Road Rules For Dogs

When traveling with your dogs, the best navigational tools are knowledge and planning.

By | Posted: Fri Oct 1 00:00:00 PDT 2004

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Vehicle barriers. For large dogs that don't fit in crates, or that simply require more room while traveling, vehicle barriers can be a good alternative. These metal grills are designed for use in SUVs and wagons, and work as a barrier between the cargo area of your car and the passenger seats. Your dog is securely confined to the back of the vehicle, and won't be propelled far forward in a collision.

Restraint harness. If you prefer that your dog sit on the seat of your car rather than in a crate or behind a bar-rier, consider a restraint harness. This device, which is both adjustable and suitable for dogs of all sizes, attaches to the seat belt and fits around your dog's upper body, just like your own shoulder strap. Restraint harnesses keep your dog from interfering with you while you're driving, yet allow close access and a window seat - the true joy of many a canine traveler.

Entry ramps. For small dogs that can't safely jump into or out of an SUV or van, or for older dogs, entry ramps can provide a safe way in and out of any vehicle. These specially designed ramps, usually made from polypropylene and glass fiber, hook onto the edge of your car or truck, and provide a way for any size (or age) of dog to walk up, down, in, or out. They'll save your back, too, since you'll no longer need to do the lifting.

Travel by Air
If you're reaching your destination via the friendly skies, you'll need to plan far ahead. If your dog is small enough to fit into a carrier (soft or hard) that fits under the seat in front of you - a situation suitable for small breeds only - then your only obstacle is making your reservation early enough. Most airlines allow only two pets per cabin, per flight.

Larger dogs fly as checked baggage in the cargo area of the plan e. Airlines do provide regulated temperature (typically 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and air pressure in this section of the plane, making cargo travel comfortable for most dogs.

Most dogs are stressed by air travel, but many veterinarians agree that sedation is not the answer. A dog's ability to cope with temperature changes can be affected by a sedative, and is rarely a good idea. Some herbal and pheromonal products, available at pet supply stores, can help dogs relax without heavy sedation. Airline requirements and common sense dictate certain considerations when traveling with dogs. For safe air travel, the following items are a must:

Secure the cabin. Whether in the cabin or the cargo area, he'll need a secure crate. Small dogs traveling in the cabin area must be able to fit in either a hard-sided or soft-sided crate no more than 23 inches long, by 13 inches wide, by 9 inches high. Most airlines require these crates be water-repellent and made from padded nylon, with mesh ventilation on two or more sides.

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