tend to be the most popular amongst our RV renters who bring dogs if they are in a drivable unit. For those who rent travel trailers we’ve also seen back seat hammocks and trunk guard nets used. We linked to a few of those types above just to show you as a reference, we are not necessarily recommending those exact brands.
FIVE. Don’t let them stick their head out the window.
We know. This is like a dog’s greatest joy in life, but it is also dangerous. And yes, maybe a dog could jump out, although typically that is not the biggest concern. This activity can be very drying to a dog’s eyes. Even to the point of causing irreparable damage. Additionally, flying debris, bugs, and low tree branches can be harmful to your dog. Better to be safe than sorry, crack those windows folks, but don’t let your dog hang his whole head and neck out.
SIX. Consider the temperature.
Just because you are comfortable in the front seat does not mean that your dog is comfortable in the back. Check to make sure the AC vents in the back are open and pointed towards him. We even recommend packing a battery-operated fan, just in case.
Summer is our busiest season, so if you’re planning a summer RV road trip or camping trip, check out these useful tips.