|Photos by Ulysses Ang & Bubbles Ang|
But how about when it comes to another kind of baby, the furry kind? Today, it’s not out of the ordinary to have dog owners treat their four-legged companions as members of the family and not just the typical bantay or guard dog. It’s a common sight to see a Shih Tzu or two traveling by car just to frolic in a dog-friendly park or mall. Most dogs love to ride in cars, but just like children, there’s actually a proper way to ensure your furry baby’s safety and comfort when traveling. Here’s a simple visual do’s and don’ts guide:
Don’t force a travel-fearful dog into an upsetting road trip. Before bringing your dog on a long trip, assess his road readiness with a five-minute trip around the block. Praise “getting there” with a treat upon arrival. Desensitizing and gradually acclimating your dog takes time.
Don’t feed your dog with a heavy meal just before your trip. Modify your pet’s feeding schedule with a light meal three to four hours before departure.
Don’t keep your dog in your lap or front seat when driving. Even at 56 km/h, a 60-pound unrestrained dog becomes a 2,700-pound projectile. Sadly, 98% of dogs that travel aren’t restrained properly.
Don’t keep your dog alone in a parked vehicle at any time or weather. Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature very well and leaving them inside a car can cause heat stroke. And even if the car’s left running, a dog can push buttons or operate controls by accident.
Do remember to pack a travel kit for your dog. Staples like a first-aid kit, identification and vaccination records (a must in some dog-friendly malls), and any medications are a must. Of course, don’t forget the more obvious things such as food, a water bowl, a leash and collar, and a favorite toy, blanket or whatever it is that can give your dog a sense of familiarity.
Do invest in a quality dog harness or well-ventilated kennel to keep your dog safe and secure. A good example is Roadie from Ruff Rider. This X-shaped harness goes through your dog’s chest and the other end secures into the seatbelt making sure your dog stays in place even in the event of an accident. And because of airbags, make sure your dog always stays in the backseat.
Do keep your dog hydrated and plan to make plenty of stops to walk, give food and water, or allow your dog to relieve himself. This also makes for a great bonding moment with your dog when on the road.
Like traveling with children, traveling with dogs can be seen as an arduous task. It takes some patience and a little re-adjustment, but with these simple steps it can transform a dog and a dog owner from a road worrier to a road warrior in no time. Dogs are considered as members of the family, so it’s important to treat them as such. Their safety and comfort should be taken into consideration especially during the next road trip.