Four-legged accessories for your car
Whether you’re taking your four-legged friend for a quick trip to the beach or for a road trip for a weekend of camping, your dog’s safety and that of your passengers must be ensured.
There are a variety of car accessories specifically designed for the safety of your pets and your passengers. Lisa Akizuki, manager at Dogcity Dog Daycare on West Broadway confirms the importance of appropriate dog accessories for the car, saying, “There are more and more [car accessories for your dog] coming out. [Driving with your dog is] like having a small child in the car and we encourage taking all the necessary precautions.”
PET SEAT RESTRAINT
Akizuki’s first piece of advice for driving with your dog was: “If you’re going to be travelling with your dog a lot, invest in a seat belt.” All passengers in a vehicle should be wearing a seat belt at all times; this also holds true for the family dog. For instances where your dog may get startled by something outside the vehicle or a sudden stop must be made, a vehicle seat restraint keeps your dog in place and, most importantly, keeps the dog from distracting the driver. Seat restraints are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate almost any size of dog and can be found at local pet stores and dog specialty store(s) starting at $30. The price varies depending on the size.
PET BOOSTER SEAT
If you want to add luxury to your dog’s driving experience The Solvit Pet Booster Seat is the perfect addition to your back seat. Many small dog owners know how easily their back seat can turn into a jumping ground when Fido is not tall enough to take a peek outside the window. Pet Boosters solve this problem by elevating your dog’s line of sight and also make for a comfortable ride. The interior of the seat is sheepskin and the exterior is lined with faux leather. Although the Solvit Pet Booster Seat can hold dogs up to 20 pounds, it is ideal for smaller dogs. You can purchase it online at PetEssentials.com for $36.95.
CRATE COOLING FAN
Akizuki suggests that an alternative to a pet vehicle seat restraint is a kennel or crate. Philip Rooyakkers, owner of The Urban Puppy on West 4th Avenue, suggests that a kennel is the best travelling device for your dog because “it ensures the driver will not be distracted.” With some of the hot weather conditions we’ve been experiencing lately, a cooling fan for your dog is great for keeping him or her at a healthy body temperature and comfortable during the drive while in the cage or crate. Battery operated and producing minimal noise, a cooling fan is portable and will not scare your dog. A variety of cooling fans are available at local pet stores and range from $10 to $20.
Rooyakkers suggests that combining a fan or even an alternative to a fan would be to “take gel packs from the freezer and wrap them in a blanket and place them on the floor in [your dog’s] kennel. Put the gel pack in a cover that cannot be punctured so your dog does not chew through it, as the contents are toxic. Frozen water bottles made of hard plastic work as well. Most of a dog’s cooling is done through their panting and these cold packs will help keep them cooler.”
The dog experts in this article both agree that owners should never leave their dog in a parked car, especially in this summer’s extreme heat.
Driving with your dog can be a safe and easy experience with the help of these car accessories, many of which are available at local pet stores and specialty dog shops throughout the Lower Mainland. The most important thing to consider is how comfortable and safe your dog is during the drive, as a happy dog will make for a happy driver.
Melissa Guillergan works for the Laura Ballance Media Group and loves looking for those Missing Parts that manufacturers fail to install in your ride.
Photograph by: Spencer Platt