Half way there…

By Sunday, December 12, 2010

We’ve driven 994 miles so far, from Tampa, Florida to Bryant, Arkansas.  Chilly and I are taking a break from the road to visit with my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Mike. Great food, warm bed, and family. You can’t beat it!

If you follow my blog, you know that we are on a holiday road trip as part of the Toytoa PET initiative–to educate pet parents about the importance of using restraint devices designed for pets while traveling by automobile. (Read my Nov. 14th blog entry for more info about the program.)

More and more Americans take Fido along in the car, whether it be to run errands, go to the dog park, or to take a family vacation. One in three pet owners admit that they have been distracted by their pet while driving in their vehicle, according to a recent study by AAA and Kurgo.  We all know that distractions can and often do lead to accidents.

If you’re headed out on a long trip with you dog for the holidays, here’s what we’ve learned works best for comfort and safety for medium to large sized dogs:

-feed your dog a light meal before hitting the road

-play ball or take a short jog to exercise your pooch before they load up for a long ride

-if you plan to drive for at least an hour, your dog will eventually want to lay down, so if using the Auto Zip Line with Tru-Fit Harness, make sure there is a little extra slack in the line to allow you dog to lie down comfortably. If using the Tru-Fit Harness with the seat belt loop, make sure there’s room in the seat and in the seat belt slack to allow him or her to lie down.

-for long stints of driving, Chilly likes to sleep in his soft sided crate in the cargo area. Be sure the crate or kennel is tethered down so that it cannot move back and forth, side to side during travel. Should you have to stop quickly or have a collision, the crate should be secure enough not to be tossed around. This is what protects your pet and other passengers–the inability to be thrown or tossed within, or from the vehicle.

-stop at least every 3 hours to allow for potty and exercise breaks. We’ve found that city parks or rest areas are the best places to stop because they allow plenty of room for you to walk or play with your dog.  Allow them a good 20-30 minutes to move their body and mind. That should be enough activity to get them ready for the next long haul

We’ve not seen any pet travelers on our stops yet. It’s probably a little early in the month for people to be heading “over the river and through the woods..”.  But we’ll meet plenty of pet people when we get to Colorado and visit dog parks and holiday events.

Check out the photos from our trip so far. Sit, stay, more to come!