Many of our pets travel with us on a daily or regular basis and since this month recognizes National Pet Travel Safety Day this blog is devoted to dogs and their welfare.

Here are a few safety suggestions you may not have considered:  

1. Identification Tags 

When you are heading out the door with the car all packed up, at the top of the “to-do” list should be your dogs collar with updated identification tags. You may want to consider a tag for your destination address as well. Travel Safely! 

2. Seat Belt

Riding with your dog on your lap is unsafe and very distracting. If your dog rides in the passenger seat, the risk of the airbag can be a concern and should be addressed as well. There are many options for traveling safely with your dog such as using a properly fitting safety belt harness. A safer way to travel with your dog is to use a crate, if possible. There are lots of great dog seat belt options and studies that have been performed to give us insight as to why this is so important. You can learn more here. 

3. Paw Safety

So now you are traveling and you get to where you are going safely. Well, let’s say your destination is here in beautiful Michigan where one day it’s sunny, and the next day it’s snowing! You will want to be prepared to keep your dogs coat clean and free from salt, snow and outside debris that can get caught in their sensitive paw pads. There are lots of great inventions out there such as absorbing floor matts, booties, paw balm, and even a traveling mud buster cup that will absorb all the paw moisture in moments keeping your vehicle clean and your pups’ paws healthy and happy. Check it out here! Protecting your dogs paws wouldn’t seem like it’s a top of the list priority until your dog can’t walk from an injury. Not fun! Especially if you’re on the road. Think paw safety!

4. Choosing the Best Leash

There are so many wonderful ways to keep your pet safe while traveling with proper fitting equipment. Some leashes are good for some types of dogs and others are better for different breeds and temperaments. Overall, here are a few things to consider: 

Retractable Leashes: You’ve seen them! Those zingy leashes that you push the button to make it stop or go? Some people swear by them and love them. Others, not so much. It seems people either love them or they hate them! Here’s the thing about safety and that leash choice. People trip and fall with those leashes. They get dropped and the clunky handle can injure a dog. The cord on the retractables can actually cause severe burns,deep cuts and even strangulations.  

Knowing which leash is best for your dog and even how to hold the leash properly can keep a dog more comfortable or even save a life. Your leash choice is an important one, and should be added to the shopping list of important travel items when considering the safety of your pet. A fixed-length leash is best or when traveling if you will be in public and busy places, there are considerations to take into account as well. This Guiding Star adjustable leash is amazing for when you need to loop it around your waist or over your shoulder for hiking adventures, etc. 

5. Understanding Collars

At Wag ‘N’ Tails, we are proud members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and The Certified Council for Pet Dog Trainers. We believe in science-based dog training practices. We consider any type of collar that uses pain, discomfort, or aversive sensations in any way to be dangerous. Don’t be fooled, shock hurts and it scares and intimidates. Therefore, not only taking a significant risk of injuring your dog, but potentially creating a behavioral problem related to fear and aggression that may truly never be reversed. It’s not worth the risk. Dangerous! These collars are dangerous and unnecessary. Learning how to slow down and understand what your dog is saying to you before jumping right into using a tool that you think will magically get you the results you immediately desire, is more important and safer for the welfare of your dog. 

6. Fanny packs are hot.

If you don’t have one, you need to get one. When you find super cool ones, keep sending them my way! I have one for every outfit. Bring a backpack if you don’t want to do the fanny pack thing, but you need some sort of way to hold all your dog lute! The water bottle, a variety of treats, a travel bowl, leashes, etc. The kids always have their bags and goodies, don’t forget that the dog will need one filled and ready for the car and the road trip adventure too!

Well now, hopefully, you’ve got the ID tags updated and your travel safety belt ready. Don’t forget to pack lots of patience and treats for your trip! That’s really all you need to stay safe – and love of course! Love is all you need. It works, especially with a good leash, the right collar and a filled fanny pack with freeze-dried liver! 

Happy and safe travels to you and your pup!

Check us out on our local news featuring this topic.

Christine Fox, APDT Dog Trainer
Founder and Owner, Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center

About the Author Christine Fox, APDT, CTDI and a Pet Sitters International member, is the founder of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center with two locations in Michigan. She has been involved with many pet dog trainer certification initiatives, all based on learning techniques that involve humane practices and the latest in scientific research. Christine also raised a service dog for Paws With a Cause and plans to train her newest pup in therapy work. Through her work with dogs and their parents, Christine has developed many happy and healthy relationships with both humans and dogs in the community.

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