Safety Tips When Traveling With Pets


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Although school will be starting soon here in the Deep South, there are still plenty of warm summer days to enjoy.

And part of enjoying summer weather is taking road trips. However, it’s also important to remember that while our pets might enjoy a car ride, they definitely don’t enjoy being closed up in a hot car.

Every year, hundreds of dogs and cats – and children – are left in sweltering cars for “just a few minutes.” Some of them die.

So the first safety tip to remember is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave a living being closed up in a vehicle, even with the windows down a few inches.

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Depending on the outside temperature, the location where the car is parked, and the time of day, temperatures inside can soar well past 100 degrees in just a few minutes.

If you stop for a bite to eat, select somewhere that has outside seating. Many restaurants allow pets on these patios – just ask. You might be surprised!

And if they don’t, get your food to-go, and find a shady spot to eat where your pup can wander around safely on his leash.

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Some pet parents use strollers for their four-legged kids. They don’t get much exercise, but they do get fresh air!

Many people suggest tying your pet outside the establishment, and in some locations, this is encouraged with “hitching posts” and water bowls.

While this might work in a few cases, you hear about dogs being stolen or rescued from these situations. And especially if you can’t keep an eye on your pet at all times, don’t risk it.

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State parks and highway rest stops offer lots of shady picnic tables where you can enjoy lunch without leaving your furry child in the car. Remember, they get tired of being in the car just like you do, and they need a few minutes to run around and get fresh air and water.

While you’re driving, the safest place for your pet is in a belted-in crate, or at least a harness specifically designed to attach to the seatbelt.

This way she is protected from sudden stops and you’re protected from having her unexpectedly jump into your lap! That’s a safety issue for you and her!

Of course, when you’re traveling with a pet, always take along his immunization and health records. Be sure her collar won’t pull off and that his tags include your cell phone number in case of an emergency. Also be sure he’s microchipped and that the chip information is current and correct.

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Air conditioning is wonderful for all of us. But if you’re traveling without it, be sure to check on everyone frequently. There are sad-but-true stories of young children dying in car seats in cars traveling without air conditioning.

This is equally possible with a pet. So whether you’re a/c is on the blink or you’re driving with the top down, ensure that all your passengers are getting plenty of fresh air, and stop even more frequently for water breaks.

As always, good manners apply. Pick up after your pet, and dispose of the bag in a sanitary manner.

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If a lake or beach is in your travel plans, be sure Fido and Fifi are welcome. Follow rules about keeping them on a leash.

And if you’re boating, have a safety vest for your pet as well as everyone else on the boat. Dogs swim naturally, but if something should happen far from shore, they’ll need help to be safe.

Use sunscreen on them, too. Dogs and cats can get sunburned just like the rest of us! Find a place for them to rest safely out of the direct sun.

While all of our suggestions apply to dogs, they can also be applied to cats, birds, goldfish, and other critters who share your space and life.

Cages should be belted in. They should never be left in a hot car, even for a minute. All living creatures need fresh air and water often.

Traveling with pets can be great fun, and summer is a wonderful time to enjoy a road trip. By following these safety tips, you’ll ensure that everyone arrives happy and healthy!

Next: A Road Trip Along Florida Highway A1A

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