Safety Tips for summer travel with your dog

dogincar­For most people, pets are family. The trusty dog or cat is always there — curled up next to us when we watch television late at night, trotting next to us when we take a morning walk, greeting us happily at the end of every workday. That’s why many pet owners can’t bear the thought of leaving a pet behind for a vacation or weekend getaway. W­e’d prefer to take them along.

­But you can’t just load your pet into the sedan and peel out for parts unknown without taking some precautions. You have to think about your pet’s safety on the long car ride. Does your furry friend ­get carsick? What type of restraint will you use to secure your pet? Will Fido get startled and try to hide under the brake pedal?

We’ve put together five favorite safety tips to make traveling by automobile with your pet a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

1. Get your pets used to car travel by taking them on some shorter trips around the neighborhood to see how they react to bring in the car. Some may enjoy the ride more inside a crate.

2. Put a travel kit together for your furry friend. Keep a copy of his/her medical records handy and pack all the normal bowls, toys, water, food and a pooper scooper.

3. Bring a toy or two and keep the pet entertained. Restless dogs do crazy stuff in the car, so keep them occupied.

4. Make sure to stop often enough for bathroom and play breaks. You don’t want a mess in your car!

5. ­Hands (or paws) down, the best way to keep your pet safe during a car trip is to use a restraint system. You wear a seatbelt for your own safety — give your pet the same respect. Your pet should ride in the backseat so it won’t get injured if a front seat airbag is deployed. However, don’t let your pet ride in the bed of a pickup truck. In that case, it’s safer up front with you.

The best restraint system for your pet depends on its size an­d breed, as well as the size of your vehicle. There are many options from which to choose.

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