When you have to travel with your dog by car either for enjoyment or for the purpose such as a Therapy visit here are a couple of recommended items to think about.
Crate or seat belt: When traveling for therapy visits, crating your dog while in the car is a good idea. The dog is less likely to get underfoot when you’re driving, or cause you distractions. Also, should you have an unfortunate accident the dog will be safer in a crate and won’t become a projectile aiming at your head! If you decide that your car is not big enough for a crate then buy a seat belt made for dogs which can be found in most pet catalogs or stores. If you use a seat belt make sure to put the dog in the back seat. I am reminded of one of my trainees that actually got a ticket for having her dog in the front seat!
Outdoor Thermometer: A training tool for you.
“What’s this?” you ask. No, you are not in need of reading glasses, you are actually seeing the word thermometer and here’s why. During the summer months, or if you live where the climate is usually hot and sunny year round you’ll want to purchase an inexpensive thermometer and hang it in the area of the car where your dog usually sits. How many times have you been the sweltering passenger in the back seat of a car and felt that the driver was skimping on the air conditioning to save a little gas money? Oh, sure, the driver looks comfy with the air vent blowing on him meanwhile you are wiping your body down with a towel and wishing you wore better deodorant! Your car can quickly reach one hundred degrees on a hot day even with the windows cracked and those silly looking sun shades placed on the dashboard. That high temperature can quickly affect your dog and not in a good way, brain damage or death have been known to occur to a dog left in those conditions. While driving even with the air conditioner on in the front, the sweltering sun can still cause the back of a car or van to reach temperatures of at least eighty five degrees. So please before you put the dog in the car check the thermometer you have placed in the car and if necessary let your car run with the air on full blast before even thinking of putting your dog in there. If you feel the air conditioner is not sufficient enough to circulate the air to the back of the car buy one of those personal fans that plug into your car’s lighter to help move the air to where your dog sits. Just remember that awful time you were the sweat drenched passenger in the back seat, the difference is you could have complained, your dog doesn’t have that luxury. The same premise holds true during the cold winter months when your car can actually hold the cold air in like a refrigerator. So if you are taking your dog out in the winter make sure he is not left in the car without the heater on. I found that taking an extra set of keys is very helpful; you can leave a car running while locking the doors from intruders. I will also leave the car running with the air conditioner on during a short therapy visit in the summer months to keep the car cool. Obviously you would never leave the dog in a running car that is parked in a garage as asphyxiation could occur.
First Aide Kit:
As is true in everyday life for humans sometimes the unexpected happens to your dog as well. Keeping a first aide kit in your car for therapy visits and training classes is a good idea. The items mentioned here are for everyday minor cuts and abrasions.
Rolled Gauze, Cotton, Gauze pads, Gauze tape, Hydrogen Peroxide, Hydrocortisone Ointment,(first aide cream) Eye Wash, Scissors, Tweezers, Exam Gloves, Emergency Ice Pack, bottle of water, Nail trimmers, styp-tic powder (or you can use a small vial of flour), benadryl for an allergic reaction, and your vet’s name and telephone number.