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TEN TIPS FOR SAFE CAR TRAVEL WITH YOUR DOG

For some dogís parents, a tripís no fun if the four-legged members of the family canít come. But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your dog. With thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone. Planning a road trip? Traveling with a pet involves more than just loading the dog in the back seat and motoring offóespecially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. We offer the following tips to help you prepare for a safe and smooth car trip:

1. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure itís large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. And P.S., itís smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.2. Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car.

3. Your dogís travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Donít feed your dog in a moving vehicleóeven if it is a long drive.

4. Never leave your dog alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the dog to freeze to death.

5. What in your petís traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your dog a sense of familiarity.

6. Make sure your dog wears a collar with an ID tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your mobile phone, destination phone number, and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat collars.

7. Donít allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. This can subject him to inner ear damage and lung infections, and he could be injured by flying objects.

8. Bring along your dogís vaccination records, itís always smart to be on the safe side.

9.  When it comes to H2O, we say BYO. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area heís not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.

10. If you travel frequently with your dog, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, available at auto product retailers.