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Extremely Useful Tips For A Safe Road Trip With Your Dog

Prepare him for long trips by taking him on shorter ones first.

1. Never keep your pet in your lap or the front seat. While this makes sense, I still see a lot of owners holding their pets in their laps. I presume they only do this for short distances, although this doesn't make it safe. If a dog suddenly gets excited and jumps out or jerks the wheel, you could get in an accident.

2. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier, or properly secured with a pet safety seatbelt attached to their harness. A study shows that 98% of dogs that travel aren't properly restrained inside a moving vehicle. Aside from preserving the condition of your upholstery, it will also prevent Oreo from jumping out onto the road when he sees that absolutely stunning Afghan hound going the other way. As much as I don't mind my dog perching himself on the console box so he can see what's happening down the road and breathe down my neck, he'll have to stay in the back.

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3. Prepare him for long trips by taking him on shorter ones first. How long is "long"? The longest drive I've ever taken with a dog was two hours. But before we took off, he had already been used to trips to the vet. I'll also add that every trip was preluded by a 15-minute walk so he could get his business over and done with. Even so, I always make sure I'm armed with baggies and primed for emergency pit stop maneuvers. In fact, one of my bucket-list trips is to go on a trek with nothing but a truck, a rucksack, and my rambunctious buddy. 

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4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. Unless the dog is a licensed driver, of course. In the heat, a dog will quickly fry. Even if it's cool and the windows are open, a dog's curiosity may get the better of him and who knows what buttons, levers and locks he'll operate while you're gone? Do not use him as an antitheft system.

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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.