Buckle Up – Canine Car Safety
You may or may not have heard my lecture on always securing your dog in the car. Yes, I know your dog wants to ride shotgun but it’s not safe! No, not even around the block! I was recently in a car accident with my hounds in the car (trust me they fared better than I did) and can now back that spiel up with some personal experience.
Whether with a seat belt harness, a crate or a special barrier that keeps your dog securely in the “hatch” of your car, it is vital that you restrain your pooch when joyriding. Not only could a sudden impact launch your dog causing him injury but dogs are understandably shaken up in these circumstances and most will try to escape the car by any means possible (think an open window). Securing your dog also ensures authorities will be able to help you if you are injured; your dog may become protective of you in a scary situation.
If you and your dog are in an accident here are some helpful tips my vet shared on what to watch for:
- Obvious signs of injury such as limping, bleeding etc
- Excessive panting. Panting can indicate pain but is also a sign of anxiety which is a normal reaction to a stressful situation. If your dog’s panting does not subside see your vet.
- Bruising – especially on the belly which can indicate internal bleeding
- Temperature – feel the ears to ensure one is not excessively hot or cold
- Inability to focus eyes – try having your dog follow a treat to test this
- Pupil dilation. Again, this can indicate fear as well but should subside quickly in that case. Prolonged pupil dilation calls for a vet visit immediately.
After an accident your dog may be fearful about car rides. Remedy this with short trips around the block and provide your pup with a chew or Kong to work on while you are on the road. This will help rebuild positive associations with car rides.
Safe travels to you and your dog!