5 safety tips for summer road trips with dogs

Summer is prime time for traveling, especially for pet owners taking road trip vacations. Lots of dog lovers take their canine companions along for the ride. Professional pet sitters and boarding kennels can be costly, and many folks choose to include their dogs for family vacations, especially in the summer.

How can pet lovers travel safely on the road this summer with their canine companions?

Here are five tips for safer summer road trips with dogs.

NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

1. Choose and use secure seating for a traveling dog.

Each year, countless dogs are injured inside moving vehicles, particularly during sudden stops and vehicular accidents. An untethered animal may stumble, fall, or be catapulted through the interior of a car or truck, winding up with broken bones and other injuries. Others may be harmed by loose objects that fall upon them inside a vehicle.

Do dogs need seat belts inside vehicles for on-the-road safety? Vehicular safety belts and harnesses are available for pets. Some of these products attach to existing seat belts, while others may be factory installed. Although pet seat belts are not legal requirements, many dog owners do choose to use them to prevent injuries. Other pet owners put their smaller dogs in airy pet crates to keep them secure inside moving vehicles.

Dogs should not be held on drivers’ laps during on-road travel, as this can be both dangerous and distracting. In addition, a pet may be crushed by a sudden release of a vehicular airbag.

2. Don’t put dogs in pickup truck beds.

In many regions, humans may not legally ride in the back of a moving pickup truck. However, few areas have laws restricting this practice with pets. Animals (particularly dogs) are often seen traveling in the open beds of pickup trucks. This form of canine transport can be extremely hazardous, as dogs may fall or fly out of pickup truck beds on bumpy roads or with sudden stops.

Similar hazards may occur with sudden stops in vehicles with convertible tops or sunroofs.

3. Take lots of water breaks when traveling with a dog.

Long-distance road trips may take several hours, and dogs undoubtedly require water breaks. Compassionate and cautionary pet owners will offer dogs fresh, clean water (not roadside puddles, which may be contaminated with chemicals or other hazards) and an opportunity to potty outside their vehicles. (Of course, dog owners will want to pick up after their pets, if necessary.)

4. Use a collar and leash during road trips with a dog.

Far too many dogs may be endangered, injured, or killed in roadway accidents annually. Others may be bitten or maimed (or even bred) by unfamiliar dogs in rest areas, parks or other roadside stopping points.

Many of these tragedies could be avoided by the use of collars and leashes (or pet harnesses) during road trips. Even the most obedient dogs may become confused or overexcited in unfamiliar surroundings, so compassionate restraint is well advised.

5. Never leave a dog unattended in a vehicle.

Although most dogs seem to enjoy traveling in moving vehicles, a parked car presents a completely different scenario.

Within just a few minutes, the interior of a stationary vehicle on a hot day may reach dangerous levels. Even with the windows open, a car’s inside temperature may quickly exceed 120 (F) degrees – potentially causing heatstroke, brain damage, heart failure, or even death for pets trapped inside.

By taking a few precautions, pet lovers can enjoy summer road trips with their canine companions. Of course, it’s also a good idea to take along each dog’s health records (including verification of current immunizations) and to affix identification tags on each dog’s collar, whether or not the pet has been microchipped.

The dog days of summer can be an ideal occasion for traveling with treasured pets, especially when these basic on-road safety precautions are taken.

Graphic created by this user with public domain artwork

Public domain photo


5 steps to take, if a pet is poisoned

Accidental poisons can be perilous for pets.

Curious pets can find potential poisons and face serious illness or even death as a result. A dog or cat may stumble onto some toxic substance, which has likely been unintentionally left within the animal’s reach. In a moment, the pet may consume or even simply roll in the poisonous matter and become very ill without warning.

NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

Common pet poisons include alcoholic beverages, antifreeze, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, chocolate, cosmetics, fertilizers, garlic, grapes, household cleaners, medications (human or veterinary), onions, perfumes, and pesticides. Certain house plants, garden flowers, and other vegetation can also be lethal for pets.

