Thursday, June 19, 2014
Are you planning on taking a trip out to the river or lake this summer and you want to take your dog? You are not alone; 2.5 million people visit Lake Havasu, 3 million people visit Lake Tahoe, and 9 million people visit Lake Mead each year. And while not all people (pet owners even) visit these destinations with their dogs, a good amount of them do. So what can you do to make sure your dog has a fun and safe time while visiting the water with you?
Traveling by boat
There are three basic things that your dog will need while on a boat or splashing around the water with you; a life jacket, sun block, and plenty of fresh water.
Life Jacket: Many people are in the dark about the importance of life jackets not only for their dog but for themselves as well.According to the U.S. Coast Guards Boating and Safety annual accident statistic report, “Almost three-fourths of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of course, eighty-four (84) percent were not reported as wearing a life jacket.”
Its dangerous to assume all dogs are naturally good swimmers. While they may naturally dog paddle, many dogs are in fact not good swimmers. But even a strong swimmer can get tired from a long swim, get injured, or be overwhelmed by a current or rapid. Remember, even a U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist like Michael Phelps could be overwhelmed in those conditions without the help of a life jacket.
Sunblock: Dogs can (and DO) get sun burned, especially on the water. Of course, white dogs and dogs with short hair are more susceptible to getting burned, but almost any dog can get burned on their nose and burn the pads of their feet on hot asphalt. If your dog is white and short haired, be sure to cover him in sunblock. And if he is getting in and out of the water, be sure to reapply throughout the day. For all other dogs, you might want to consider giving your pup a dog hat.
Fresh Water: Dogs lose a lot of body fluids when panting. Always bring plenty of fresh water for the dog on the boat and ensure your dog drinks plenty of it during the day. You may not be able to use a water bowl so you should bring a water bottle with a sports top or a dog water bottle designed specifically for dog drinking on the go.
It’s a good idea to keep your dog in the shade as much as possible to further avoid sun burns and dehydration. As always, please keep your dogs safety in mind during any water activity and happy splashing!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
The official start of summer is just around the corner, which could mean fun road trips and weekends at the lake. Bella Dog Magazine published a survey from PetRelocation.com on summer pet travel that found “61% of pet owners travel more than 50 miles with their pets at least once a year. Over half of the owners travel with their dogs. 38% travel as often as once a month with their pets.” And why not? Dogs make great traveling companions and they would love to go on an adventure with you.
While no one likes to think of things going wrong on vacation, accidents do happen, and your dog is relying on your to keep him/her safe. But how do you ensure they are safe whether you are traveling by car or boat?
Traveling by Car
No one wants to think about getting in a car accident but the reality is that over 10.2 million motor vehicle accidents happen each year (as reported by the U.S.Census Bureau). That’s why cars come with more and more airbags and children are strapped in to their car seats with a six point harness. We think of our safety and our children’s safety automatically when we drive, but for some reason we don’t think about strapping the dog in. First off, dogs should never ride in the front seat with the airbag on. Just like a small child, the impact of an airbag could kill your dog. Your dog should always be riding in a back seat and you can be sure they stay there by using one of the methods to travel safely with your dog; by harness (dog seat belt), by barrier, or by crate.
Harness (dog seat belt): There are several different dog seat belts on the market. Some hook onto the seat belt strap while others buckle into the seat belt buckle end. These harnesses wrap around the dog’s chest, still giving the dog freedom to sit, stand, and lay down, but keep the dog from roaming around the car, distracting you while driving, or flying through the windshield in the event of an accident.
Barrier: A dog barrier is usually made of metal tubing in a grid fashion, meant to keep the dog from climbing to the front seats. You will most often see these used in SUV’s, station wagons, or any type of vehicle where the trunk is not separated from the rest of the car. These types of vehicles have a lot of cargo room to tow things which makes it the perfect place for a large dog to spread out during the drive. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can use the barrier in sedans and compact cars as well (placed behind the driver’s and front passenger’s seat) for the same purpose. Not only does this protect your dog from flying forward during an accident, but it protects you and your children as well from being hit and injured by the dog as they are thrown forward.
Crates: Crates can be the safest place for a dog while traveling in a car. Your dog is in their own space (or den), and secured in one part of the vehicle without the chance of moving around, distracting you while driving, or getting thrown out of the car in the event of an accident. If a dog is traveling in the bed of a pickup truck, they should always be in a crate for their safety. Additionally, in the event of an accident, a stranger is more likely to help a dog that is confined in a crate than one that is running free and can potentially bite; especially if they are upset from the accident and acting irrationally.
Your dog is a member of the family, so he or she deserves to be treated as such in the car as well as in the home. This minimal change in your life can save your dog’s life, so why put it off any longer. Go checkout a local dog store near you or go online to find tons of great deals on travel items for the pets in your family.
And please remember: Whenever going on a long road trip don’t forget to bring dog food, lots of water, and an extra leash from home. And be sure to make frequent stops for potty breaks and stretching to avoid cabin fever.
Check back later this week for travel by boat.
Check back later this week for travel by boat.