Many of us are hopping in the car for a summer getaway, perhaps for an adventure in the Rockies or even across state lines to see other natural wonders. If you’re planning to take your four-legged friend with you, keep the following safety tips in mind.

Before your trip, microchip. If your pup somehow gets lost while away from home, he’ll be much more likely to be returned to you if he’s microchipped and wearing a collar with proper identification tags.

Practice first. If your pup doesn’t usually go for car rides, be sure to practice first. Take him for a few shorter drives before your planned trip. Does he like it? Does he act scared or anxious? Does he seem to feel sick after or during the car ride? If your practice rides reveal that your dog doesn’t like the car or gets carsick, ask us for possible solutions before you embark on your interstate road trip.

Plan for pit stops. Allow extra time so you can stop at least every three hours (or more frequently if you have a puppy or senior dog) for your dog to use the bathroom, drink some water, and move around a bit.

Properly restrain. Don’t let your dog wander around the car while you’re driving. An unrestrained pet can distract you and cause an accident. And, unrestrained pets are more likely to be injured or to cause injury to another passenger in the vehicle if an accident occurs. Keep everyone safe by using a secure and well-ventilated travel crate or a harness attached to a seat buckle in the back seat.

Stay inside. We’ve all seen dogs sticking their heads out the windows of moving cars, but this can lead to ear damage, lung infections, or worse. Let him enjoy the ride inside the vehicle where he’s safe.

Stay with your pet. Never leave your pet alone in a parked car even for a few minutes. The temperature inside the car, even with the windows cracked, can quickly reach dangerous levels that can cause potentially deadly heatstroke.

Safely traveling with a furry companion makes for great memories! If you have any questions about hitting the road with your dog, contact us.