We’re coming to the end of Henry Wag’s first week’s competition on Travels with My Dog. And it looks like the first winner will be chosen at random from various images and a video where the travels are seen as meaning holidays.

We’re keen to see how the second week entries pan out. Perhaps it will be funny stories where things went didn’t quite go as expected? So this week’s blog is a timely reminder of what we ought to do when travelling with our dog whatever the length or purpose of the trip.

Seven Considerations

When travelling safely with our dogs in cars, we should consider:

  1. Using some form of approved restraint. This reduces the likelihood of our friends becoming a projectile and hurting themselves and us when we brake suddenly. The choices are specially designed harnesses which attach to set belt restraints; dog grill guards to section off the boot; or dog crates with sufficient room to sit up and stretch but not to be thrown around in the crate. Small dogs might like booster seats in the front, but also be aware that if the kids are in the back, this sometimes creates a hierarchy issue.
  2. Heat kills in parked cars. When the thermometer hits 25 degrees centigrade, a car can quite often hit 70 degrees. Often 20 minutes in a car for a dog with a body temperature of 41 degrees is fatal. Sadly cracking open a window is not enough to produce cool air when stationary. And with modern car alarms is in any case not a practical solution. Simplest solution is to take your pet with you.
  3. When moving keep windows almost closed. We’ve all seen it and probably done it ourselves where the dog is cooling itself with the head out of the window of a moving car. Opening the window a crack is usually fine, but the head out risks collision with other vehicles, street furniture and hedging. The use of window guards reduces the likelihood of the effects of airborne debris such as insects and seed in the eyes and ears. While sunshades, as for children, keeps the inside cooler.
  4. Keep your dog and kids distracted. For both toys, comfy seats or rugs and frequent rest breaks on long journeys are key. If they feel comfortable, happy and the mind engaged, half the battle of getting there safely is won.
  5. Unlike kids, dogs need plenty of water. The market is full of designer bottles and collapsible bowls while for others it’s the recycled plastic bottle and the metal dish. It does not matter which as long as it is safely stowed in the boot when not in use and accessible. Both will of course need toilet breaks!
  6. Keeping your pet dry and clean. Another area where there might be a little more attention to the dog than the child because your pet may not find it as easy to explain its discomfort. Time for the microfibre towels and perhaps a rinsing water bottle to keep clean and comfortable
  7. Training our pets to always exit on the pavement side of the car, when the door is opened calmly and on command. This may also work with non-teenage children to reduce the accidents and near-misses that occur in car parks and on the streets.

Of course there are additional considerations when travelling by plane, boat or internationally which we’ll tackle another time. But that doesn’t of course prevent you from telling us about those times in Henry Wag’s Facebook competition this week!