Adapted by this user from public domain photo.

What ought a pet owner to do, if pet poisoning is suspected?

A few common-sense steps are in order.

1. Don’t panic.

This is critical. Seeing a pet in distress can be remarkably unsettling, but it’s essential to keep a clear head to save the animal.

2. Eliminate the toxic substance.

Immediately, the pet must be removed from the vicinity of the possible poison. If possible, it’s important to check the animal’s mouth and pull out any remaining bits of whatever he or she consumed.

3. Check the pet’s health and behavior.

Certain symptoms are common with pet poisoning. These may include accelerated heart rate, coughing blood, diarrhea, dizziness, energy loss, excessive drooling, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, loss of coordination, mouth sores, pale gums, panting, seizures, tremors, vomiting (especially bloody), and more.

4. Call a veterinarian immediately.

Causing a pet to vomit in the hopes of expelling the poison is not always smart or safe. The best bet is to contact a veterinary professional immediately. The vet will likely want to know which of the telltale symptoms have been already displayed.

If possible, it can be extremely helpful to have a sample of the poison the pet seems to have eaten. Saving the bottle or product packaging is ideal, if the substance had one.

If a veterinarian is not available, it’s possible to call a pet helpline like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) or the Pet Poison Helpline (1-800-213-6680). Both of these generally charge consultation fees.

5. Follow the veterinarian’s instructions exactly.

Pet poisoning treatments vary. Some require hospitalization, while others may be treated at home. Different toxins are addressed in diverse ways, such as administering antacids, dosing with activated charcoal, hydrating orally or intravenously, inducing vomiting, oxygen support, and stomach pumping.

How can pet poisoning be prevented?

The best way to minimize the possibility of a pet’s poisoning is to remove all potentially hazardous substances from the animal’s reach. If the cat or dog or other pet is unable to come into contact with a toxin, he or she is unlikely to face a risk from it.


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Pet love: 5 steps for making a long-lasting pet memory box

Pet memories can last long after beloved animal companions are no longer with us. A dog may live for six to 20 years, depending upon his breed. An indoor cat may survive for 15 to 18 years. A hamster may live only two or three years.

How can pet owners preserve pet memories?

Many animal lovers create pet memory boxes to enjoy their furry friends during their life spans and to honor them afterwards. The process is simple.

Public domain photo / Pixabay

NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

1. Pick a sturdy container.

A waterproof plastic box with a tight-fitting lid serves well as a pet memory box. The transparent varieties offer easy identification in storage areas of the home. Some pet owners pick fancier receptacles, such as hand-carved wooden boxes or decorative lidded tins.

Ideally, a separate box contains mementos for each pet.

2. Collect significant stuff to save.

What pet reminders are most meaningful to you? Suggested souvenirs might include copies of a pet’s medical records, breeding or adoption papers, training certificates, show awards, identification tags, and his or her baby collar.

Pet photographs are a must, of course.

A pet lover might clip a bit of fur and tuck it into a small zippered plastic bag for safekeeping as well.

Why not toss a favorite old chew toy, a ball, or a plush animal that resembles the pet into the pet memory box? Perishable items, such as dog bones or catnip treats, should be skipped.

3. Identify each item.

A fine-point permanent marker is handy for jotting down names, dates, and other details on each item going into the pet memory box.

4. Pack carefully.

Bubble wrap or packing popcorn help to keep treasured pet artifacts safe. Papers can be stowed in a folder or large envelope, placed neatly on the bottom of the container. Fragile items should be wrapped.

5. Store the pet memory box securely.

For safekeeping, the entire parcel should be stowed in a cool and dry spot and checked periodically for memory’s sake and possible updating.

A pet memory box takes little time to prepare, but it can lead to many hours of happy memories after a pet has passed away.

Product photo – fair use

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