Road Trips With Your Dog: Tips and Tricks to Keep Everybody Safe

Vacations are all about fun—as long as you’re prepared and eliminate potential risks that can put a damper in your plans.

Here are three common—but often ignored—issues to address to ensure both you and your canine have a fun and safe getaway.

Make Windows Off Limits

While allowing your dog to stick his head out of the window might seem like a lot of fun, it can also be a recipe for disaster. All it takes is a tiny bit of debris hitting your dog’s eye or getting into his ear to cause serious damage. Even more likely: dust and debris can find their way into your dog’s lungs through his nose. This can lead to serious inflammation and even lung infections.

Then there’s the risk of your dog jumping out of the window while the car is in motion. While you might think that “my dog is smarter than that,” the truth is that dogs can get overexcited at the sight of a running cat, food or even another dog—and forget that the car is moving. The result? Serious injury.

Sorry, Fido. To give your dog a chance to “smell the landscape” along the way, crack the window just a bit so air can still flow in—but not enough for doggie’s head to fit through.

Ban Front Seat Driving

A survey conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that over 30 percent of drivers are distracted by pets riding in their cars. Distractions include everything from dogs lying on the driver’s lap, to watching the pet jump around, to actually feeding the dog. Not only are those dogs unrestrained, but they are likely also riding in the front seat.

Which points to another worrying statistic: only 17 percent of drivers use any kind of pet restraint when taking their dogs along. This includes barriers to keep dogs restrained in the back of the car, carriers, or even doggie seatbelts.

Soothe a Troubled Tummy

Not all dogs suffer from motion sickness—and even those who do might eventually outgrow it. Although it’s most common in puppies, adult dogs (especially those who have never been in cars before) can also suffer from it.

Not sure if your dog is suffering from motion sickness? Common symptoms include yawning, excessive drooling, and listlessness.

While a number of nausea and motion sickness medications are available to soothe your dog’s tummy, you can also try ginger capsules or even a couple of ginger snap cookies 10-15 minutes before a car ride. Cracking the window open also works because it helps balance the pressure of the air inside the car—a hot, stuffy car with no air circulation can worsen the feelings of nausea.

Meet the Author: Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and avid adventurer. She's gone hiking in Siberia, snorkeling in Thailand, and canoeing in the Mekong River. She also loves caves and has been known to get lost in one or five around the world. Diana's work has been published in the Discovery Channel website, Yahoo!, Popular Mechanics, and more. You can read more of her work on her website at

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