There’s nothing better in the summer than packing up the car and heading to the cottage, your favourite beach, or exploring the great outdoors. It’s even better if your four-legged friend is along for the ride.
So if you’re planning on your bringing Fido on your warm weather road trips, here’s some great gear to ensure your journey is a stress-free and safe one.
And please please please – never leave your dog in a hot car!
While many pooches get fired up for having their head out the window, others aren’t quite as keen to ride in the car. Help by making sure they’re exercised before heading out, and pack a few of their favourite toys and a blanket to keep them comfy and entertained. This travel mat keeps your seats pristine and also makes a great travel bed – it rolls up like a yoga mat when not in use.
Long car rides can cause anxiety in some pets. Thundershirt has designed special shirts for dogs and cats that help to ease their stress by simulating a swaddling effect. It also works like a charm during thunderstorms and fireworks nights. The shirt is like a hug you can wear, and will make Fido less stressed.
An unsecured dog can become a projectile in an accident, putting both your health and theirs at risk. The safest way for your pooch to travel is in a secured crate, but most pet owners I know have their four-legged friend riding shotgun, or in the back seat. Protect your pooch with this $27 Grreat Choice Car Harness that buckles into your existing seat belt system. It also doubles as a walking harness.
Some small pups get motion sickness in the car because they can’t see out the window. Give them the ultimate pampered ride with this Solvit Pet Booster Seat that elevates wee pets to give them a clear view of the road. It installs easily to the headrests in the back seat, and has a removable washable liner.
Just like people, pets can suffer heat stroke on hot days if they aren’t getting enough H2O. Make sure to give your pup a lot of water. These non-toxic collapsible Messy Mutts bowls from Bones Pet Stores collapse flat so they don’t take up a lot of space, and have a clip so you can attach them to your backpack or belt. They’re durable, non-toxic and come in three sizes.
Mark Webb of PetSmart says on hot days, pet parents should be on the lookout for heat stroke signs in their animal, including excessive panting, weakness, drooling, rapid pulse and fever. Make sure your pet gets lots of shade and water on your trip. This iCool cooling shirt from Barking Babies uses water-cooled material to keep Fido from overheating. Just place it in a basin of cold water and wring out completely before wear.
Everyone loves snacks on the road. Use this zip-apart carry bag from Handsome Mountain to stash your pup’s dinner, plus a few treats. These snazzy bags are great for overnight trips, and can easily hold a few days worth of food when you’re on the road.
Fleas and ticks aren’t just annoying – they can be a real hazard to your pet’s health, and transmit disease. Consider using a flea prevention product if you’re going out in the backcountry. This super simple Trix Tick Lasso from MEC works by looping around ticks for easy removal, and its long shape works well even in the thickest of fur. It also works for people!
To keep fleas and mosquitos at bay, add a natural repellent to the outside of your dog’s collar or bandana. A few drops of geranium, cedar, peppermint, rosemary or lavender oils will act as a natural bug-stopper. Check out Greening Your Pet Care for more natural solutions. These bandanas from Handsome Mountain work well, and look cute to boot.
While Labradors were bred to swim, it doesn’t come naturally for some denser breeds, like Pugs. If your final destination is a boat trip or body of water, pack a life jacket for Fido. This life vest from Top Paw will keep your pup afloat and there’s a safety handle on top if you need to pull them out of the water.
Planning an overnighter? Keep your dog visible after the sun goes down with this Top Paw Glow Flower Bone adjustable collar. It features a sewn-in LED tube that makes your dog visible for up to 1,000 feet away.