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Who says a road trip is just for the hoomans? All it takes is some thoughtful planning, safety precautions, and you can create wonderful memories on the road with your pet as well. Here are 4 tips for a smooth-sailing experience and a fun ride for Fido!
Things to be aware of while in the car
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There are a few things you need to take note of to ensure that your pet is comfy and safe in your car. First and foremost, your dog must be well-accustomed to car rides. Dogs can get motion sickness (always prepare a puke bag and plenty of wet wipes) if not used to the jerking, swerving motions of a car ride, so we recommend building its tolerance with short rides first before gradually taking it out on longer drives until it is able to withstand a few hours in the car!
Secondly, keep the car well-ventilated and cool. Our pets can’t sweat to expel heat like we do, so you need to ensure that the temperature is always cool enough for them! If you notice Fido panting, immediately lower the temperature in the car and let it drink some water.
Additionally, just as it is a rule for everybody in the car to keep their seatbelt on, pets need to have some type of restraint to ensure their safety too! Make sure you have a seat-belt harness or a pet carrier made for cars for your dog to use.
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Prepare a lunch box containing your pet’s usual meal for the day and bring along your pet’s favorite treats! Experts recommend feeding your dog around 3-4 hours after you’ve started the journey, and the treats will come in handy in motivating your dog to obey your commands to ensure its safety, as well as to coax it into eating its meals if it is experiencing a slight loss of appetite due to the excitement of the car ride.
Try not to feed your dog in a moving vehicle too, as it may get indigestion. To prevent this from happening as much as possible, map out your rest stops to match your dog’s usual feeding schedule! You’ll also have to give your dog water regularly to ensure that it stays hydrated, and take into account its need to relieve itself.
Always ensure that you bring your own clean drinking water for your pet, as drinking water from an unfamiliar source could cause your dog an upset tummy, or even worse, carry parasites.
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One of the scariest outcomes from a road-trip with your pet is to end up losing your pet. As unfortunate as it is, accidents do happen, so the most you can do is to be as well-prepared as possible to reduce the chances of it happening and to be able to deal with it effectively and efficiently when needed.
First, ensure that your dog is microchipped by a vet in Singapore before bringing it out on a road-trip. This will increase the chances of being reunited with your pet, in the event that it goes missing. Pack spare leashes and collars, and on top of that, make sure to have a pet first-aid kit ready!
Here’s a checklist of items that you’ll need in the first aid kit, which can be easily found at most pet stores:
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Antibiotic ointment
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to induce vomiting (always check with your veterinarian first before giving to your pet!)
- Grooming wipes
- Medication (if it is on any)
- Saline eye solution
- Scissors with blunt end
- Styptic powder
- Your dog’s comfort item
- In cases of injury or anxiety in your dog for being in an unfamiliar environment, its favourite toy or blanket will help to provide some comfort to it.
4. Don’t do it for the ‘gram!
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You might have seen pictures of dogs sticking their heads out of the window and sure, it is rather Instagram-worthy, but is it worth it? The answer is, no. Unfortunately, this is potentially dangerous, and just like how it’s not recommended to stick your hand out of a moving car in case you hit a road-side sign or another moving car, your dog’s head (and yours, since you’re taking the photo) should be kept inside the car as much as possible.
Things like leaves and insects could strike your dog’s face at high speed which won’t bode well if it hits its eye, and your dog may even attempt to jump out of the window in excitement!
If you really wish to take such a shot, do it when the car is safely parked to the side of the road. When moving, your window can still be winded down to allow Fido to feel that immensely pleasurable rush of the wind, but make sure it has its harness strapped to the car seat and that it’s head is always inside the car.
Stay safe, and drive on!